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Affirming ministries-a decade ago

Throwback Thursday/ Throwback Anyday: Affirming ministries a decade ago, and a lot of change since. At times it feels like the church is making slow progress at becoming truly LGBTQ+ welcoming. While AUSE is edging towards 200 Affirming ministries, it’s too easy to look at the United Church’s roughly 3,000 ministries and courts and focus only on how far we have to go. But, look at this Observer story from a decade ago for some context. Huron Shores United Church, Grand Bend ON, at their Affirming celebration in September 2017– one of over 30 new ministries welcomed to the [...]

By | 2018-01-07T21:20:41+00:00 December 26th, 2017|Affirming Ministries in Action, News & Events|0 Comments

Annual conference/ SpiritPride 2017 report

“…God is queer. Jesus is queer. The Gospel is queer…. May we step proudly into our place at the table of God and claim that space, saying boldly and proudly, “we shall not be moved”. -Brandan Robertson. The Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble network is a far-flung family, extending coast to coast to coast, and including kin and allies in many countries. Every year we have a chance to gather face to face, and in 2017 we were hosted by St Andrew’s Wesley United in Vancouver as part of their annual SpiritPride event. Many thanks to the congregation and the planning [...]

By | 2018-01-07T21:34:35+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Annual Conference & AGM, News & Events, News Bulletins|0 Comments

Iridesce: stories, questionnaire, resources, visits

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 Downloadable Iridesce poster; see Resources at 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 [...]

From Hate to Hope: New prayer, and reflection on intersecting identities

Over the summer, the White supremacist march and violence in Charlottesville, VA reminded us that our struggles against violent discrimination are inseparable. When people of colour and Indigenous people, of all genders and sexualities, are targeted for who they are, what should the response of an LGBTQQIA+ and Two Spirit movement like ours be? How do we name and face White privilege and racism within our own movement and communities? A number of communities held anti-racism rallies, and in Edmonton the Hate 2 Hope rally asked AUSE member Gary Simpson to offer a prayer. He has generously shared the prayer [...]

By | 2018-01-08T16:54:03+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Affirming Ministries in Action, News & Events, News Bulletins|0 Comments

Action to support Rev LIM Borah and the Sumdol Hyanglin congregation, South Korea

In past newsletters we’ve written about the Sumdol Hyanglin,  the only “out” LGBTQIA+ affirming congregation in the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, one of the United Church of Canada’s oldest and closest partner churches. AUSE is fortunate to have a number of members who connect regularly with this courageous congregation. This summer Toronto Conference, which is newly Affirming, hosted a public event with Sumdol Hyanglin members and their pastor, Rev. LIM Borah. Now Rev. Borah and the congregation face a new struggle, as attempts are being made to declare her ministry heretical. An action addressed to the World [...]

By | 2018-01-07T20:35:32+00:00 September 11th, 2017|News & Events, News Bulletins, Take action, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Loving responses to the hateful Nashville Statement

In late August, a broad group of pastors in the US issued a transphobic and homophobic “Nashville Statement” condemning gender and sexual diversity in God’s name. No one knows what the special occasion was, and the statement was nothing new, though none the less hateful and damaging. Immediate opposition was sparked; this article names but a few examples and adds AUSE’s own comments. […]

By | 2017-09-11T18:21:42+00:00 September 11th, 2017|News & Events, News Bulletins, Take action, Uncategorized|0 Comments

SpiritPride 2017- program updates

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 [...]

AUSE welcomes Colombian partner to 2017 annual conference

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 [...]

By | 2018-01-08T16:57:46+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Annual Conference & AGM, AU/SE Workshops, News & Events|1 Comment

Kamloops United: A public, intentional, explicit welcome

Kamloops United Church in BC has been an Affirming ministry for decades. Lately they've put energy into creatively renewing that commitment, in part by focusing on how to be out, proud, and present in the wider community. Have a look at their invitation to the congregation to be present at Kamloops Pride 2017. As Affirming committee member Christine Dolson reminds the congregation, "Most congregations do their best to be welcoming, but being affirming goes deeper and is public, intentional, and explicit, in its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Being affirming is about radical hospitality, about making sure that everyone finds [...]

By | 2018-01-08T17:00:21+00:00 June 30th, 2017|Affirming Ministries in Action, News & Events|0 Comments

A prayer for Pride month-June 2017

(Also available on the United Church of Canada website.) A prayer by Alydia Smith for Pride month, June 2017. Constant Friend, because People of every sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity have the right to live with dignity and without persecution or discrimination, we Remember in our prayers: […]

By | 2018-01-08T17:02:43+00:00 June 9th, 2017|Iridesce/ Living Apology project|0 Comments