Remember Orlando: ring your church bell 49 times June 12

The AUSE Council invites all churches to ring their bells 49 times (or use another form of good noise) at noon Florida time on Monday June 12. The  Florida-based New-BellOne Orlando Alliance writes, “We are asking churches around the world to toll their bells 49 times June 12, 2017 at noon to commemorate the 49 innocent victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting. For the loved ones of those taken and as a united community at large, we ask you to join the 49 bells movement of love.

For more information and to sign up, visit https://oneorlandoalliance.org/49-bells/

Pride prayer and United Church statement on Pride worldwide

The United Church offers us both a prayer for Pride and a reflection on Pride Month that moves Pride from the local to the global: “During the month of June, thousands of people in Canada will be participating in Pride activities celebrating the lives and freedom of LGBTQ+ people. That won’t be happening in Chechnya, or in Uganda, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and many other countries…

Millwoods United Church, Edmonton at Edmonton Pride 2015.

Millwoods United Church, Edmonton at Edmonton Pride 2015.

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Affirming words from our friend Anne Squire

Testimony for Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble, by Anne Squire

On May 27, 2017, Emmanuel United Church in Ottawa became Affirming. At that celebration, the physical presence of a congregation member central to the Affirming process was missing. Here is that story, and words from that member. Anne Squire, presente. With us in Spirit.

Anne Squire's rainbow cape draped over her wheelchair; Emmanuel United Church's Affirming celebration, 27 May 2017. Anne had died on April 24.

Anne Squire’s rainbow cape draped over her wheelchair; Emmanuel United Church’s Affirming celebration, 27 May 2017. Anne had died on April 24.

Margaret Armstrong writes, “Anne Squire was at the founding of Affirm. At the Morden, MB General Council amid the clash of argument that led to the United Church agreeing to ordain gay ministers, a group of gay people and supporters met in a little room to found a group of people to affirm the place of gays within the United Church. Anne was there.

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Welcome: coordinator for Living Apology project

Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble is pleased to announce that it has hired Aaron Miechkota as the new coordinator for *IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project*. AUSE thanks the United Church for its funding of this position and looks forward to collaborating on this important work towards a Living Apology to gender- and sexually-diverse communities.

Living Apology coordinator Aaron Miechkota.

Living Apology coordinator Aaron Miechkota.

Aaron is currently studying toward ordained ministry and brings a background in creative communications to her role. Aaron is interested in the theology of friendship with people and the Earth.

*IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project* seeks to inspire and reconcile people of diverse sexual, romantic and gender expressions and identities within the United Church of Canada. Continue reading

Take action: Bill C-16 stalled in the Senate

Trans* people are ministers and leaders in the United Church, across the country, and around the world. They are members of our families, our loved ones, our friends, colleagues, and neighbours, and they deserve to have their identities protected by the law.canadian-trans-flag

Bill C-16 would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression. It will also amend the Canadian Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as a recognized group when offences are motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate.

Bill C-16 passed its third reading in the House of Commons in November 2016, and is now (still)  in its second reading in the Senate. Some groups are actively campaigning the Senate to block this bill. Please take action by contacting your senator as soon as possible, and urge the Senate to make Bill C-16 law.

Affirming Awards 2017: your nominations needed!

Every year, Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble invites your nominations for outstanding individuals and Affirming ministries whose work and witness have inspired our movement. Awards are presented at our annual conference, which will be held July 28-30 2017 in Vancouver. The deadline for nominations is June 10 2017. The decision will be made by a committee of the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble national Council.

Altar banner, George St United, Peterborough ON.

Altar banner, George St United, Peterborough ON.

Please use the form below to nominate people, or contact the co-chairs if you wish to send a nomination by mail. The form allows you to attach Word and PDF documents as well as photos. Links to relevant videos should be included in the form text or the Word document.

The Person of the Year Award honours  an individual who has made a significant contribution to the work of Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble by their volunteer commitment in any part of the movement; and/ or by furthering the welcome and inclusion of LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people in the United Church of Canada, faith communities, and Canada as a whole.

The Affirming Ministry Award recognizes outstanding examples of ministries who inspire and lead our movement with the creativity and energy of their ministry to diverse communities and the church.

Thank you for your help in naming and honouring those who inspire us.

Affirming award nominations 2017- Ministries and people

  • Tell us why and how this ministry or person has inspired you and others. Please be specific, and take as much space as you need. You can also attach a Word document, PDFs, photos and more below. These will help our committee make its decision, and will help us share the story of this person or ministry.

Deer Park United (Calgary) celebrates ten good Affirming years

By Bryon Delarue

It was Sunday April 15, 2007 that Deer Park United Church in Calgary celebrated becoming an Affirming Ministry within the United Church of Canada. And it was also my birthday. On Sunday April 23, 2017 Deer Park celebrated 10 years of being an Affirming Ministry.

The UDeer Park UC Calgary-ten year anniversary celebration-April 2017nitarian Church of Calgary lent us their rainbow banner as a backdrop for our celebration. The 500 foot banner was created as a project of a group of youth from the Unitarian Church of Calgary. In June 2005 Parliament Hill was awash in the colours of all 500 foot of the banner as it was paraded during rallies supporting legalization and to inspire a positive vote for same-sex marriage which became a federal law on July 20, 2005. What we displayed in the Sanctuary was 125 feet of the original banner. Continue reading

Alberta’s Affirming journey: A look back and forward

showing-off-mill-woods-affirming-style

Mill Woods United Church in Edmonton, showing off its Affirming welcome.

Many thanks to Bryon Delarue for bringing together this excellent overview of some of the 24-plus Affirming ministries in Alberta. Exactly ten years ago, there were three Affirming ministries in Alberta. Now there are twenty- four, with many more to come. Many of the more recent ones are in small towns. It is also home to the first assisted living facility in the country to become Affirming. This did not happen by accident or alone. Have a look at the details of this story- and be inspired to work on a similar commitment in your own context.

 

In the fall of 2003 Deer Park Council held two congregational gatherings with the purpose of listening to a collective voice on the core identity and passions of the congregation. An outcome was to live our mission for the next three years by focussing on youth; men; community with each other; people of other faiths; people in need and people of gay or lesbian orientation. Continue reading

Celebration for Toronto Conference

Toronto Conference of the United Church will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Saturday May 27, 2017 at their annual meeting in Midland, ON.

Toronto Conference, United Church of Canada
65 Mayall Ave,
North York, ON M3L 1E7
(416) 241-2677
torontoconference.ca/

Please send a note of congratulations to Toronto Conference by  Continue reading