The Kitchen Sink presents: Should we Empower or Make Space? with Guest Speaker Thea Sheridan-Jonah on Tuesday May 18th at 7pm

You are invited!

Tuesday May 18th, 2021 – 7:00 – 8:30pm EDT

You’re invited to join Affirm United as we gather online every third Tuesday night of the month for a time of friendship and learning together in community. This is your chance to connect with people from across the country who share your passion for Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ justice and issues.

Thea Sheridan-Jonah will be talking about her experience as a youth in the church, the times when she has been empowered and the times when space has been created for her and others.

When we talk about safer and brave spaces we often don’t touch on the difference between empowering people and intentionally making space for people, their identities, their discomfort, their fears, their joy.

Thea will be focusing on how empowerment upholds the power imbalance and social hierarchies that exist in our society and how empowerment can be both necessary and harmful. There will be time for discussion, questions, and learning together.

More about Thea:

Thea Sheridan-Jonah

Thea Sheridan-Jonah is a Grade 12 student in Oakville Ontario. Thea is passionate about getting youth involved in church work, social justice, the environment and Affirming. Her home church is St. Paul’s United Church in Oakville, Ontario where she has served on various committees including co-chairing the Affirming committee since 2018.

Outside of her home church Thea has been involved in various UCC events such as attending GC43 as a youth delegate, and as a member of the Horseshoe Falls Regional Council executive. Thea can’t wait to share more about her experience with you soon.

What have you been up to? We want to hear all about it! It’s Affirming Ministry Annual Report 2020 Report time!

Rainbow Walk at Grace United Church in Barrie, ON

Spring  2021

This spring we celebrate over 242+ Affirming Ministries who continue to be Public, Intentional and Explicit in the welcome of 2SLGBTQ+ people!

COVID has created much change over the last year for congregations and Affirming faith communities across Canada.  We were delighted when ministries who were “in the process” and completed the Affirming Ministry program rose to the challenge of celebrating in the safest ways possible.  Many anniversaries, celebrations and P.I.E. Day events moved online to Zoom, Facebook and YouTube.  The creativity of these services and all the people involved with making meaningful services, has been inspirational!

Affirm United / S’affirmer Ensemble continues to work with national Regional Councils as they explore what it means to be Affirming in their transitioning entities. We are grateful to all Affirming Ministries for the continued commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The work of Affirm United’s Council continues to grow and we look forward to another Virtual Summer Conference in July, 2021. With thanks we continue to work this year with Ren Ito (General Council Office staff resource to AU/SE) who supports us in many ways.  

It is time once again to ask you to please submit your Annual Affirming Ministry Report and your updated contact information to Michele our Communications Coordinator no later than May 31, 2021

  • Affirming Ministries Report for 2020: Share what your Affirming Ministry program did in 2020 (events, programs, workshops, etc.), and tell us about your plans for 2021. You can submit the report about your Affirming activities as part of your church’s annual report OR as a standalone report written specifically for Affirm United.
     
  • Please send your report electronically if possible. Information received will be shared in a variety of ways, including with ministries that are in the Affirming process and/or looking for ideas or supportive contacts. Email the report to our Communications Coordinator, Michele at communications@ause.ca. If you can only submit your report in hard copy, mail it to: Affirm United / S’affirmer Ensemble, Attn: Annual Report, PO Box 57057, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 1A1.
     
  • Contact Info Update: Send your Affirming Ministry’s primary contact name and email address to the Communications Coordinator, Michele. This will help us update our database and website, as well as keep the Affirming Ministries list on the United Church of Canada’s website, up-to-date!
     
  • Share Photos and Videos! Photos and videos from workshops, worship, Pride events and more are always welcome. If you have photos and videos to share, please send them to communications@ause.ca.

It is always inspiring to hear what you are doing throughout the year. We will share news and stories received from Affirming Ministries via various communication tools (website, social media, eNewsletter). We encourage you to connect with other Affirming Ministries listed on the website and those ministries in your area that may be considering becoming an Affirming Ministry, to remind ourselves that “We are not alone, we live in God’s world…”

Thank you,

Linda Hutchinson

hutchinl@kingston.net

Liz Carter-Morgan

lizcartermorgan@gmail.com

Jackie Harper

affirmu.jackie@gmail.com

Affirming Leaders Day!

Join us from anywhere in the world for Affirming Leaders Day!
Affirming Leaders Day is a faith-based development & connection day for allied and LGBTQ2S+ folks
Featuring Civil Rights Activist Rev. James Lawson, Queer Singer/Songwriter Semler, and Pop Culture Critic/Scholar/Author Anthony Oliveira! 

When: Saturday, May 22, 2021, 10am-4:30pm MDT

Where: Zoom Webinar

Tickets: $15-$30. Every ticket type gives you access to ALL of the sessions. 

Peace and Protest: Creating Change with Love and Intention

We explore the ways that our faith calls us to bring justice, love, peace, and hope into the world.

This year we reflect on the ways in which our communities have been strained and constrained by the pandemic and the increasing polarization of an “us vs. them” mentality. How do we resist the urge to “other” others, while still standing our ground and working for justice?

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:

Rev. James Lawson Jr., Civil Rights Activist

Rev. James Lawson was instrumental in shaping America’s Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement. After incarceration for refusing to report to Korean War draft, he traveled to India to study Ghandi’s principles of nonviolence. After being introduced to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and moving to Nashville, he mentored a number of young students and future civil rights leaders at Vanderbilt, Fisk University, and other area schools in the tactics of nonviolent direct action. His students were instrumental in movements such as the 1963 March on Washington, the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, and The Freedom Rides, to name a few. Rev. Lawson moved to Los Angeles in 1975, where he was the pastor for 25 years. He continues to be a civil rights activist and teacher on non-violence.

