Affirming celebration for Trinity United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Trinity United Church

Address:   4287 William Street, Beamsville ON L0R 1B0 

Date:  Sunday April 30, 2023

Time: 10:30 am

Location:    4287 William Street, Beamsville  ON L0R 1B0  
and live-streamed on their YouTube Channel


Phone:         905-563-4943

Email for sending congratulations (church office)

United Against Hate: faithfully responding to anti-2SLGBTQ+ actions

Join us for:

United Against Hate: faithfully responding to anti-2SLGBTQ+ actions

Wednesday, February 15

6:00pm MT, 7:00pm Central, 8:00pm ET, 5:00pm PT

As a special United In Learning event, join Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and Affirming Connections to learn about the malicious misinformation campaign and threats that have been launched against the drag and 2SLGBTQ+ communities across Canada – and what you can do.

Our panelists will address some of the dangerous myths circulating around drag, trans and other queer identities; look at recent Canadian online and in-person instances of anti 2SLGBTQ+ hate, some of which include Christian groups; and explain how these connect to wider hate, racist, and extremist anti-vaccination movements.

They will also share some ideas on what you and your community of faith can do to bring a faithful public response in your context, as well as support and care for those who need it.

Our panelists:

Toddy, Drag artist, standup comedian and musician

Toddy is a high energy drag artist, standup comedian and musician. Toddy is the season 1 winner of Call Me Mother on OUTTV. They have been featured at JFL Toronto, JFL Vancouver, CBCLOL, VSO’s Symphony of Terror and Toronto Pride. Trained as an opera singer, they find themself at the intersection of classical music and pop-culture, mixing them together in unique and bold ways! Toddy is a rising star in the music and comedy world; with albums for each coming out in 2023. 

Rev. Nobuko Iwai, Grosvenor Park United Church

Rev. Nobuko Iwai (she/her) (Noh-boo-koh Ee-wah-ee) is a 1.5 generation Japanese Canadian woman, born in Japan, raised across three provinces in Canada. She is the well-beloved partner of Doug, a minister, a cancer survivor, and a multi-generational preacher’s kid. In Japanese, Nobuko means woman of faith, taken from Luke 1, at the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary. She is ordained in The United Church of Canada, and has served across Saskatchewan both as intentional interim minister and in regular ministry. She enjoys trying all kinds of new experiences, isn’t much of a perfectionist, is a dog lover, zentangler, and enjoys puttering.  Since 2015 she has served as ministry personnel at Grosvenor Park United Church, an Affirming ministry in Saskatoon, SK, Treaty Six.

Hazel Woodrow, Education Facilitator at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Hazel Woodrow is the Canadian Anti-Hate Network’s Education Facilitator. She holds bachelors degrees in sociology and social work, and brings a trauma informed approach to hate prevention, intervention, and reparation. Prior to her current role with the organization, she was a researcher and analyst with CAHN. She has appeared on podcasts and provided analysis and commentary to media, regarding her research. As a convert to Islam, Hazel’s work is strongly informed by the Holy Quran’s command to bear witness, and to seek equity and justice. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is a nonpartisan, non-profit, proudly anti-fascist organization with the mandate to counter, monitor, and expose hate promoting movements, groups, and individuals in Canada using every legal, ethical, and reasonable tool at our disposal.

Registration is free and required through the United in Learning website at the link below.

Affirming celebration for Port Wallis United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Port Wallis United Church

Date:             Sunday February 12, 2023

Time:            10 am to 12 pm

Location:    263 Waverley Road, Dartmouth NS and on Zoom

Register for Zoom at


Phone:         902-435-3644

Email for sending congratulations (church office)  

Affirming celebration for Riverview United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Riverview United Church

Address:  760 Hwy #2  Elmsdale NS  B2S 1G3 

Date:  Saturday February 18, 2023

Time: 2:00 pm

Location:    in-person at 760 Hwy 2, Elmsdale, NS


 Church Phone:   902-883-9274

Email for sending congratulations (church office) 

Statement in Response to a Rise in Hatred

Anti-Hate Statement from King Julez

Hello Members and Supporters of Affirm United. Its King Julez here, and I’m one of your chairs on the board of directors. I’m here to talk to you about the rise of hate across our country and across our ministries. At Affirm United, we denounce this hate. This Homophobia, this Transphobia, Bi-phobia, all of it. We know that denouncing it isn’t enough, so we’re also taking action. Members of our board are meeting with folks from Affirming Connections, as well as the General Council Office at the United Church of Canada, to think about the ways that we can actively support and honour the lives of 2SLGBTQ+ folks in our communities. We are looking at providing educational resources for staff, lay people, and all of your communities to combat hate and to be able to provide safe spaces for folks in your area.

