Affirming celebration for Windermere UC, Toronto, 29 Sept 2019

All welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Windermere United Church on Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 10:30AM, at:

Windermere United Church
356 Windermere Avenue
Toronto  ON  M6S 3L3
Phone:  416-769-5611
www.windermerechurch.ca

Please send a note of congratulations to Windermere United Church through this private form:

 

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”

Annual conference 2019- theme, promo, registration and other details!

Annual conference 2019, Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble:
DISRUPTIVE FAITH: Forging Brave & Inclusive Communities in Divided Times
July 26 at 4:00PM, all day and evening Saturday July 27, to Sunday 28 after lunch, at Hillhurst United Church, Calgary

Online registration is now closed, but you can register in person at any time at Hillhurst United Church.

Here’s the draft schedule (PDF) and bios for some of our awesome resource people!
Read on for registration, theme, costs, accommodation info, children’s programming, and more. Look for updates right here May through July, and see our Facebook event here.Can you help us promote this gathering? All images, posters, text and PowerPoint slides are available right here– share away!Together we will engage in conversation, workshops, worship, enriching dialogues, theatrical performances, food, and more! Children’s programming is available!If you are looking for new ways to engage and expand your faith and social justice work, this conference is for you! All faiths and identities, backgrounds and abilities are welcome! Share with your friends and colleagues! Continue reading “Annual conference 2019- theme, promo, registration and other details!”

Affirming celebration for Pacific Spirit United Church, Vancouver, 22 September

All welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Pacific Spirit United Church on Sunday September 22, 2019 at 10:00AM at:

Pacific Spirit United Church
2195 W. 45th Ave
Vancouver  BC  V6M 2J2
Phone:  604-266-5377
www.pacificspirituc.com

Please send a note of congratulations to Pacific Spirit United Church through this private form:

 

Affirming celebration for First United Church, Waterloo ON, 22 Sept 2019

All welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for First United Church on Sunday September 22, 2019 at 7:00PM, at:

First United Church
16 William Street West,
Waterloo   ON  N2L 1J3
Phone:  519-745-8487
http://www.firstunitedchurch.ca/

Please send a note of congratulations to First United Church through this private form:

 

Affirming celebration for Smithers United Church, BC, 15 Sept 2019

All are welcome to a celebration to be declared an Affirming Ministry for Smithers United Church, Smithers BC, Sunday September 15, 2019 at 10:00AM at:

Smithers United Church,
3889 – 8 Avenue
Smithers  BC  V0J 2N0
Phone:  250-847-3333

Please send a note of congratulations to Smithers United Church through this private form:

 

Affirming celebration for Cambridge Street United Church, Lindsay ON, 14 July 2019

A celebration to be declared an Affirming Ministry for Cambridge Street United Church, Lindsay ON, will be held on Sunday July 14, 2019 at 10:30AM at:
Cambridge Street United Church,
61 Cambridge Street North
Lindsay, ON  K9V 4C9
Phone:  705-324-3547
www.theunitedchurch.com

All welcome! Please send a note of congratulations to Cambridge Street United Church through this private form:

 

Gower Street United Church: the island of Newfoundland’s first Affirming ministry

By Larry Kelly (See also “Uplifted as Equal”: Larry’s reflection offered at Gower Street before their Affirming vote.) Photos by Martina Bennett, with thanks.

It’s official! Gower Street United Church is an Affirming Community of Faith in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. On June 5, 2019 the congregation hosted a public celebration to recognize its Affirming status. It seemed fitting that Gower, the oldest United Church congregation in the province, dating back more than 200 years, was publicly affirming its commitment to inclusivity, equity and justice for all God’s children, including those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

The air seemed electrified with the beautiful sounds of What the World Needs Now is Love, played by the Gower Community Band while approximately 300 jubilant congregants and special guests filed past two progress pride flags at the main entrance and into the sanctuary, but not before stopping to pet St. John Ambulance therapy dogs and chat with their owners. Sunday school children offered pride colored crosses that they made and painted during the previous week.

Special guest choirs, The Stella Burry Inclusion Choir and Spectrum Queer Choir, as well as the Gower Youth Choir and the Gower Senior Choir, settled into place as the official celebration began with the playing of the Royal Salute to welcome their Honours, The Honourable Judy May Foote, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Mr. Howard Foote.

A procession of youth and parents followed carrying pride flags while the congregation sang Let us Build a House. The pride candle was lit for the first time by a young girl, Naomi Addison, with the support of her family.

The Lieutenant Governor. (Photo: Martina Bennett)

The order of celebration included thought-provoking and encouraging words of inclusion from Her Honour, carefully selected musical pieces, an inspirational address by guest speaker, Mr. Remzi Cej, a man of Muslim faith, Kosovar refugee, Rhodes Scholar, LGBTQ activist, and human rights award winner. Rev. Pamela Jones- Fitzgerald’s welcome and inclusive words were, as usual, a moment of pride for the congregation. An uplifting message from the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, The Right Reverend Dr. Richard Bott was read by the 37th Moderator of The United Church of Canada, The Very Rev. Dr. Marion Pardy.

The celebration continued with a reception, cutting of the Affirm cake and continued fellowship with old and new friends over tea and sweets.

Our Affirming journey has begun, and while we aren’t sure where it will lead us, we are confident that we are on the right path: God’s path to living out our mission of full inclusion, justice, and equity for all.