If you’re a regular Affirm newsletter or social media reader, you may have seen our links to Rainbow Railroad and other groups who work with the Canadian government’s pilot project for LGBTQ+ refugee sponsorship. Did you know the United Church of Canada is one of the few Sponsorship Agreement Holders within the LGBTQ refugee program? And that there are more people seeking refuge than there are sponsors? At the February 2017 national Council meeting, United Church of Canada Refugee Program staff Khwaka Kukubo and Ammar Youzbashi took the time to explain this branch of sponsorship to Council. They made it [...]
On behalf of our membership and the Canada-wide network of Affirming ministries, the Council of Affirm United/ S'affirmer Ensemble expresses its deep sorrow regarding the events of this weekend that have targeted our Muslim siblings. We stand in solidarity with our queer and trans Muslim siblings and all Muslim communities. We mourn the dead, pray for their families and the injured, and commit to speaking and acting against Islamophobia and other forms of racist scapegoating and stereotyping. As LGBTTQQIA+ and Two Spirit communities, we have experienced too often the kind of divisive, violent hate exemplified by the terrorist attack in [...]
McDougall United Church in Calgary joined that city’s growing Affirming family in December 2016. Here at AUSE we’re often asked what the Affirming process looks and feels like.So McDougall kindly shared the details of their journey. May it inspire you and your ministry. As the writer, chairperson Shirley Wilding notes, “It has been an exciting and rewarding journey to become part of an Affirming Ministry and to be recognized as a Standing Committee of our church Council. We know the real work of being affirming is just beginning, and we welcome the challenge and the reward!” Although our journey to [...]
Are Pride parades needed anymore? And do churches need to be present? McKillop United Church in Lethbridge AB found an answer when they participated in the parade, camera in hand, and asked community members what they thought. Have a look at the results. (The answer to both questions? YES.) Members of Lethbridge Pride thank McKillop for its years of support (2014).
(Another story in our series featuring the life-giving work of Affirming ministries.) For the past four years, First-St. Andrew’s United Church in London, Ontario has been in partnership with the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) for some of their outreach projects. One of these projects has involved our Knit Wit group knitting red scarves for RHAC’s public awareness program. Red scarves knitted at First-St Andrew’s ready for blessing in the sanctuary. […]
Many people assume urban churches are more likely to become Affirming. But in recent years, at least half of the ministries joining the Affirming process are in small towns. And their presence in both their communities and the Affirming process has a strong impact; they’re breaking stereotypes, and changing our Affirming process for the better. Here Rev. David Lander describes Castleton-Grafton pastoral charge’s journey, outlining motivation, process, congregational culture, theology, and overcoming fears. Read on to be inspired. Motivation Over the last number of years, many United Church congregations have toyed with the idea of becoming Affirming. Most congregations want [...]
In November, Moderator Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell and Rev. Michael Blair, Executive Minister for the Church in Mission unit, visited Jakarta, Indonesia at the invitation of its theological seminary. Jakarta Theological Seminary has committed itself to a yearly focus on LGBTQI inclusion, despite the challenge this creates in their context. This year’s conference also included the annual gathering of Asian Affirming and open churches. In this spirit, we include this post as part of our Affirming Ministries in Action series. (And draw attention to the t-shirt she’s wearing.) […]
Karina Schumacher, a German advocate from the Ecumenical Mission Service, interviews Rev. LIM Bora, pastor of Hyanglin Seomdol congregation in Seoul, South Korea. Hyanglin Seomdol means “stepping stone”. Since 2007, Rev. Lim and the congregation have been campaigning for the rights of sexual minorities. Earlier in 2016 we featured the congregation and their witness at Seoul Pride. […]
When we here at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church in Scarborough ON decided to become an Affirming church, we asked ourselves: Now that we ARE an Affirming church, how will we live that commitment out as a congregation… What can we do to serve this community? […]
Affirm United/ S’affirmer Ensemble is delighted to announce that our 2017 annual conference will be shared in partnership with St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church and its wonderful Spirit Pride conference. The conference will be held July 28-30 in Vancouver, on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh unceded traditional territories. Spirit Pride precedes Vancouver Pride, which takes place over the August long weekend. More information will follow as planning gets underway. For now: save the date!