We are collaborating to build this support and to provide everything that we can, because we know that this is a difficult time, in many of our lives, and especially those of us who fall within in the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

We ask that you be our eyes and ears in your various locations. We strive to protect those of you who are victims of this kind of hate and of this discrimination. But we need to know what’s going on as well. Feel free to email our Communications Coordinator, M, at, or through our communications portal on our website. We want to know what’s going on. We want to know where it’s happening. We want to know where we can best support you. Please let us in and let us know what we can do and when we can do it.

We are here for you; we are here for all of the people who need it. We are stiving to do the best that we can, and we know that we can always do better.

Thank you for being a part of this community, and for trying your best to protect and create safe space in your communities.

We know that this hate is hard. We know that its continuing to come. We are here. We are powerful and we are strong as a community. Thank you for doing everything that you do.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), also known as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, has been observed annually (from its inception) on November 20 as a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. It is a day to draw attention to the continued violence endured by transgender people.

Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of transgender woman Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. It has slowly evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action. In 2010, TDoR was observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries.

On November 20, we remember and honour Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary people killed around the world because of hatred and oppression. Affirm United/S’Affirmer Ensemble renews our commitment to fighting transphobia in all its forms.

Affirming celebration for Trinity United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Trinity United Church

3555 5th Avenue, Prince George BC V2M 1K8

Date: October 30, 2022

Time: 10 am PST

Location: 3555 5th Ave. (5th and Union) or or @TrinityUCPG on FB or Youtube


Phone: 250-563-9167

Email for sending congratulations (church office)        

Affirming celebration for Thornhill United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Thornhill United Church  

Date:             Sunday, October 16, 2022 

Time:            10:30 a.m. 

Location:     25 Elgin Street, Thornhill Ontario and on Zoom 

Join Zoom Meeting by computer, tablet or cell phone:

Meeting ID: 566 527 256   Password: 011 654  

Join by phone:         647 374 4685  or 647 558 0588 


Phone:   905-889-2131   

Email for sending congratulations (church office): 

Please find below a message from Rev. Eli Carter-Morgan – Western Affirming Ministries Co-Ordinator!

My name is Eli (EE-lye) Carter-Morgan and I use they-them pronouns.  I am here to re-introduce myself as the western Affirming Ministries Co Ordinator.  I have had the honour of serving in this role since 2016, but a re-introduction is needed as I am going by a new name and pronouns.

I also hope that this time can be a learning experience for those of you who have never experienced working with someone with a non-binary identity.  I am happy to answer any questions or be a part of any local (Edmonton) or online panels if that is helpful. 

As a small child I was known by a derivative of my middle name, Annie, or as my double named Elizabeth Anne. With school came the need for something shorter – Elizabeth.

My teen years brought a new identity that fit me better, and I have gone by Liz ever since, though I added a Rev. Before and a Morgan to the end, marking important changes in my life.

I have never fit comfortably within the gender binary, and as time has passed, society has produced different ways of understanding and expressing this. We have always used “they/them” pronouns when unsure of someone’s gender, but it has now become more common.  I am agender – which means the category of gender has little meaning when applied to myself. This is one type of non- binary, a type of transsexual.

With new times come new names.  The biblical story of the call of Samuel, and the role Eli (EE- lye) plays in that story speak strongly to me, so I will begin going by the name Eli starting July 1.

I recognize that change is difficult, and I expect people will sometimes use the previous names or pronouns. The best thing to do is correct yourself quickly and move on.   There is a huge difference between a slip of the tongue and the malicious misgendering that has led to media attention and discipline of employees etc.

I deeply appreciate Linda and Kim helping to support the western ministries this summer as I have been settling back into Edmonton and my new call serving Spirit West United Church.

Affirming celebration for Dublin Street United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for 

Date: September 25, 2022

Time: Service at 10:30 am

Location: 68 Suffolk Street West, Guelph ON N1H 2J2                                

See Dublin St. UC website for Service information.


