Affirming celebration for Bridgewater UC, NS, 27 Jan 2019

Bridgewater United Church choirs, from youth to seniors.

A celebration to be declared an Affirming ministry will be held at Bridgewater United Church on Sunday January 27 at 10:30 AM at:

87 Hillcrest Street,
Bridgewater NS B4V 1T2
Phone: 902-543-4833
www.bridgewaterunited.ca
All welcome!

Please send a note of congratulations to Bridgewater United Church by filling out this contact form:

 

Affirming celebration-Burton Ave UC, Barrie ON 27 Jan 2019

A group of people of all ages gathered outside in front of a sign saying "Camp Simpresca".

Burton Avenue United Church gathering at a local United Church camp.

Burton Avenue United Church in Barrie, ON will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday January 27th at 10:00 AM at:

37 Burton Avenue,
Barrie  ON   L4N 2R3
Phone:  705-726-0401
www.burtonavenueunited.com

All welcome!
Please send a note of congratulations to Burton Avenue United Church by filling out this contact form:

 

2018 in review: what your support has accomplished

We’ve had a very rich and busy year. You, our diverse members and supporters, in Affirming ministries and beyond, made it possible.

Twenty-seven new Affirming ministries. Twenty-seven creative, Spirit-led celebrations.

A record-breaking number of ministries in the Affirming process.

An edition of Mandate, the United Church’s justice magazine, dedicated to LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit justice.

A rich national gathering in July warmly hosted by Royal York Road United Church in Toronto (read about it here); generous support for a part time staff person from Toronto Conference, and a wonderful planning team, speakers, and workshop leaders. The conversation in hallways and under the trees and at meals never stopped.

Support for Iridesce:  the Living Apology project as it criss-crossed Canada, gathering stories that are hopeful, profound, and too often sad.  They show us the work that remains to us- and how we might approach it.

Wonderful turnouts at the workshops offered by both AUSE and Iridesce at the Festival of Faith, prior to General Council.

The launch of the Iridesce play at General Council- your stories, on the stage and live streamed.

Dozens and dozens of local Affirming events: workshops, speakers, film screenings, drag shows, vigils for Trans Day of Remembrance and World AIDS Day, physical presence to block a (so-called Christian) hate group active at Prides in southern Ontario, presence at dozens of Pride festivals small and large, through booths, choirs, worship, prayer, floats.

Movement members featured in an Observer story on trans people of faith.

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 cisgendered and heterosexual allies. You are the reason for our name: ensemble (together) and united.

Advent 2018 blessings from AUSE’s chairs

Mary, Joseph and Jesus depicted as a migrant family, fleeing at night with Jesus wrapped in a purple blanket, and only a small backpack and a pink shopping bag.

La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family), by iconographer Kelly Latimore. https://kellylatimoreicons.com/gallery/img_2361/

We have arrived at a season of waiting and anticipation. It is a time to remember that even as we feel the bleakness and exhaustion from waiting, we restore our faith by remaining grounded in hope, peace, love, and joy. As Christians, we symbolize Advent with the colour of the sky during the small hours of the night before dawn breaks. This twilight blue speaks to our hope and longing for a world with Christ’s peace. As we prepare our hearts for the Christ child to be born, we want to thank you for your efforts in creating communities of faith where Jesus’ radical hospitality is lived out.

We are thrilled to share with you that in November we welcomed a current Council member, Katie Vardy, into their new role as co-chair within our organization. Katie is a candidate for ordained ministry hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland. They are very passionate about intersectional feminism and Jesus, along with a deep love for their four pups (Jack, Sally, Macie, and Capri) and mental health advocacy.

May hope be the lens that shows you the beauty and strength of resilience in our communities.

May you be baptized in the waters of peace that keep you strong and soft enough to face all challenges

May your Love be celebrated

and may Joy be the gift that transcends all of our fears this Advent season.

Michiko Bown-Kai and Katie Vardy

Gladwin Heights United Church Celebrates!

