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 Unitarian 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.
Anne and Judy, a couple that started coming to Deer Park about 10 years ago, felt included and loved, and were married here. They talked briefly about their early experience at Deer Park. The Calgary Men’s Chorus (CMC) provided the music leadership. The CMC is open to all men regardless of socio-economic status, physical ability, or musical experiences. While most of the singers are gay or bi-men, men of all sexual orientations are welcome. Through singing, a sense of community and positive self-image with Calgary’s LGBTQ community is encouraged.
The guest speaker was Dale Lee Kwong, a Calgary poet, playwright, and essayist. For 27 years she worked as a news editor for Global TV, and now she is able to pursue her interests in Chinatown, Chinese culture, adoption, and LGBTQ issues. She spoke about her journey from churchgoer to evangelical Christian to gay Christian who chooses not to attend corporate worship.
After the worship service soup and buns in support of the Youth Zambia Tour were provided, and then we explored the history of the Affirming movement in Alberta. Please have a look at this inspiring history and its promise for the future.