Throwback Thursday/ Throwback Anyday: Affirming ministries a decade ago, and a lot of change since.
Huron Shores United Church, Grand Bend ON, at their Affirming celebration in September 2017– one of over 30 new ministries welcomed to the family in 2017.
At times it feels like the church is making slow progress at becoming truly LGBTQ+ welcoming. While AUSE is edging towards 200 Affirming ministries, it’s too easy to look at the United Church’s roughly 3,000 ministries and courts and focus only on how far we have to go. But, look at this Observer story from a decade ago for some context.
Writer Mike Milne noted, “only 31 United Church congregations (as well as three regional ministries, three retreat centres and two colleges) now officially call themselves Affirming. It’s a tiny portion of the United Church’s 3,500 congregations — less than one percent.” Continue reading
Emmanuel United Church, Odessa ON, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday November 19, 2017 at 2:00 PM at
Emmanuel United Church
63 Factory Street
Odessa ON K0H 2H0
Please send a note of congratulations to Emmanuel United Church by filling out this contact form:
Every year, AU/SE honours individuals who strengthen and bless our movement in especially significant ways. In 2017, we honour two Albertans: Gary Simpson and Bryon Delarue. Council member Jen Carter-Morgan writes,
“It is a great delight to be able to introduce a wonderful man who is one of the faces of the Edmonton Pride Community – Gary Simpson.
Gary Simpson decked out in his usual Affirming splendour at the Edmonton Pride parade, 2017.
Gary and I first crossed paths at the start up gatherings of a group called Soul Outing, which is a queer worship community in Edmonton that we were both involved in and he still is. He is a dedicated and colourful participant in the Pride Week activities, from walking/riding with the United Church groups to volunteering at the festival afterwards, to staffing an information table. Continue reading
Every year, AU/SE honours individuals who strengthen and bless our movement in especially significant ways. In 2017, we honour two Albertans: Bryon Delarue and Gary Simpson. Gary and Bryon’s work both appears on our website and social media; in 2017 Bryon offered a timeline of all the many and growing Affirming ministries in Alberta, and a reflection on how this was accomplished. Continue reading
St James United Church, Peterborough ON, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday October 29, 2017 at 10:30 AM at
St. James United Church
221 Romaine Street
Please send a note of congratulations to St James United Church by filling out this contact form:
Manitou Conference, Ontario, will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday November 5, 2017 at 7:00 PM at
St. Andrew’s United Church
399 Cassells Street
North Bay, ON
The Moderator, Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell, will be preaching. All welcome!
Please send a note of congratulations to Manitou Conference through this contact form:
Mount Royal United Church in the Town of Mount Royal, QC will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday October 22, 2017 at 10:30 AM at:
Mount Royal United Church
1800 Graham Boulevard
Town of Mount Royal QC
Please send a note of congratulations to Mount Royal United Church by filling out this contact form:
Red Deer Lake United Church in Foothills, AB will celebrate their declaration of becoming an Affirming Ministry on Sunday October 29, 2017 at 10:30 AM at:
Red Deer Lake United Church,
96187 Hwy 22X
Foothills, Alberta T1S 2R9
Please send a note of congratulations to Red Deer Lake United Church by filling out this contact form:
“…God is queer. Jesus is queer. The Gospel is queer…. May we step proudly into our place at the table of God and claim that space, saying boldly and proudly, “we shall not be moved”. -Brandan Robertson.
The Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble network is a far-flung family, extending coast to coast to coast, and including kin and allies in many countries. Every year we have a chance to gather face to face, and in 2017 we were hosted by St Andrew’s Wesley United in Vancouver as part of their annual SpiritPride event. Many thanks to the congregation and the planning team for their warm hospitality and months of hard work. Gregg Taylor and Chris Mann, thank you for your bridge-building between AUSE and St Andrew’s Wesley, and for bringing our two movements together!
Check out our Facebook photo album (you don’t need to be on Facebook to view it).
A wonderful array of our movement’s flag in the sanctuary at St Andrew’s Wesley.
Over the summer, the White supremacist march and violence in Charlottesville, VA reminded us that our struggles against violent discrimination are inseparable. When people of colour and Indigenous people, of all genders and sexualities, are targeted for who they are, what should the response of an LGBTQQIA+ and Two Spirit movement like ours be? How do we name and face White privilege and racism within our own movement and communities?
A number of communities held anti-racism rallies, and in Edmonton the Hate 2 Hope rally asked AUSE member Gary Simpson to offer a prayer. He has generously shared the prayer with us; download it here and check out our worship section under Resources on our website.
AUSE is a movement that strives to recognize the reality and impact of intersecting identities, and thus works from the belief that the recent gains in LGBTQ+ civil, political, and human rights are not equally true for all sexual and gender-diverse communities. This is why the ongoing and intense debates about the official, uniformed police presence in Pride parades are so important.
(Photo: Rally against white supremacy in Washington DC. By Ted Eytan, licensed under Creative Commons.)