Spring greetings from your co-chairs

Our February 2016 Council meeting in Toronto covered a lot of ground.

We welcomed new members Chris Mann (BC), David Cathcart (BC), and Cindy Bourgeois (SK) to their first in-person Council meeting.  We missed the presence of new Council member Serena Patterson (BC). We were especially pleased to welcome Cindy Bourgeois as secretary and member of the Executive.

Your 2016 Council:  Front, left-right: Michiko Bown-Kai (co-chair) and David Cathcart.   Second row: Jen Carter-Morgan, Judy Amsbury, Chris Mann, Jordan Sullivan (General Council staff).   Back: Julie Graham (AUSE staff), Collin Smith (co-chair), Warren MacDougall, Jenni Leslie, John Calhoun, Cindy Bourgeois, Marco Ste-Marie.

Your 2016 Council:

Front, left-right: Michiko Bown-Kai (co-chair) and David Cathcart.

Second row: Jen Carter-Morgan, Judy Amsbury, Chris Mann, Jordan Sullivan (General Council staff).

Back: Julie Graham (AUSE staff), Collin Smith (co-chair), Warren MacDougall, Jenni Leslie, John Calhoun, Cindy Bourgeois, Marco Ste-Marie.

We also appreciated our conversation with the Moderator of the United Church, Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell. And we welcomed our time with Jordan Sullivan, who is our staff connection in the General Council office.

We are thrilled to see that work of Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble only continues to gain momentum, as more ministries across the United Church of Canada are becoming connected and involved with the Affirming Ministries Program. In April, we will welcome seven new ministries in addition to the three who have joined us since January. (Please see below for more details.)

As we continue to grow as an organization, we are excited about the many creative ways we can work to promote LGBTQ justice! Some exciting projects in which AU/SE is currently engaged are:

  • The United Church is working on how best to animate its decision at General Council 42 to undertake a Living Apology to gender and sexual minorities. The Living Apology is a story-collecting and story-telling process designed to help the United Church of Canada learn and reflect on the history and ongoing reality of discrimination in the church based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. As a partner in this work, our Council has begun imagining what AU/SE role has in making this project come to life.
  • Preparing for our annual general meeting and conference July 22-24 in Ottawa. (See more information in our March newsletter).
  • Living into the United Church’s Intercultural Vision. Over the past year, the AU/SE council has taken several opportunities to engage in learning and planning on what it means to incorporate all forms of difference in LGBTQ justice work.
  • Developing ways to help Affirming Ministries network and support each other better. We know there is so much wisdom gained in all of the work done at each Affirming Ministry and are working towards helping ministries share resources and learn from one another.
Worship table with very cool affirmation cards from Planned Parenthood Toronto.

Worship table with very cool affirmation cards from Planned Parenthood Toronto.

We are so grateful to all of the many volunteers who are part of the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble family who are working within their churches and ministries to make change. As your new co-chair, it has been a real joy to be welcomed into this organization that has such a rich history of hard work and so many vibrant volunteers and members.

-Michiko Bown-Kai. Michiko,and Collin Smith, are the Council co-chairs.