Nominations Report and Nominee Bios

Nominations Report for Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble (AUSE) Annual General Meeting July 25, 2020

Presented by:  Cindy Bourgeois and Linda Hutchinson, Nominations Committee

Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble’s By-laws giving details of Board (AUSE Council) Structure and Election of Directors is found at:

http://affirmunited.ause.ca/wp-content/pdf/AUSEbylaws.pdf

Positions for Co-Chair and Members at Large were advertised via social media, the Affirm United/S’affirmer website, and personal contact.  Many thanks to Julian Munro, Council Member, and Jordan Sullivan, GCO staff support, for doing the advertising and collection of data from nominees.  Thank you, also, to Michele Petick, Communications Coordinator for AUSE, for composing the short bios for all nominees which are attached to this report.

The slate of Directors for the Board (AUSE Council Members) is listed below.  Continuing Council members are shown in lower case format and nominees shown in UPPER CASE FORMAT.   According to the By-laws, one term of office is three years and the council should be retiring four members each year.  Terms of office are shown in the chart of Council members and nominees.

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.

 

 

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!

Annual conference 2019: free speaker videos and photos

We had a great time at Hillhurst United Church in Calgary July 26-28! 75 adults and about ten kids registered, and we had more people join us for Harlan Pruden’s intro to Two Spirit identities, worship, and the Caretakers theatrical reading. Deep thanks to the beautiful hospitality of the Hillhurst community. You made the gathering gracious, very open, very worshipful, very insightful and thought provoking, and very creative. Thank you.

And, we have the whole thing on video! Thanks to the amazing tech team at Hillhurst, the whole conference was livestreamed and archived. All of the generous presenters and leaders agreed that the videos can be shared free of charge. Please take the time over the fall to review some of the videos that you think would speak to you or your community, and set up a video night. From GSAs to social media pro tips; Two Spirit identities to LGBTQIA refugees; from worship to biblical engagement and self-care, it’s all here. Please enjoy. Check out:
https://www.hillhurstunited.com/live-video

Photos: Many thanks to John Loney for sharing his photos of the weekend with us! You can find them on Google Drive.

2018 annual report available now!

Are you a super-supporter of Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble? A keener? A generous donor? An avid reader of reports about truly amazing cross-Canada work? Then this soon-to-be bestseller is for you!
Our annual report, covering highlights and accountability reports for 2018 and the first half of 2019, is available now, right here. Enjoy stories and photos that show not only the range of work we’re about- but show you how important your support is. Thank you for all the love-affirming ministry you’ve offered our movement through your gifts of time, skill, experience, and financial support. Onward to the rest of 2019!

Is an Affirming journey even needed? Four voices

From a thread on the United Church of Canada Facebook group, spring 2019. The post related to the United Methodist Church’s March 2019 decision to renew its ban on LGBTQIA+ clergy and equal marriage.

Part of the conversation turned to the Affirming process in the United Church: whether it should be a priority since the perception is that the whole church is “already welcoming”; whether it was accessible to congregations who struggle with a lack of volunteers; or whether it’s needed at all. Different opinions about how welcoming our United Church ministries really are were expressed, and debate offered up. Here are some stories from responders in that conversation, used with permission. Please note that they are speaking from their personal experiences, and not speaking on behalf of the ministries they serve.

Leigh Sinclair (Minister, Robertson-Wesley United Church, Edmonton AB): I have been in affirming congregations and welcoming congregations. There is a difference. How often do we preach love from the pulpit, how much do we discuss each marriage request and most importantly are we telling the community we live in what we believe on the outside of our building or in the safety of our hearts? The harm done by the Christian faith towards the LGTBQ communities can only be atoned for when love is shared as publically as it once proclaimed hate. Continue reading “Is an Affirming journey even needed? Four voices”