Rev. Lawson will be speaking on our title theme, “Peace and Protest,” and we will have a Q&A with him after his talk.

LIVE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE:

Semler, Singer-Songwriter

Semler recently became the first openly queer artist to hit Number 1 on the iTunes Christian music charts with their EP, “Preacher’s Kid.” The project explores Semler’s experience growing up as a queer person of faith. Semler has been featured on NPR, The Washington Post, and Apple Radio. Preacher’s Kid was recorded independently by Semler on a USB mic, and received over a million streams in just a few months.

We will have a Live Performance from Semler along with a special Q&A!

IG: @gracebaldridge

IN DEFENSE OF BLASPHEMY – a talk with:

Anthony Oliveira, PhD, Author, Film Programmer, Pop Culture Critic

Anthony is an award-winning writer of prose fiction, graphic novels, essays, and journalism. He is also a recurring contributor to Marvel Comics, his work for which has won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book. He is the weekly host of The Devil’s Party, a podcast exploring the classics of Christian literature (including John Milton’s poetry and the Gospels) through a queer scholarly lens.

Twitter: @meakoopa

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Congratulations Woodcliff United in Calgary, AB on your Affirming Ministry! Let’s celebrate!

Woodcliff United Church – Calgary, Alberta

Affirming celebration for Woodcliff United Church

5010 Spruce Drive SW, Calgary AB  T3C 3B2

Planned for: Sunday May 16, 2021

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

Date: Sunday, May 16, 2021 

Time:  10 am (MDT)

Location:  Online Service accessed from Woodcliff UC website or Woodcliff UC YouTube channel

Website:   https://woodcliffunited.com/

Phone:  403-249-3121

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

Email for sending congratulations  office@woodcliffunited.com

Congratulations Runnymede United Church on becoming the newest Affirming Ministry in Canada!

Runnymede United Church, Toronto, ON

Affirming celebration for Runnymede United Church

432 Runnymede Road, Toronto ON M6S 2Y8

on Sunday April 25, 2021 at 1pm

All are welcome to a celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry for Runnymede United Church on Sunday April 25, 2021

Time: 1 pm

Location: YouTube

Website: https://www.runnymedeunited.org/

Phone: 416-767-6729

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Runnymede United Church through this private form or send an email directly to office@runnymedeunited.org

Congratulations Toronto East End United Regional Ministry on becoming Affirming!

East End United Church

An Affirming celebration is planned for Toronto East End United Regional Ministry:

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

Toronto East End United Regional Ministry

on Sunday April 18, 2021 Time 10:30 AM

Location: YouTube and Facebook Live

Website: https://eastendunited.ca/

Phone: (416) 463-2179

Please send a note of congratulations to the entire faith community of Toronto East End United Regional Ministry through this private form or email directly to office@eastendunited.ca:

P.I.E. Parade for 2021

All across Canada faith communities gathered together either virtually or safely physically distanced and celebrated P.I.E. Day 2021.

P.I.E. is a special day on or around March 14th each year that we can remind ourselves of the commitment we have have made to be Public, Intentional and Explicit in our welcome to 2SLGBTQIA+ folk of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Here are some of the highlights in song, photos, videos and some incredible fundraising efforts.

Thank you to everyone who participated and continues to enjoy P.I.E. everyday!!!

An Affirming Celebration in Pictures for Hinton United Church in Alberta!

Shining Waters Region Council celebrates being the first Regional Council to have permanent Affirming status!

David Hall of Silver Spire United Church and AU/SE Council member:

Happy P.I.E. Day from Grosvenor Park United Church

Photo Parade of P.I.E. Day 2021 Moments:

A P.I.E. inspired Song!

Here is a song written just days ago and his process, by John Oldham, songwriter (shared with permission):

WE ARE COVENANT PEOPLE

( An Affirming Song of Inclusion and Acceptance)

We are Covenant people , sharing both our joy and grief.

We welcome ev’ry person who ongs for peace and relief.

As we “affirm” each other with our varied gender, views (and our sexuality)

we witness to the wonder – it is loving that renews. (of our shared humanity.)

(we’re created to be free.)

Everyone is holy, of great value, beauty, worth,

all precious, blessed and treasured and right from their sacred birth.

Diversity enriches and variety declares

we are all one family as both peace and love are shared/

We are a community called to reach out and embrace

another on life’s journey who is blessed with gift of grace.

Together let us venture on in solidarity

as we work hard for justice and for truth and liberty/harmony.

Song notes:

Honoring Ronan, Spencer, niece Justine, nephew Robert, and…..

John Wesley Oldham; # 8899; Sun, March 14, 2021; Verses1,2 -Journal entry during 10 a.m. zoom Affirming worship; I noticed the word ‘Covenant’ on the screen at the beginning of worship. Opening comments by minister Dawn evoked the lines, 2,3,4 of verse one. The first two lines of verse two were written during the video in which I heard the words “everyone is holy” and “blessed.” During the story read by Richard the last two lines of verse two came through.

Verse 3 was written at 3.10-3.11 p.m. direct to computer screen while on a break from tidying the house and watching curling. I had heard Darlene in our discussion time say that our our church is “a community that embraces us all.”

The metre is 14 14 14 14 or 7777D The melody is like an olde English folk song. Sung with the Eagle Drum.

Word changes at about 10 p.m. while watching men’s curling…