You’re invited to join Affirm United as we gather online every other Tuesday night for a time of 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. Join us this fall as we talk about everything and the kitchen sink – our topics might be a bit unpredictable but it will certainly be fun!
September 22: Affirming Show & Tell
Join us September 22 as we kick off the Kitchen Sink Series with your hosts Michiko Bown-Kai and Jeffrey Dale. We will be hosting our first ever Affirming show & tell! Find an item that is part of your Affirming story and be ready to share the item and why you chose it in 1-2 minutes. An Affirming story is any experience you have had that has helped you learn or define for yourself your identity, sense of community, or understanding of Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ justice. Do you have a t-shirt from a special event? Do you have a keepsake from a date you went on? We can’t wait to fill the evening with wonder and appreciation!
Don’t give up pie for Lent! Announcing Affirming PIE Day 14 March 2019 and our new website and video!
What’s PIE? Public+Intentional+Explicit= PIE. These are the standards for a real and radical welcome for LGBTQIA2S+ people in our church. Draw the circle wide and join in! Host a story telling event complete with pie and join many others across the land and the church as we learn together how to offer this welcome. Co-hosted by Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and Affirming Connections. All traditions and backgrounds welcome: you do not need to be a United Church ministry or member to join the fun. All PIE stories are an important source of inspiration (and possibly nutrition).
Planning resources, full info, and event sign up and calendar: www.pieday.ca
Remember: this is all about you and your ministry! If you’re planning an event, we need to hear about it.
Our video to launch PIE Day and to give some tips of what Affirming looks and feel like is coming soon! Our hosts take us through a journey of pie and what PIE (Public, Intentional, and Explicit) can mean for you! You will have free access to the video by March 1 and can plan to show it at your PIE event or for any Affirming initiative.
Public. Intentional. Explicit. Those are the standards we hold ourselves and our welcome to when we become Affirming or affirming.
On International Pi Day 2019 (3.14- get it?) we invite you to serve up some pie and PIE in your ministry and community.
Get together and:
Show AUSE’s new video-to-be featuring your stories about being PIE.
Tell your own PIE stories: examples of your LGBTQ+ welcome that are and have been public, intentional, and explicit. Host a community open mic/ coffeehouse for all stories. Eat lots of delish church pie (and everything else you consider delicious). Together, spend, say, a half hour talking about how LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit rights and dignity could be advanced in your context and community.
Come up with some bite sized ideas and note them down for ongoing action. Fundraise/ awareness raise for your local Pride and LGBTQ groups. Put the proceeds wherever you want. Put in a good word for Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and Calgary’s awesome Affirming Connections, our partner.
Whatever you do: don’t give up PIE for Lent, hold the date, and watch www.ause.ca for more information and materials. Contact the communications coordinator at email@example.com with your ideas, questions, and recipes.
We’re delighted to announce that Royal York Road United Church will host the 2018 Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble annual conference July 13-15 in Toronto. We’ll gatheron Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and Anishinabek Territories; we look forward to creating a safer space and a deeply inclusive welcome for all.
AUSE also thanks Toronto Conference of the United Church for its generous contribution to staff support for this gathering. We’re deeply grateful to Affirming ministries like Royal York Road and Toronto Conference, and we hope our time together will be a chance for all to experience and learn from Affirming ministries across the land. As always, people of all identities are welcome, and we’re in an accessible space with public transit at the door.
Please watch this site, www.ause.ca for registration and details. Our annual conference: includes community, worship, learning, discussing, eating, and probably films and dancing too! All identities welcome. We’ll post registration and agenda links here when they’re ready. For now, please hold the date! And please share the invitation widely, as a PDF for printing, or as a JPG for social media and your newsletters (right click on the image above).
This weekend falls before the United Church’s national triennial meeting, General Council, and its public Festival of Faith in Oshawa, about an hour east. If you’re travelling to General Council, come early and join us. Or, stay on after for the Skylight Festival July 27-29 at Five Oaks near Paris ON.
Greetings from Aaron Miechkota, Coordinator of Iridesce: The Living Apology Project!
