How to celebrate your Affirmaversary: St Albert United, AB

In October 2016 St. Albert United Church in Saint Albert, Alberta decided to celebrate the anniversary of becoming Affirming by welcoming the whole community—and supporting a new generation of LGBTQ and Two-Spirit leadership.

Camp fYrefly YEG with the University of Alberta, ISMSS and Calgary Sexual Health Centre will screen their documentary film “Over The Rainbow”; it premiered at the Calgary Fairy Tales Film Festival last May, as well as The Banff Centre for the Performing arts. It’s also available for screening by other Affirming ministries. Have a look at the trailer: Continue reading “How to celebrate your Affirmaversary: St Albert United, AB”

Kamloops United Church: Twenty years of being out and public

Kamloops United in Kamloops, BC has been an Affirming ministry for twenty years. They became Affirming long before equal marriage was obtained, and long before trans* activists and allies brought us much closer to full recognition of trans* human rights. They write,

pride-march-at-thompson-rivers-university-kamloops-uc-reduced-size“We are feeling excited and optimistic about the renewed energy at Kamloops United Church to live more fully into our obligations and privilege of being an Affirming congregation, and of being a member of Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble.

Since celebrating the 20th anniversary of becoming a member of Affirm United on May 12, Kamloops United Church, Centre for Community and Spiritual Discovery, has hosted the multi-faith community vigil for Orlando in June, and we have been offering regular meeting space for the board of Kamloops Pride. Just recently, we hung a beautiful new AUSE logo banner on the brick cornerpiece on the exterior of our building.

On Wednesday September 28, for the second year, we participated in the 5th annual Thompson Rivers University Student Union Pride Parade. A baker’s dozen of KUC folk carried our banner and signs, and participated in the tabling afterwards. Among our handouts at TRU were invitations to a pride-march-at-thompson-rivers-university-kamloops-uc-3-copyspecial Affirming and Welcoming Sunday on October 16.

We. Are. An. Affirming. Church.”

Positive space and GSAs= a much deserved youth award

(Note: Port Nelson United is currently renewing its Affirming process, and sent us this great example of the kind of public witness offered by ministries in the process. Your Affirming process can be a public witness too!)

Port Nelson youth award recipientsWhen the adjudication committee at Port Nelson United Church in Burlington, Ontario met last May to consider applications for the annual Youth Award, they knew the job would be challenging. Young people in their final year of high school from every segment of Halton Region had applied for the $1000 scholarship. The award honours leadership in promoting inclusion, with a special emphasis on the needs and concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer individuals. (Right: Award recipients Colleen and Tyler.)

Continue reading “Positive space and GSAs= a much deserved youth award”

Moderator’s sermon: annual conference 2016

This sermon was offered by United Church of Canada Moderator Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell at the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble annual conference closing worship, 24 July 2016, Glebe-St James Unitclosing-worship-baby-and-moded Church, Ottawa/ unceded Algonquin territory.

The Moderator does not work from a printed text when she speaks. These are her expanded notes, and we thank her for sharing these with us at AU/SE’s request. (Photo: Ella listening, or not, to the sermon.)


Text: 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

In Christ, God has reconciled humanity to God.

This suggests that our relationship with God must have been broken. How? Continue reading “Moderator’s sermon: annual conference 2016”

Quotes and food for thought: 2016 AU/SE annual conference

Food for thought: quotes from the annual conference

Many words of challenge, wisdom, and Good News were shared at the Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble 2016 annual conference. Many more could be added. If you encountered some thoughts, prayers, or words that moved you, send them to communications(at)ause(dot)ca and we’ll include them in a future newsletter.


“You need to know that your work saves lives. Faith and the LGBT communities have been divorced for far too long. It’s time to end this separation.” — Jeremy Dias,
Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity

Continue reading “Quotes and food for thought: 2016 AU/SE annual conference”

Annual conference 2016: heartfelt thank yous

Annual conference 2016: over 100 attendees; global partners; theatre, worship, song, words of challenge and affirmation

Our 2016 annual conference in Ottawa is now complete! We welcomed over 100 attendees and global partners; we shared in theatre, worship, song, workshops, and words of challenge and affirmation.


Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble offers profound gratitude to the Ottawa annual conference planning team. From the details of homemade muffins to the big picture of an integrated and thoughtful theme on trans* identities and rights, you offered us a safe, questioning, sacred space. Your hard work and generous spirits created a “kairos” moment for our movement, and we are deeply grateful for your months and months of labour and planning. Continue reading “Annual conference 2016: heartfelt thank yous”

Affirming annual award: Honouring Jordan Sullivan

Every year, Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble offers a volunteer award or Affirming ministry award to an individual and/ or ministry who have offered exceptional inspiration and energy to the difficult work of widening radical inclusion.
We were honoured to present the 2016 individual award to Jordan Sullivan at our 2016 conference at Glebe-St James United Church in Ottawa. Jordan is the Ministry Partnership Animator at the General Council office of the United Church of Canada. He connects with a very wide range of diverse communities and brings to those relationships both a love of endless details and a deep respect for all identities and all stories.
Continue reading “Affirming annual award: Honouring Jordan Sullivan”

Highlights from Affirming ministries, 2015-2016

Every year, Affirming ministries are asked to give a short annual report. Jordan Sullivan, Ministry Partnership Animator, and LGBTQ+ Justice at the General Council office, takes on the enormous task of compiling highlights. Many thanks to Jordan and to all the ministries who reported for sharing your stories and inspiring us. Please take a moment to look at these hope-filled stories, and feel free to share them in other publications. 
Continue reading “Highlights from Affirming ministries, 2015-2016”