On October 28, 2018, while rain poured outside, the inside of the sanctuary was full Sanctuary with a wooden cross on the wall, a rainbow cloth on the communion table, a stool, and a pulpit with the United Church crest on it. of energy, love, and light, as Gladwin Heights United Church was declared an Affirming Ministry. “The Little Church That Cares” was host to over 80 supporters of the inclusivity of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Members of the Gladwin Heights congregation were joined by ministers and members from local churches, as well as representatives from BC Conference, family and friends.

Rev David Cathcart, AUSE Council member, presenting the Affirming certificate.

Reverend David Cathcart brought greetings from Affirm United and presented Gladwin Heights with a certificate to declare its fulfillment of the requirements to become an Affirming Ministry within The United Church of Canada. Gladwin is the 20th Affirming Ministry in BC.

Gayle LaPointe read several congratulatory letters, including a letter written by The Right Reverend Dr. Richard Bott, Moderator of The United Church of Canada, who brought the spirit of his warmth and encouragement to the Celebration. Thanks were given to Liz Carter-Morgan and Linda Hutchinson, the western and eastern Coordinators for Affirm United who guided Gladwin Heights on its journey. Appreciation was also extended to St. Andrew’s United Church, our sister congregation, as it prepares to host its Affirming Celebration in 2019. Acknowledgement was given to Trinity United Church as it begins its affirming journey.

White male minister offers blessing in front of cross, with arms outstretched.

Rev. Tim Bowman offers the blessing.

Several tears were wiped away as we formed a circle around the sanctuary and sang“Draw the Circle Wide”. Reverend Tim Bowman sent us with a Blessing: Know this: you are loved. Wherever you come from, whatever you look like, whoever you love, you are loved. And the people responded: Whatever the time, wherever the place, we go forth in love.

 

 

Following a fabulous time of fellowship, and enjoyment of specially baked goodies, everyone left the hall with the unexpected and glorious greeting of a beautiful rainbow outside.

 

 

AUSE signs on to Caribbean decriminalization call

Colonial laws throughout the world have done great harm to LGBTQIA+ people. AUSE was honoured to respond to an invitation to add its name to an open letter calling on Caribbean leaders to repeal these British Empire-era laws in their nations.

Read the full article, letter, and signatories here, and see the text below. Consider ordering a copy of Intimate Conviction, a book examining so-called sodomy laws across the Commonwealth. The article contains ordering information.

The letter:

“Religious leaders call on governments across the Caribbean to repeal anti-LGBT laws

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Laws that criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy exist in a majority of Commonwealth countries, an unwelcome holdover from colonization — despite the fact that such laws have been long since repealed in the United Kingdom. But repealing these laws has proven difficult in some countries as they continue to be falsely “justified” by religious arguments put forward by conservative faith leaders and churches, which in turn fuels an unfortunate hate that is distinctly un-Christian. But the tide is now turning.

One year ago, over sixty faith leaders from many different denominations came together in Kingston, Jamaica, for the first ever “Intimate Conviction” conference. Today, an edited volume of some of their compelling presentations, “Intimate Conviction: Examining the Church and Anti-Sodomy Laws Across the Caribbean,” is launching and will now serve as an important tool to make the case for the repeal of anti-LGBT laws in the Caribbean and indeed across the Commonwealth.

We are proud to support today’s historic release and stand firm in our conviction that love is love, and that God’s unconditional and all-inclusive love extends to everyone. We must always strive to demonstrate that same unconditional love and respect for all members of our human family.

Today’s launch of the Intimate Conviction volume demonstrates broad, cross-denominational support from churches for the much needed repeal of anti-LGBT laws. We urge governments across the Caribbean to repeal anti-LGBT laws in their jurisdiction and to support the human rights and health of their LGBT populations.”

Call for Health Canada ban on conversion therapy

CBC notes that “An online petition that will be presented in the House of Commons,signed by more than 2,500 people so far, urges the Liberals to outlaw the act of coercing or counselling minors to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to prohibit taking minors outside the country for that purpose.