Here’s the latest news; for all of these updates, read more www.iridesce.ca
Stories of 1988. For some in the United Church the mention of this date is enough to silence a room, but for others it is the beginning of new conversations around acknowledgement and lament, apology and reconciliation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2) people.
Maureen (not her real name) remembers: “One of my longest standing friends, and her family, left a congregation and official board work because they could not stand the level of discourse from other board members and the minister at the time against the United Church decision… The tone that they heard coming from [church leadership] led them away from any sense of ‘Christian fellowship’ … the pain was real for the family and the reason for leaving was not discussed in the congregation even though the leadership was fully aware of the cause.” (Continue reading at https://www.iridesce.ca/news )
The Iridesce Questionnaire How was it for you in the decades leading up to our 1988 decision, and through “The Issue Years” (1988-1998)? Maybe you were a member or a church or ordered ministry, and needed to remain in the closet, were outed, or were persecuted. We need to hear these stories. For more thought-provoking questions to help you participate in this Project visit www.iridesce.ca/questions
Where is Iridesce going next? This season Iridesce plans to visit churches and communities of faith in the Maritimes (in October) and in British Columbia and the Yukon (in November). We welcome invitations to visit your community for early 2018. Please reach out to our coordinator to start a conversation about how a visit could help your community participate in this important project of our church, at livingapology(at)gmail(dot)com
Resources for your community Download worship services, prayers and many resources for your community (bulletin insert, poster, and letter for your minister or community). Visit www.iridesce.ca/resources or email our coordinator at livingapology(at)gmail(dot)com
Our big event, SpiritPride 2017 and the Affirm United Annual Conference, is just 3 weeks away, July 28 – 30, 2017! We’ll gather in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples including the Musqueam, the Squamish, and the Tsleil-Waututh Nations, as part of Pride Vancouver’s celebrations.
Some of you have already registered and we are looking forward to seeing you there! AUSE especially encourages Affirming ministries and those in the process to come and share your experiences, questions, and hopes.
For those still considering attending, here’s latest news about the event; we remind you that there’s a week left to register online at the early bird rate at www.spiritpride.org (last minute registrations will be accepted, as well as at the door). On the SpiritPride website there’s also a contact for billets, should accommodation be a barrier for you or your family or friends.
Read on for exciting program updates! Note that AUSE’s annual meeting will be held Friday afternoon– a break from our usual timing.
SpiritPride and Affirm United /S’affirmer Ensemble will welcome Colombian global partner Paola Márquez to their gathering July 28-30 in Vancouver. Partnerships with global LGBTQ+ communities and allies is a crucial part of our journey towards dignity, equity, and rights.
Paola is coordinator of volunteers for the Colombian Methodist Church in Medellín, Colombia. This work has given her opportunities to work with organized groups of visitors from North America who assist in projects in Colombia. She is also a law student at the Atlantic University in Barranquilla on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Her mother, who she also works alongside, is a Methodist pastor in the same city. Paola has worked since she was 14, and since the age of 17, has been her family’s main income-earner. In the local church, she has begun a small ministry for LGBTQ people.
Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble is pleased to announce that it has hired Aaron Miechkota as the new coordinator for *IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project*. AUSE thanks the United Church for its funding of this position and looks forward to collaborating on this important work towards a Living Apology to gender- and sexually-diverse communities.
Aaron is currently studying toward ordained ministry and brings a background in creative communications to her role. Aaron is interested in the theology of friendship with people and the Earth.
Friends, please help Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and St Andrew‘s-Wesley United Church promote our July 28-30 shared conference in Vancouver! Below are a poster and business cards we ask you to share and print; feel free to save the JPG of the poster and use it widely on social media and in your newsletters.
The Bay of Quinte Conference Action group ( 10 volunteers) has been holding 1 – 2 workshops a year since 2008, when there was one Affirming Ministry in the Conference. Currently there are 10 Affirming Ministries – 8 congregations, 1 Presbytery, and Conference itself, with 2 more congregations certified, plus a presbytery, the Conference UCW executive and 10 more congregations formally in process. Upon request, Committee members also personally meet with and support any prospective group within the Conference borders. Contact Jim MacGregor at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.