National ecumenical consultation of affirming ministries, April 2019

Jordan Sullivan, is the Ministry Partnership Animator for the United Church of Canada, and a bridge builder between Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble and the wider United Church. He and AUSE co-chair Michiko Bown-Kai were involved with a recent ecumenical national consultation of Christian denominations about their work towards being truly LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit-welcoming.

He writes, “I am so very grateful for the courageous, faithful, and committed people involved in LGBTQIA2S+ Justice work among their respective faith communities across Canada.

On the evening of April 23 and all-day on April 24, twenty-six people from a wide variety of LGBTQIA2S+ Affirming faith-based groups met to participate in “The National Consultation of Affirming Ministries.” Participants shared experiences and work from over 13 different faith traditions, including: Anglican, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Evangelical Lutheran, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, Metropolitan Community Church, Mormon, Presbyterian, Quaker, Seventh-day Adventist, Unitarian, and United. Folks unable to attend, but who have expressed interest in being a part of the community, include Be in Christ (formerly Brethren in Christ), Mennonite Brethren, Vineyard, and Roman Catholic.

This one-day gathering was hosted by Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble and Generous Space Ministries, with funding from Embracing the Spirit, a program of The United Church of Canada, as well as from Affirm United and Generous Space Ministries.

Thanks to Two Spirit leadership from Evan Smith and Billy Gekas; Theological reflection from Robbie Walker, Charles Fensham, and Michael Blair; and Facilitator Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel. Rebecca is the Director of The Centre for Sustainable Justice. She facilitated our conversation and shared with us her vast experience in coalition building. Rebecca comes from the United Church of Christ in the United States.

New friendships were formed and new relationships were created as we worked together to support our respective work, to affirm God’s LGBTQIA2S+ children, and begin to move together to further the work of justice. A steering committee was formed at the end of the day to help hold us all accountable to our commitment to ecumenical coalition building in Canada.”