‘Conversion therapy’ is the widely-discredited practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counselling, behaviour modification or medication, based on the premise that being gay or trans is abnormal and can be ‘cured’.”

\While many provincial health agencies refuse to recognize this “therapy”, the practice is not actually outlawed in most provinces or territories, and Health Canada itself hasn’t addressed it. AUSE is against this deeply harmful, transphobic and homophobic practice, and supports efforts to ask the United Church of Canada to adopt a national policy against it.

Please have a look at the petition, and share it as you feel able.  

BC churches take action in support of SOGI 123 resources

Oak Bay United Church in Victoria, an Affirming ministry, writes: “Christian leaders have written a letter to express our support for the SOGI 123 educational resources (sexual orientation, gender identity) created for use in BC public schools.

You may have seen that a group of pastors put out a statement to say that SOGI does not align with Christian beliefs and values. We are here to provide a different Christian perspective.”

The letter has been sent to Honorable Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. Read and sign the letter here. BC ministries have told AUSE they welcome signatures from out of province.

Twenty seven new Affirming ministries in 2018

Avondale United Church, Stratford ON at their Affirming celebration in June 2018. Photo: The Herald-Beacon. Permission sought.

In 2018, Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble welcomed twenty-seven new members to the family. Behind each of these names is a community of faith that moved through an Affirming process, changing and learning as it went. Behind each of these names are dozens or hundreds of people of all ages and stages. And behind each is a commitment to a radical welcome in Jesus’ name. Celebrate this with us!

 

April 15, Sherwood Park United Church, Edmonton AB

May 25, Hamilton Conference, ON

May 27, London Conference, ON

June 2, Cariboo Presbytery, BC Conference

June 3, Lakeview United Church, Calgary

June 3, Islington United Church, Toronto

June 3, Avondale United Church, Stratford ON

June 10, Calvary United Church, Prince Albert SK

June 10, Trinity United Church, Gravenhurst ON

June 10, Faith United Church, Courtice ON

June 10, Bradford United Church, Bradford ON

June 17,  Bracebridge United Church, Bracebridge ON

September 8 and 9, Grace United Church, Lloydminster AB

September 16, Central United Church, Brandon MB

September 16, Dunsford United Church, Dunsford ON

Sept 16, Canadian Memorial United Church, Vancouver BC

September 19, Kawartha Highlands Presbytery, Bay of Quinte Conference, ON

September 23, Wesley United Church, Regina SK

September 30, Sackville United Church, NB

October 21, Cummer Avenue United Church, Toronto ON

October 28, Gladwin Heights United Church, Abbotsford BC

October 28, St Paul’s United Church, Orillia

October 28, Atherley United Church, ON

November 4, Greenwood United Church, Baddeck NS

November 13, Inverness-Guysborough Presbytery, NS

November 25, Trinity- St Andrew’s United, Renfrew ON

December 2, Carleton Memorial United Church, Ottawa ON

Affirming PIE Day- hold March 14, 2019!

Do you like PIE? Hold the date: March 14, 2019

Public. Intentional. Explicit. Those are the standards we hold ourselves and our welcome to when we become Affirming or affirming.

On International Pi Day 2019 (3.14- get it?)  we invite you to serve up some pie and PIE in your ministry and community.

Get together and:

Show AUSE’s new video-to-be featuring your stories about being PIE. 

Tell your own PIE stories: examples of your LGBTQ+ welcome that are and have been public, intentional, and explicit. Host a community open mic/ coffeehouse for all stories. Eat lots of delish church pie (and everything else you consider delicious). Together, spend, say, a half hour talking about how LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit rights and dignity could be advanced in your context and community.

Come up with some bite sized ideas and note them down for ongoing action.  Fundraise/ awareness raise for your local Pride and LGBTQ groups. Put the proceeds wherever you want. Put in a good word for Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and Calgary’s awesome Affirming Connections, our partner.

Whatever you do: don’t give up PIE for Lent, hold the date, and watch www.ause.ca for more information and materials.  Contact the communications coordinator at communications@ause.ca with your ideas, questions, and recipes.