Opportunities: AUSE staff position, co-chairs, members at large

Are you feeling called to be a part of the work of Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble? We are currently seeking passionate and dedicated people for volunteer and staff positions. The positions are: 

Communications and Marketing Coordinator (CMC)- Deadline March 2, 2020. This is a paid position, focused on communicating with members and the public. The CMC develops strategies/goals and manages all communication tools (social media, print, website, etc.). 

Co-Chair (2 positions available)– Deadline June 1,  2020. This a three-year term. The co-chair(s) are responsible for the success of AUSE and the effective operation and leadership of the council/organization. 

Member at Large (2 positions available)– Deadline July 13, 2020. Serves as a liaison to the general membership. Duties may change as needed to fulfill the needs of the organization/council. 

For all expressions of interest, please fill out this form.

Full position descriptions can be found here: 
Communications and Marketing
Co-Chair
Member at Large

Action invitation: support bans on conversion therapy

Protest against “conversion” “therapy” in Edmonton, Alberta, by local citizens, including church members.

Federal government to work on criminalizing “conversion therapy”: our support for this and other initiatives needed

In the spring of 2019 many in our movement were disappointed when the federal government (a Liberal majority) said that it could not ban conversion therapy through Health Canada. It cited health as a provincial jurisdiction. (What is “conversion” “therapy”? See this overview from CBC.)

Many turned to, or continued, working with their municipalities, provinces, and territories, asking them to follow MB and ON’s lead and outright ban this deeply harmful practice. As one example, in December Edmonton city council prepared to debate a ban within the city, as Alberta has not banned such “therapy” and indeed, more than a few in the province and its government support it.

Thank you to all, including many AUSE members, who are carrying this struggle forward. Special thanks to Gary Simpson in Edmonton for his research, advocacy, and advice.

In December 2019, the now-Liberal minority government said it would move to place conversion or reparative therapy in the Criminal Code, making the practice illegal and punishable.

As some in our Affirming movement reminded us, we need to speak out in support of this, although we also need to be aware that the proposal has some problems and limits. For example, the proposed Criminal Code amendment would only apply to minors, and this may be the only way such an amendment would be permitted under the Charter.

Whatever the advocacy options, whether national or local, we know that our advocacy and education efforts are important and much-needed.  We must continue to advocate for regional and local responses, like the one currently before Calgary’s council. And we need to make it clear to our faith communities that conversion therapy is alive and in practice across Canada to this day.

Yet the federal government’s proposal is one promising step forward. And the mostly Christian groups who support this abusive practice will be sure to be in loud opposition. Please read up on the government’s plans, and then if you are so moved, contact your Member of Parliament, no matter their party, and briefly express your support for this measure and your opposition to so-called conversion therapy. If you identify as a church member or Christian, also make that clear to your MP. Consider asking your community of faith, congregation, or parish to write such a letter.

If you’re a United Church member, remember that your Regional Council is one place to advocate, and that proposals for advocacy initiatives is an important way to move church policy or motivate action. Such proposals should be consider now for regional gatherings in May and June.

We need an end to this Christian-justified, cissexist, heterosexist abuse. Please add your voice where you can.

Affirming celebration for Knox United Church, Lower Sackville NS, 15 March 2020

An Affirming Ministry celebration will be held for Knox United Church on Sunday March 15, 2020 at 10:30AM at: Knox United Church
567 Sackville Drive 
Lower Sackville  NS 
B4C 2S9
Phone:   920-865-9216
www.knoxsackville.ca

The amazing people of Knox United Church hosting the national GO Project for youth leadership.

All welcome!
Please send a note of congratulations to the whole community of Knox United Church through this private form:

______

Affirming celebration for St. Paul’s United Church, Riverview NB, April 19 2020

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for St. Paul’s United Church on Sunday April, 2020 at 10:00 AM!
Location:

St. Paul’s United Church,
404 Cleveland Avenue,
Riverview, NB
E1B 1Y2
www.stpaulsriverview.org
Phone:  506 386-3335

Please send a note of congratulations to people of St. Paul’s United Church through this private form:

Important news: 2020 increase in membership fees

(Article également disponsible en français) 
Dear friends and members in the Affirming movement: We have important news related to membership fees.
At the 2019 AGM in Calgary, members present voted to make changes to the institutional and individual membership fees for the first time in over 20 years. A print mailing is going out to all current members, and to the entire national list via our e-newsletter. In the attachments below you will find:

  • Current context: a brief overview
  • How the membership fee increase works: an explanation of the new institutional/group/individual/household membership fees
  • What your membership fees have been supporting, 2015-2019
  • What your increased membership fees will allow us to do over time:  the beginnings of a vision of what extra funding could accomplish
  • Contact information

Please share this letter and the accompanying background information widely in your ministry, especially with governing, finance, Affirming, and program or justice-related bodies. Please take time to read the entire letter, not only the summary. This is an important change for AUSE and our members, and we have tried to explain both the reasons and the process as fully as we can.

Documents:
Cover letter: membership increase for 2020 (December 2019, PDF)

Background to the AUSE membership increase, 2020 (December 2019, PDF)

A huge rainbow banner stretches along the front of a white clapboard church, held up by dozens of people.

The people of Ralph Connor Memorial United Church in Canmore, AB, at their Affirming celebration in November 2019.

The AUSE Council thanks you for the safer sacred space you and your ministry continue to create. Thank you for all you as supporters and members have offered this growing movement of trans, non-binary, Two Spirit, intersex, asexual, pansexual, bi, lesbian, gay people and communities—and our cisgender and heterosexual allies. You are the reason for our name: ensemble (together) and united.