Phone: 519-821-0610

Email for sending congratulations (church office ) Jennifer Pellegrino, Office Administrator

Affirming celebration for Georgian Shores United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Georgian Shores United Church

Date:  Sunday September 25, 2022

Time: 10:30 am

Location:    997 4th Ave East, Owen Sound, Ontario

Please check the website for information about live streaming


 Phone:   519-376-3890     

Email for sending congratulations (church office)      

Affirming celebration for Wesley United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Wesley United Church

Date:  25 September 2022

Time: 10 am

Location:    The Sanctuary, Wesley United Church

Address:    77 William Street, St. Andrews, NB  E5B 1W8


Phone:   506-529-3527       

Email for sending congratulations (church office) 

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Wesley United Church through this private form:    

Affirming celebration for St. George & St. Andrew United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for St. George & St. Andrew United Church!

Date:   Thursday September 22, 2022

Time:  7 pm

Location:    393 George Street, Annapolis Royal NS  B0S 1A0


Phone:   902-532-7954

Email for sending congratulations (church office)

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of St. George & St. Andrew United Church through this private form:

Affirming Ministry Celebration for Beacon United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Beacon United Church!

Date: Sunday September 18, 2022

Time: 11:00 am

Location: 25 Beacon Street Yarmouth NS B5A 2W2 . . . In-person


Phone 902-742-4320

Email for sending congratulations

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Beacon United Church through this private form:           

Affirming celebration for Peninsula United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Peninsula United Church

Date:  Sunday August 7, 2022

Time: 10 a.m.

Location:    2756 127 Street, Surrey BC  V4A 6L5  

The in-person worship part of the celebration will be live-streamed on the Peninsula United Church YouTube channel, and also available there for later viewing.


Check website for Affirming Ministry page . . . . coming soon!

Phone:  604-531-2979

  Email for sending congratulations (church office) 

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Peninsula United Church through this private form:

Affirming celebration for Bramalea United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Bramalea United Church

363 Howden Blvd, Brampton  ON  L6S 4L6

Date:  Sunday  June 26, 2022

Time: 10:00 am

Location:    363 Howden Blvd, Brampton ON   – and live streamed on website


Phone:         905-450-8003       

Email for sending congratulations (church office)

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Bramalea United Church through this private form:   

Affirming celebration for Enniskillen Tyrone United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Enniskillen Tyrone United Church

2702 Consession Road 7, Bowmanville ON L1C 3K6     

Date:  Sunday June 26, 2022

Time: 10:25 am

Location:    In person at 2702 Consession Road 7, Bowmanville  and Facebook Live at


Phone:   905-263-4107 

Email for sending congratulations (church office) 

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Enniskillen-Tyrone United Church through this private form:       

Affirming celebration for Humbercrest United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Humbercrest United Church

16 Baby Point Road,   Toronto ON  M6S 2E9

Date:  Sunday June 12, 2022

Time: 10:30 am

Location:  In person at 16 Baby Point Road or live-streamed on Youtube . . . celebration lunch to follow service


Phone:   416-767-6122

Email for sending congratulations (church office)  

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Humbercrest United Church through this private form:

Affirming celebration for Pacific Mountain Regional Council

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Pacific Mountain Regional Council!

Date:  Saturday June 11, 2022

Time:   3:00 pm

Theme:  Rooted and Grounded in Love: General Meeting 2022

Location:   In person at the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre and as visitors on the land of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, 808 Canada                 Games Way, Prince George, BC, V2L 5T6

Online participation is also available.


Phone Contact Number: 1-800-934-0434

Email for sending congratulations:

Please send a note of congratulations to Pacific Mountain Regional Council through this private form:

Affirming celebration for Kingsview United Church!

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Kingsview United Church

505 Adelaide Avenue East, Oshawa ON L1G 2A4

Date:  Sunday June 19, 2022

Time: 10:25  am

Location:    505 Adelaide Avenue East, Oshawa ON


Phone:   905-436-2000

Email for sending congratulations (church office)  

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Kingsview United Church through this private form:

Affirming Ministries Video!

Let’s create together!

I would love for all of the Affirming Ministries across Canada to send me a short and simple video clip!

I will use these clips to create a montage of Affirming Ministries sharing their love!

What should you do?

Take a video of your Affirming Ministry blowing a kiss. It could be one member, two members or the entire community. In the video, you will (1) reach out to your left to grab a kiss (2) turn to your right and blow a kiss in that direction. Super simple.

Please be sure to have your phone/camera landscape view.

The video file should be short enough that you can easily email it to me at If you have any problems uploading, please send me an email and we’ll find another way.

I need all videos by end of day on Sunday, June 12th.

I will put them together and have a completed video by Friday, June 17th. Feel free to use it in your Pride or Affirming Ministry services.


Join us on July 14-17 for our AGM!
Come as a voting representative from your community of faith, or grab your own membership and represent as yourself with a vote!
More details to come, stay tuned! See you there!

Meet your Board Post #12 – Meet our Consultants!

Affirm United / S’affirmer Ensemble is working with two consultants, Brian Hoessler and Kit Loewen, to help us imagine what our organization can be and develop a plan for the coming years. Over the next few months, Brian and Kit will be consulting and engaging with the AUSE Council, staff, members, and other key stakeholders to identify the organization’s root causes of success, articulate new directions, and identify pathways forward.

Today, you’ll meet Kit!

Kit Loewen (She/Her, B.Sc., B.Ed., M.Ed) lives with her family in Saskatoon, on the traditional territory of the Plains Cree (Nēhiyawak), Saulteaux, Dakota and Nakoda people bound by the commitments made in Treaty 6.  Kit’s home rests on land settled by La Prairie Round/Prairie Métis settlements, including Road Allowance communities. 

Among other things, Kit is a consultant committed to working with non-profit organizations to support their vitality in their communities through a variety of organizational development approaches (which include governance refinement, strategy work, and non-profit life cycles). Kit is an active member of St. Martin’s United Church, where she is currently a member of the Affirming Action Group and Chair of the Ministry and Personnel Committee. Currently, she is pleased to sit as an ally-member of the Board of OUTSaskatoon, whose mission is to “To uplift 2SLGBTQ people by leading, serving, and supporting in a dynamic community.”

Prayer and Statement in Response to Recent Hate Crimes

Affirm United / S’affirmer Ensemble grieves the news of multiple hateful attacks on our communities of faith that are working to live into their present or pending Affirming Status.

We pray for St. Andrew’s United Church in Hamilton ON, who had racist stickers placed on their church sign.

We pray for the community of First United Church in Fort Saskatchewan, AB who had their Pride flag stolen.

We pray for Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, ON who had vandalism using homophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti.

We pray for St. Luke’s United Church in Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia, whose Pride flag was torn down and a stone thrown through the glass door of the church building.

We pray for Scarboro United Church in Calgary, Alberta, who had their Pride banner damaged by cuts and burn marks along with the word “repent” written in black marker.

We at Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble aim to Educate, provide Action and Support people of all sexual orientations and genders, and sexes in finding support and community within The United Church of Canada. We encourage all communities of faith to become PIE: Public, Intentional and Explicit. This means being Public: Being out and proud! Using symbols, signs and words which are echoed outside and inside the church building, in all facets of church life; Intentional: An Affirming ministry is deliberate in their process of study, education and dialogue with members of their faith community. They ensure that the history of oppression and discrimination by the Church is both understood and acknowledged, and that continued growth, education, and celebration are part of its ministry; and Explicit: An Affirming ministry is very clear about who it welcomes. It names queer, trans, and Two Spirit people and the gifts they are.

We understand that being PIE can be difficult. But we take solace in the messages that came after these hateful attacks – at St. Luke’s where the Pride flag was torn, Rev. Rick Gunn said in a statement on facebook “We may never know what was going through this man’s head or heart. Tearing down a Pride flag is a message all on its own, however.” Rev. Gunn encouraged his community of faith to pray for the perpetrator.

Similarly, at Scarboro United, where their banner was damaged by cuts and burn marks, Rev. Erin Klassen said, “This most recent experience is an important reminder that being an Affirming Congregation, an Affirming Region, an Affirming Denomination, an Affirming Society, does not happen by accident and should not be taken for granted. It requires intention, discernment, agency, and action.”

We agree.

We pray for these communities of faith and stand in solidarity with our siblings in the LGBTQQIA+ and Two Spirit communities that continue to be the target of hate crimes. We remember and proclaim our commitment to working for justice and inclusion for all. We will continue to strive for peace and equity for all people through our daily actions in church and community.

Meet your Board Post #11 – Meet our Consultants!

Affirm United / S’affirmer Ensemble is working with two consultants, Brian Hoessler and Kit Loewen, to help us imagine what our organization can be and develop a plan for the coming years. Over the next few months, Brian and Kit will be consulting and engaging with the AUSE Council, staff, members, and other key stakeholders to identify the organization’s root causes of success, articulate new directions, and identify pathways forward.

Today, you’ll meet Brian!

Brian Hoessler (He/They, B.Sc, M.A) is an independent consultant who enjoys working with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to build their capacity to make positive change in the world. He is the Founder and Principal Consultant for Strong Roots Consulting, a firm based in Saskatoon on Treaty 6 territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis.

Over the past decade, Brian has worked with over 30 non-profit organizations, government agencies, and multi-stakeholder initiatives in the areas of program evaluation, organizational capacity-building, and strategic planning.

Brian grew up in Winnipeg and as an adult has lived in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Kingston (Ontario) before moving to Saskatoon in 2012. He is currently an adherent with SSUC-Saskatoon (formerly Meewasin Valley United Church), where he participated in the congregation’s process of becoming an Affirming Ministry.

Meet your Board Post #10

This week, you’ll be meeting Michelle!

Originally from Portland, Oregon; Michelle came to Vancouver, BC in 2011 as a student at Capilano University. Shortly being introduced to St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church by a friend who was part of the gospel choir, Michelle quickly felt at home as she became involved in the choir which led her to reignite her love of singing.

Becoming a member of St. Andrew’s Wesley United (STAW) in 2014, has given Michelle the space to flourish spiritually by becoming involved in ministries such as the Word Is Out (LGBTQ2S+) as an ally and helping with the planning of their summer conference of SpiritPride that takes place leading up to Pride Weekend in Vancouver; acting as Chair of the Affirm Committee when STAW decided to embark on the journey of becoming an affirming congregation in 2013, to becoming involved in various events for the TRC, helping refugees and their families settle into Canada to supporting community ministries such as The Chapel, a space within STAW that offers a place for the community to come together in storytelling, faith and music. She also sits on the church board as Secretary. (Michelle jokes fondly that she is an uber church geek 🤓)

Having found that Vancouver was where her heart was, she became a permanent resident in 2020 and looks forward to becoming a citizen in the future.  Most recently she has stepped into the role of Office Administrator at Pacific Spirit United (formerly: Ryerson/Dunbar United) and loves working with the ministry team and getting to know the welcoming congregation there.

In her spare time, Michelle enjoys discovering new music, going to concerts, volunteering in the community, singing in SummerChor and traveling with friends.

*Little known fact: Michelle is in the Guiness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Zombie Walk in the US, that took place in Seattle, Washington***

Meet your Board Post #9

This week, you’ll be meeting Linda, our Coordinator of the Affirming Ministry Program!

Linda, a United Church member by birth and by choice, has worked/volunteered at all levels of The United Church of Canada with children, youth and adults, mainly in the areas of Resource Ministry and Affirm United’s Affirming Ministries Program.  She is a member of Sydenham Street United Church in downtown Kingston, ON, an Affirming Ministry since 1999.  Linda loves her contacts with ministries across Canada as a Coordinator of Affirm United’s Affirming Ministry Program since 2012.  Linda and her spouse, Bruce, have two adult children and four grandchildren, and enjoy being together . . . . gardening, walking, travelling . . . and talking!!

Trans Day of Visibility

The Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) is a day to show support for the Two-Spirit, transgender and gender diverse communities. Importantly, it is to support all those who identify as transgender. Not all Two Spirit or gender diverse folks are transgender, but some are. A piece of being a PIE ally is to listen to how folks identify and be respectful of that.

Trans Day of Visibility aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe while fighting cis-sexism and transphobia by spreading knowledge and educating about gender diversity outside of the male/female binary. Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance, this is not a day for mourning: this is a day of celebration and getting the recognition trans folks deserve! Since 2010, TDOV happens every year on March 31.

Trans folks are not only surviving but are also transforming how we understand gender. Trans and gender diverse folks are not new, and being trans is not a modern trend. Cultures from all over the world have always recognized the important and sacred role trans folks play in our various communities. In an increasingly transphobic climate, we must use the newfound visibility to mobilize trans people against oppression, especially that of transgender youth and transgender athletes.

Speaking out, taking direct action, and educating others is critical to the safety and wellbeing of Two Spirit,  trans and gender diverse people. This recognizes that while visibility is important, we must take action against transphobia and cis-sexism. Visibility is not enough alone to bring gender liberation, freedom from our cis-normative world. However, we can use visibility as a vital tool for Two Spirit, transgender, and gender diverse justice.

Meet your Board Post #8

This week, you’ll be meeting Joyce!

Joyce Payne was born and raised in London, Ontario, and throughout all her life she has been a dedicated volunteer to the United Church. Joyce’s commitment and passion is for social justice. For many years Joyce has supported local politics for candidates that named social justice and equality as major components of their campaigns. Within the church Joyce lived her theology by leading out-of-the-cold meal teams for over a decade, and spent her summer holidays offering Community Vacation Bible School programs. Joyce was a trained Licensed Lay Worship Leader for 30 years and was a favoured preacher throughout Middlesex Presbytery.

Joyce was retired from her work after 38 years in 2007, as a Distribution Analyst at 3M and Imation and immediately started her full-time volunteer position as the chair of the Pastoral Relations Committee for Middlesex Presbytery.

Joyce has a deep faith and strong ethical commitments. Her unwavering commitment to God allowed her to hear the call to her volunteer roles as President of London Conference, and subsequently President of Antler River Watershed Region. Throughout her presidency she encouraged individuals and communities of faith to Bloom Where They are Planted, and to “Be Present” following the inspiration found in scripture in 2 Timothy and John 1. Joyce has been able to do this successfully throughout her life – even when adversity was obvious. She has believed in and followed the call of the God who says in 2 Timothy 2; “Be the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to God’s guests for their blessing.”

Meet your Board Post #7

This week, you’ll be meeting David!

David Hall is in his second year as a Member At Large on the AUSE Council and is currently the chair of the Affirm Committee at Silver Spire United Church. With his passion and education in conducting, voice and piano, David has served as a volunteer and as staff in the music ministry of various churches including positions as an elder, moderator and facilities chair. David has been a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee to the City of St. Catharines and of the Working Group for OutNiagara as well as facilitating a group of LGBTQ+ Christians and allies. David works fulltime as the VP, Manager of Health and Safety & Risk in a wood manufacturing company owned by his sister and brother-in-law. He enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, beaches and travelling with his partner Jim as well as reading, writing, gardening, baking (especially Nova Scotia molasses brown bread) and jigsaw puzzles. David lives with his partner Jim Graham in St. Catharines, Ontario where David’s family including his two daughters and son-in-law also live. David plans to retire in the next three years so he can spend more time with Jim and to travel to all the provinces and territories of Canada.

Happy PIE Day!

Did you miss our Queer Virtue event, in partnership with Affirming Connections?

Well, we have it here for you! Happy PIE Day – thank you for all you do to be Public, Intentional and Explicit in your affirming work!

Meet your Board Post #6

This week, you’ll be meeting Peter, our treasurer!

Born and raised a Calgarian, Peter was baptized at St. Mathews United Church in Calgary. His parents were instrumental in building the new Sanctuary where his oldest sister was the first bride to be married there in 1959. A few years later, “Religion” was put on the back burner for Peter for many many years. In 2012, Peter entered the doors of Hillhurst United, an affirming congregation, and found a new spiritual home. Today he is the Financial Administrator at Hillhurst.

A graduate of the University of Calgary in 1976, he went on to become a Chartered Account from 1979 to 2008, specializing in Financial Systems for the Not-for-Profit Sector. It was that experience that brought him to the attention of Hillhurst leadership when they were looking for a new Finance Guy as they were entering the 21st Century. In his first summer of employment, Hillhurst United was the venue for the Affirm United/ S’Affirmer Ensemble AGM and Annual Conference. Peter seemed to “jump-in” with both feet. Peter will be retiring from Hillhurst in April/2022 and will fill his time with AUSE “things”.

Meet your Board Post #5

This week, you’ll be meeting Caitlin!

Hi, my name is Caitlin Smithers, She/Her pronouns. I identify as a lesbian. I am so excited to be a part of the Affirm United Council! I am a student at the Atlantic School of Theology and the Centre for Christian Studies. I am currently a Candidate for Ordained Ministry within the United Church of Canada. I am working half time in a Congregational Designated Minister position with Children, Youth and Families Ministry at a Church here in Halifax NS. This will be my third year in that paid role, and in the United Church of Canada, though I have worked for over 10 years as a volunteer with children, youth and families in the Baptist Church and United Church of Canada. I have been passionate about inclusion, love, and advocacy throughout that ministry, and my continued ministry to demonstrate and reassure people they are loved by God, unconditionally for all of who they are. I enjoy horseback riding, gardening and being out in nature. I dream of opening a garden church one day.

Everyone Gets A Slice! Affirming Panel

An official National Affirming/PIE Day event brought to you by Affirming Connections and Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble!

This years PIE Day theme is “Everyone Gets A Slice!”

