Affirm United a proud partner of The United Church of Canada for the support of all gender identities and sexual orientations
Category: Affirming Ministries in Action
Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble has hundreds of Affirming ministries across Canada, with many more in process all the time. Have a look through this page and be inspired. And if these stories make you wonder about becoming Affirming, get in touch through the Affirming Ministry Coordinators. (See our Contact page).
Affirming ministries: We want your stories and photos! Tell us how you’re being Affirming; we want you to help others see the incredible and exciting range of work you offer. Get in touch with the Communications Coordinator and we’ll take it from there. (See our Contact page).
Tuesday December 1st – 6:30-8pm EST all are welcome around the kitchen sink!
Tim Reaburn is an ordained United Church of Canada minister who lives, works, and was raised on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. He is currently a member of the General Council Executive of the United Church of Canada and a member of the Board of Directors of the United Church of Canada Foundation. The values of intersectionality, gender justice, anti-colonialism, reconciliation and anti-racism are deeply rooted core principles for him.
Gender justice has been part of his life since coming out in 1988. This is not just a Canadian challenge but has connections across the globe. There is not one country that has yet achieved what the Divine desires and as such international dialogue is essential in terms of providing both models and taking learnings to apply to our own realities. The United Church of Christ (US) and Pembizo (Pan-African) will form the core of what Tim will present for the United Church of Canada’s global partners experience and narrative.
See you then!
Kitchen Sink Series EventZoom Information Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm EST
The Kitchen Sink Series presents Youth Group Revisited with Laura Foushe this Tuesday, November 17th at 6:30-8:00pm EST … Join us for a great, fun time on Zoom!
Youth Group Revisited:
Come experience a Covid-style youth group (for all ages, of course). Laura will lead us in some fun and bizarre online ice breakers and games (including Taylor Swift Trivia). She will also share her experience and bumbling wisdom after 15 years in ministry with children and youth.
More about Laura:
Laura Fouhse is a Diaconal Minister and has been serving the past 15 years at McClure United Church in Saskatoon as the Minister for Children, Youth, Young Adults and Families.
Kitchen Sink Series EventZoom Information Time: 6:30pm – 8:00pm EST
Here is our newest eNewsletter Friday July 17th, 2020 including information about the AGM/Summer Conference, the Annual Report, Nominations Report, Nominee Bios and a special Thank You to Jordan Sullivan and more …
We are very excited to announce the hiring of our new Communications Coordinator! As you may recall, our previous Communications Coordinator Julie Graham moved on to her new work in Regional Ministry this winter serving Northern Spirit, Living Skies and Prairie to Pine Regional Councils.
Affirm United/s’affirmer Ensemble is pleased to welcome Michele Petick (she/her) to the team. Michele has been hired to work with Affirm United/s’affirmer Ensemble for 20 hours/week to support various aspects of communications such as social media, website management, newsletter writing and distribution, and working with the Affirming Ministry Program Coordination team. We are excited to see how Michele’s background in website development and design will help us better connect and engage with our many members and ministries across the country!
I am so pleased to join the Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble team! I look forward to listening and working with existing and exploring communities involved with the important mission of Affirming across Canada.
A very short bit about me, I have been in digital tech for over 30 years and involved in some form of employment or volunteer position with the United Church of Canada for over 20 years. My home base is Toronto. As trends and technology constantly evolve as do I, and am committed to learning new and old ideas each and every day I breathe. “Online” is my office, so please reach out anytime!
Federal government to work on criminalizing “conversion therapy”: our support for this and other initiatives needed
In the spring of 2019 many in our movement were disappointed when the federal government (a Liberal majority) said that it could not ban conversion therapy through Health Canada. It cited health as a provincial jurisdiction. (What is “conversion” “therapy”? See this overview from CBC.)
Many turned to, or continued, working with their municipalities, provinces, and territories, asking them to follow MB and ON’s lead and outright ban this deeply harmful practice. As one example, in December Edmonton city council prepared to debate a ban within the city, as Alberta has not banned such “therapy” and indeed, more than a few in the province and its government support it.
Thank you to all, including many AUSE members, who are carrying this struggle forward. Special thanks to Gary Simpson in Edmonton for his research, advocacy, and advice.
As some in our Affirming movement reminded us, we need
to speak out in support of this, although we also need to be aware that the
proposal has some problems and limits. For example, the proposed Criminal Code
amendment would only apply to minors, and this may be the only way such an
amendment would be permitted under the Charter.
Whatever the advocacy options, whether national or local, we know that our
advocacy and education efforts are important and much-needed. We must continue to advocate for regional and
local responses, like
the one currently before Calgary’s council. And we need to make it clear to
our faith communities that conversion therapy is alive and in practice across
Canada to this day.
Yet the federal government’s proposal is one promising step forward. And the
mostly Christian groups who support this abusive practice will be sure to be in
loud opposition. Please read up on the government’s plans, and then if you are
so moved, contact your Member of Parliament, no matter their party, and briefly express your
support for this measure and your opposition to so-called conversion therapy.
If you identify as a church member or Christian, also make that clear to your
MP. Consider asking your community of faith, congregation, or parish to write
such a letter.
If you’re a United Church member, remember that your Regional Council is one
place to advocate, and that proposals for advocacy initiatives is an important
way to move church policy or motivate action. Such proposals should be consider
now for regional gatherings in May and June.
We need an end to this Christian-justified, cissexist, heterosexist abuse. Please
add your voice where you can.
Public+Intentional+Explicit= PIE. These are our standards for the full inclusion and celebration of LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit people. Get your recipes/ ice cream/ creative planning tools ready. PIE Day 2020, Saturday March 14, is happening!
Here’s the national Facebook event. And we’re constantly updating our online home, www.pieday.ca . There are already lots of free planning resources and ready-to-use graphics posted. Remember that the free 15 minute PIE Day video is still as fresh as ever- and we’re delighted to announce that three shorter versions will be available for free download too! No day olds here! At pieday.ca you’ll also find a form for registering your event, so please make sure you sign up your extravaganza.
All can participate: you do not need to be part of an Affirming ministry; you don’t need to be United Church; and pie substitutes are welcome. You just need to be enthusiastic or curious about a Public, Intentional, and Explicit celebration of diverse genders and sexualities in your community and place of worship. That’s all. Have at it!
This year we hope to draw the circle wider, with a stronger ecumenical and interfaith focus. Much more info to come- mark your calendars, dream of dessert, and start discerning how you can spread PIE love in your community!
Our faith is about so much more than our buildings. Yet our buildings and camps are also important spiritual and physical spaces that house not only our own ministries, but many other vital community initiatives too. Many Affirming ministries own their own building or facility, and in the course of their Affirming journey they generally add more inclusive spaces, such as all-gender washrooms, space for smudges and other Indigenous ceremony, wheelchair ramps, technology for the deaf and hard of hearing, and more. It’s an ongoing process that never really stops.
Most also rent the space to other groups. What, then, does an Affirming use of the building for everyone look like? What happens if a group opposed to LGBTQIA+ rights and identities wants to rent the space? What does safer space look like? Here’s one example of a policy and commitment from Trinity United Church, a rural congregation in Cannington ON.Download their building rental policy PDF here.