Open Hearts resource overview

Open Hearts is our main resource for ministries in the formal Affirming journey. It’s also a good resource for Affirming ministries who want to continue to explore and engage the sometimes difficult journey of being Affirming over the long haul. While it uses a lot of United Church language, we welcome any tradition who wants to use it, and hope it will be helpful to your journey. It was created by Alyson C. Huntley in conjunction with the Affirming Ministries Program Coordinators.  The table of contents is provided below to give you a taste and an overview.  You’re encouraged to explore, and to choose what you need! Please click here to open the full document as a PDF. 

Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
The Purpose of This Resource……………………………………………………………………………….. 2
How This Resource Is Organized……………………………………………………………………………. 2
About Language ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Part 1:  Affirming Ministries…………………………………………………………………………… 6
Affirm United and the Affirming Ministry Program………………………………………………………. 6
Criteria for Being an Affirming Ministry…………………………………………………………………….. 8
Signs of an Affirming Ministry ……………………………………………………………………………….. 9
We’re Already Welcoming, So Why Become Affirming? ……………………………………………….. 11
How to Become an Affirming Ministry ……………………………………………………………………… 15
Sample Affirming Vision Statements from Affirming Ministries ……………………………………….. 18
We’re Affirming, So Now What?  Program and Action Ideas for Affirming Ministries ……………… 21
FAQs about Affirming Ministries ……………………………………………………………………………… 25
The United Church of Canada and Issues of Gender Diversity and Sexual Orientation ………….. 28
Part 2:  Education, Discernment, and Action Planning for Affirming Ministries 30
Openings and Closing ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30
Affirming Ministries:  The Basics …………………………………………………………………………….. 32
Storytelling Circles ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 34
The Bible and Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity …………………………………….. 36
Activity Sheet:  Bible Passages and Daily Living …………………………………………………………. 39
Handout:  Instructions for Small Groups …………………………………………………………………… 42
What would It Mean for Our Ministry to Be Affirming? …………………………………………………… 43
Handout:  Case Studies for Small Groups ………………………………………………………………….. 45
Discerning Visions, Hopes, and Possibilities for an Affirming Ministry ………………………………… 48
Developing an Affirming Vision Statement …………………………………………………………………. 50
A Five-Step Process for Developing an Action Plan ………………………………………………………. 52
Explorations for Youth ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 55
Explorations for Children ………………………………………………………………………………………. 58
More Ideas for Learning and Reflection …………………………………………………………………….. 61
Strategies for Addressing Opposition, Fear, or Concern …………………………………………………. 63
Part 3:  Resources for Affirming Ministries …………………………………….. 66
How to Obtain Resources ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 66
General Print Resources ………………………………………………………………………………………… 66
United Church of Canada LGBT Resources ……………………………………………………………….. 68
LGBT Youth ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 69
Children ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 70
Popular Films on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity ……………………………………………. 71
Documentaries on LGBT/Gender Identity Issues ………………………………………………………….. 72
Trans Issues …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 74
Links to Organizations …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 75
United Church Resources on Aboriginal Peoples and Indian Residential Schools …………….. 77
United Church Resources on Antiracism, Racism, and Cultural Identity ……………………………. 77
Hymns for Affirming Ministries:  Music That Celebrates Diversity ……………………………………..
79