Looking at the LGBTQIA2S+ acronym, which represents an endless diversity of identities and expressions, we acknowledge that some of the people who are represented by these letters often tend to get left out or underserved. Our guests panelists share their stories and expertise to invite us to consider which folks we may not have included in our Affirming programming and educational efforts and take strides to remedy that.

Come with your curiosity to meet these amazing leaders and be inspired to apply the principles of being PIE: Public, Intentional, and Explicit, in your journey to being a more Affirming person and community.

With guest panelists:

  • Jamie Arpin-Ricci (author, activist, and pastoral leader at Little Flowers Community)
  • Dieulita Datus (community organizer and co-founder of Ubuntu – Mobilizing Central Alberta)
  • Chris Cochrane (Trans activist, educator, public speaker, Support Service Educator for The Youth Project, and Vice Chair of Halifax Pride)
  • Rev. Andrea Brennan (Priest at Christ Church and Minister at Knox United Church, Fernie, BC)

5:30pm PT
6:30pm MT
7:30pm CT
8:30pm ET
9:30pm AT

Zoom Sign up Link:

Meet your Board Post #4

This week, you’ll be meeting Julian / King Julez, our other Co-Chair!

Julian / King Julez has been a part of the AU/SE council since 2018, and became chair of the council at our 2021 AGM! They are passionate about creating equitable space, and hope to one day do that as a drag clown Reverend within The United Church of Canada. Historically, clowns have been storytellers, truth tellers, and the ones who poke fun at the people and systems in power. Bringing that energy into ministry is one way to make religion, and in King Julez’s case contemporary Christianity, more accessible.

Outside of the church, King Julez is currently working at a pet store and caring for their four cats at home. They love Christmas and Easter, and supporting local artists and businesses.

Meet your Board Post #3!

This week, you’ll be meeting Emma, our Secretary!

Emma Pipes is passionate about radical inclusivity and safer spaces in the Christian community. She has been involved in the United Church of Canada since being a baby and now serves in ministry! In her free time Emma enjoys hikes in nature, music and singing as well as theatre, arts and social justice work. Her favourite food is Shepherd’s Pie and Macaroni and Cheese.

Meet your Board Post #2!

This week, you’ll be meeting Brent, our Co-Chair!

Brent Alexander was born in Saskatoon, raised in Val Marie, SK and Carstairs AB. Lived, worked and studied in 5 provinces and six countries on three continents after leaving home. Sadly has not stepped foot in the other 5 provinces. Since 2018, Brent calls Leslieville, Toronto ON home, along with his husband (m. 2008) and sons (a. 2011; b. 2007 and 2009).
Brent’s Proudest Gay Moment was when he presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in Vancouver in 2003 while it was studying Equal Marriage and enjoying the fruits of that moment 5 years later when he wed his husband with one of the Committee of Justice members in attendance.
Started attending Hillhurst UC in 2007 and officially became a member in 2010. Takes a long time for RC’s to let go of the past and embrace the future! Current member of East End United Regional Ministry.
Brent is also the Lead Coordinator of Glen Rhodes Food Bank.

Meet your Board!

Starting this week, we are going to have “Meet your Board” posts posted every Saturday for you to get to know who is currently on the board! All of these posts have been written by the board members, and we hope that you’ll enjoy them!

This week is Mallory Brennan!

• Mallory Brennan once bicycled across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as part of a performing and cycling tour to promote environmental sustainability

• Mallory does not wear shoes in church unless it is a concert

• Mallory collects Christmas hats and currently has a dozen completely ridiculous hats

• Mallory has her MA in Community Music

• Mallory works year round for Welcome Friend Association’s Rainbow Camp, a summer camp for 2SLGBTQ+ teens

• Mallory has two cats, Mooncat and Louie

A Christmas Message from the AUSE Board Chair

Hello, members of Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble! 

As we continue on through this pandemic, is can be difficult to keep our eyes on the end of the tunnel. I am here to remind you of the themes of Advent that we have been observing over the last four weeks: hope, peace, joy, and love. We hope for the best future and for the safety of all. We carry the peace of Christ with us as we walk along. We seek out and find joy in the places we least expected to find it. Most importantly, we love largely, loudly, and harder than ever before. 

I urge you to carry the spirit of Christmas (and the themes of Advent) with you publicly, intentionally, and explicitly as we move together into another year. The community that we share is life giving and ever affirming. We are here for you, just as you are there for one another. 

You all continue to amaze me, the Board of Directors, and God, with your work and dedication to making our world a more inclusive and affirming place. 

Merry Christmas, happy new year, and God be with you, amen!

– Julian | King Julez | they/them

Meet your outgoing Treasurer!

Meet Anne Wood! The outgoing Treasurer of Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble- Anne completed 4 years as Treasurer in July of this year. Anne and her wife Ruth recently celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. They live in Kingston, ON, and have 2 children and 6 grandchildren who all live in the Kingston area. 

Anne says that she and Ruth have benefited from the work of Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble, although they do not yet belong to an Affirming Community of Faith.

Her hobbies include reading, sewing and photography. With stepping down from the board, she will have the free time to pursue several ideas for family history projects, using pictures and stories that were passed down from her grandparents and letters and pictures that were saved by Ruth’s grandparents. 

Thank you for all of your hard work, Anne!

Introducing the new Communications Coordinator!

Hi everyone! My name is M Chorney, and I work part time out of Winnipeg / Treaty 1 territory as AU/SE’s NEW Communications and Marketing Coordinator! My home congregation is Selkirk United, in Selkirk, Manitoba, and I grew up on a farm outside of the city. I have been involved in the Church since I was very young, and have an honours degree from the University of Manitoba in Political Science, with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. My partner and I live in downtown Winnipeg, and will be getting married next summer! I am excited to start this new role and assist AU/SE with their work. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions at, and I look forward to working with all of you!

Virtual Summer Conference 2021! AGM and Worship!

Saturday July 24th and Sunday July 25th 2021

Greetings Friends,

Tomorrow morning we begin our 2021 Annual Meeting Weekend Online! Here is the link to your weekend itinerary (Make sure to look for individual links, ie. “Morning Gathering” has its own link, ID/password).

This itinerary below will guide you through our weekend together!


Please submit any questions to:

Members register now for your vote at the Annual General Meeting at 2:00PM- 4:00PM (EDT) (guests welcome to join the discussion)…/tJ0pdeuvrTouH9RI4yCm_4cqnRnNkLOqqHA1Want to be a member? Learn more!

Affirming Ministry Celebrations are planned for Westminster United in Medicine Hat, Alberta!

Westminster United Church – Medicine Hat, Alberta

Affirming celebration for Westminster United Church

101 6th Street SE  Medicine Hat  AB  T1A 1G7

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Westminster United Church. 

Date: Sunday June 27, 2021

Time:   Service available anytime after 9 am MDT

Location:    Westminster UC Medicine Hat Facebook page and the website as a prerecorded service


Phone: (403) 526-5247

Email for sending congratulations (church office):

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Westminster United Church through this private form:

Congratulations St. Andrew’s United Church in Hamilton, Ontario on becoming an Affirming Ministry!

St. Andrew’s United Church, Hamilton, Ontario

Affirming celebration for St. Andrew’s United Church!

479 Upper Paradise Road, Hamilton ON L9C 5E2

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for St. Andrew’s United Church on Sunday June 13, 2021 

Time:  10:30 am (EDT)

Location:  YouTube accessed through the website


Phone: (905) 383-7411

Church Email for sending congratulations:

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of St. Andrew’s United Church through this private form:

Congratulations to Harmony United in Saint John, New Brunswick on their Affirming Ministry!

Harmony United Church – Saint John, New Brunswick

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Harmony United Church!

Harmony United Church
8 Upland Road
Saint John  NB  E2H 2W5

Sunday June 13, 2021 at Time 9:45am (ADT)

Location: Harmony United Church – In person worship (limited due to COVID restrictions) and Live on our YouTube Channel at


Phone:  506-696-3773

Email for sending congratulations

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Harmony United Church through this private form:           

It’s Pride Month!

What do you have planned for Pride Month!? Let us know! We’ve got TEN New Affirming Ministry Celebrations planned for this month across Canada from Nova Scotia to British Columbia!

Congratulations Central Saanich UC in Saanichton, BC on your Affirming Ministry!

Central Saanich United Church, Saanich, BC

An Affirming Celebration is planned for June 27th, 2021

Central Saanich United Church

7180 East Saanich Road, Saanichton, BC  V8M 1Y4

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Central Saanich United Church on Sunday June 27, 2021 

Time and location will depend on COVID-19 protocols at that time. If possible it will be in person, larger venue as the church has limited capacity and there may/will be social distancing rules in effect – possibly pre-registration required. Details are still to be determined.

Alternate plans will be:

Location:   Pre-recorded service posted on website on the morning of June 27th  


Church Phone:  250-652-2713

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Central Saanich United Church through this private form or email congratulations directly to