 

 

Announcing PIE Day 2020, 14 March!

Public+Intentional+Explicit= PIE. These are our standards for the full inclusion and celebration of LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit people. Get your recipes/ ice cream/ creative planning tools ready. PIE Day 2020, Saturday March 14, is happening!

Here’s the national Facebook event. And we’re constantly updating our online home, www.pieday.ca . There are already lots of free planning resources and ready-to-use graphics posted. Remember that the free 15 minute PIE Day video is still as fresh as ever- and we’re delighted to announce that three shorter versions will be available for free download too! No day olds here! At pieday.ca you’ll also find a form for registering your event, so please make sure you sign up your extravaganza.

All can participate: you do not need to be part of an Affirming ministry; you don’t need to be United Church; and pie substitutes are welcome. You just need to be enthusiastic or curious about a Public, Intentional, and Explicit celebration of diverse genders and sexualities in your community and place of worship. That’s all. Have at it!

This year we hope to draw the circle wider, with a stronger ecumenical and interfaith focus. Much more info to come- mark your calendars, dream of dessert, and start discerning how you can spread PIE love in your community!

Affirming building use and rental policies

Our faith is about so much more than our buildings. Yet our buildings and camps are also important spiritual and physical spaces that house not only our own ministries, but many other vital community initiatives too. Many Affirming ministries own their own building or facility, and in the course of their Affirming journey they generally add more inclusive spaces, such as all-gender washrooms, space for smudges and other Indigenous ceremony, wheelchair ramps, technology for the deaf and hard of hearing, and more. It’s an ongoing process that never really stops.

Most also rent the space to other groups. What, then, does an Affirming use of the building for everyone look like? What happens if a group opposed to LGBTQIA+ rights and identities wants to rent the space? What does safer space look like? Here’s one example of a policy and commitment from Trinity United Church, a rural congregation in Cannington ON. Download their building rental policy PDF here

Does your ministry have an Affirming building use or rental policy and resources? Let us know! Contact the Communications Coordinator here and send it on, so we can add to our community resources.

FREE United Church worship and education resources for our Affirming journeys

Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble is a grassroots network that relies on many partnerships in its core work of advocating for and supporting safer sacred spaces. Our family tree includes communities of many different paths and traditions; our roots are mostly United Church. We welcome the solidarity and support shown by the United Church’s General Council office as together we’ve widened the range of resources that support the discernment, practice, and prayer in which any Affirming journey is grounded. Read on for some new and renewed resources. Thank you for your gifts to the Mission and Service fund, which made these resources possible.

Relaunch! Celebrating Gender Diversity Toolkit
This excellent and widely used resource has been completely updated and is (still) completely free. It’s essential, even life-saving, that our sacred spaces celebrate the gifts trans, non-binary, genderqueer, and Two Spirit people bring to our faith and community life. This comprehensive toolkit gives you many, many practical avenues for change in your ministry. Please download your copy, whether you’re Affirming, on the journey, or not there yet. There is always something positive we can do. Looking for yet more resources? See the entire range of options.

The Affirming Journey:
 Mandate magazine

This special issue, from Spring 2018, focuses on LGBTQI+ and Two-Spirit justice. Inside you’ll find articles on why the United Church’s Affirming journey has only just begun; intersectionality; chronicling the impact of 1988; a timeline of LGBTIQ2S+ justice in the United Church; a glossary of key terms and concepts; as well as worship resources, a Bible study, workshops, youth programing, and more—all moving toward affirming, healing, and renewal for all.

United Church Resource Distribution (UCRD) has graciously provided us with a complimentary special digitalized issue of Mandate’s “The Affirming Journey” from Spring 2018. To request your copy, please email jsullivan@united-church.ca or communications@ause.ca. An email will be sent to you with a link to where you can view and/or download this special issue.

Video: Two Spirit powwow and the Healing Fund, plus many other videos
In the spring of 2018, Indigenous and community groups in Saskatoon held a Two Spirit powwow. One of the first of its kind, and possibly the first in Canada, it was deeply important circle of spirit and prayer. The United Church was honoured to support this work through the Healing Fund. Mission and Service offers us this 3 minute video on the powwow and its importance. Please share during worship and/ or community times in your ministry, adding this resource to AUSE’s 2019 PIE Day video and to many videos from Affirming ministries.

PIE Day 2020 and Pride Sunday 2020
On March 14 Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble will once again offer resources to help you have fun with pie and with PIE: how to offer a Public, Intentional, and Explicit welcome to people with diverse genders and sexualities. Watch www.pieday.ca The United Church will be part of promoting this second annual day of serious fun, serious dessert, and serious discernment and commitment. And on Sunday June 7 the church is invited to again celebrate Pride Sunday. Mark your 2020 calendars!

Affirming celebration for St John’s United Church, 9 Feb 2020, North Saanich BC

An Affirming Ministry celebration will be held for St John’s United Church on Sunday February 9, 2020 at 10:00AM at:

St John’s United Church, North Saanich BC

St. John’s United Church,
10990 West Saanich Rd
North Saanich  BC  V8L 5R9

Phone:  250-655-3043
www.stjohnsunited.net

All welcome!
Please send a note of congratulations to the whole community of St John’s United Church through this private form:

Affirming celebration for Trinity-Grace United Church, Vancouver, 17 Nov 2019

All welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Trinity-Grace United Church on Sunday November 17, 2019 at 10:30AM! Location:

Trinity-Grace United Church,
803 East 16th Avenue,
Vancouver  BC  V5T 2V7
www.tgucvan.ca
604-879-3412

Please send a note of congratulations to the faith entire community of Trinity-Grace United Church through this private form: