Being Affirming is asking: “what we can do for the community?”

When we here at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church in Scarborough ON decided to become an Affirming church, we asked ourselves: Now that we ARE an Affirming church, how will we live that commitment out as a congregation… What can we do to serve this community?

We then learned that that Planned Parenthood recently conducted a comprehensive research study of Scarborough and determined that there are very few services for LGBTQ youth here in this area. They told us that many youth have nowhere to go where they feel safe… or welcome.

40% of youth who are homeless in Toronto are LGBTQ, and many more are hungry and in need of a safe space to connect with others. We have been invited to create a space where youth can come and eat, learn and teach about food and other important life skills.

Birchcliff Bluffs has everything we need to provide a weekly drop in on Mondays from 3:00 to 8:30 pm. There will be informal activities before supper at 5:30 and a more formal educational program which will take place from 7:00 to 8:30.

We are scheduled to open in January and today we are very pleased to announce that we have decided to call our drop in “Toby’s Place”, in memory of Toby Dancer and all those who still need a safe welcoming place in this community.

We have been working hard over the spring and summer to secure funding for Toby’s Space, and we’re planning a comedy fundraiser which will take place in the New Year.

On September 18, 2016 we held our first meeting for all who are – or might think they are – interested in being involved in this important project.

— Cathy Williamson