Affirm

AFFIRMING AT CANADIAN MEMORIAL UNITED CHURCH

In Spring 2017 Canadian Memorial began the United Church of Canada’s Affirming Ministries process. For the next year, we will engage in reflection and education on what it means to be fully inclusive of LGBTQ2SIA+ people. (Wondering what that means? Check out the ABCs of LGBTQ2SIA+)

We will explore and learn through the coming year during Sunday worship, film nights, storytelling circles, workshops, art, and events in the wider community related to the Affirm process. The main resource guiding the process is the Open Hearts document developed by Affirm United.  Read Affirm United’s annual report here.

Why being Affirming makes a difference

Hillhurst United, Calgary AB: Affirming Church, Affirming Ministry: https://vimeo.com/138491906

Riverside United Church, London ON: Being an Affirming church: https://youtu.be/lcx6cImMlhY

Our draft process for the year and upcoming events are listed below.

What is Affirming?  (Find out about what being Affirming means)
Why Affirming? (Discover the differences between welcoming and affirming)
Past Events 
(Read about our past  Affirming events/activities)
Resources
(A growing list of resources for learning about the LGBTQ2SIA+ community including differences between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression & sexual orientation, scripture and sexuality, allyship and more) 

Draft Outline of CMUC’s Affirming Process for June 2017-2018

September  2017 – Storytelling Circles (personal stories of how issues of sexual orientation and/or gender identity have touched your life)

October/November 2017 – Shower of Stoles art exhibit at the Centre for Peace

November  2017 – Theological exploration of Biblical scriptures used to discriminate, also known as the “clobber passages” or “terror texts” / Film night

January/February 2018 –
– Educational workshop around gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, biological sex
– Exploring what would it mean for CMUC to be affirming?

March/April 2018 – Visioning for Affirming (vision statement/action plan)

June 2018 – Congregational vote

Interwoven through this time:
  -Publicizing events related to LGBTQ issues and awareness
  -Guest preachers
  -Testimony from congregation once every month/2 months during September – May
  -Film nights
– Monthly display table at coffee hour with resources, upcoming events, information

If you have any questions, ideas for events, connections, or would like to participate in helping host events/staff the display table/etc, please contact Toni Pieroni (tonip@telus.net) or Emily Simpson (emilyasimpson@gmail.com)

For more information on the Affirming process, check out our links below, especially our Resources page which is regularly updated.

Upcoming Events:

March 2018

March 20 – ?   Love, Simon    in Vancouver theatres
Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.  Based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

April 2018
April 8-14: Reel 2 Reel International Youth Film Festival, VIFF Vancity Theatre
Check out No Bully, No Problem (Friday April 13), Princess Cyd (14A, Friday April 13) and High Fantasy (14A, Saturday April 14) for some great shorts and full length films  with themes of gender, identity and sexual orientation.
April 27: Spring Gaberet – for LGBTQ2SIA  youth ages 14-25
6-9pm, 5th Floor of YMCA, Burrard St.
It’s spring! It’s showtime! Join us for an evening of youth storytelling, poetry, songs, dancing, and more! Come and hang out, have some refreshments, take a photo with new and old friends, and enjoy live performances from your fellow Gabbers!
April 29: Affirming Mission Statement & Action Plan Visioning Session
12 – 3 pm.  CMUC Sanctuary
Part of the Affirming process is to create language for the mission statement or vision statement that explicitly states the inclusion and affirmation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Another key part of the Affirming process is creating an action plan that demonstrates how the congregation will live out its commitment to justice seeking for the LGBTQ2SIA community and/or other marginalized groups in the upcoming year(s). Please join us to be part of this intentional and exciting process.
Light lunch provided so please sign up in the office by April 25th.
May 2018

May 4: An Indigenous Transgender Journey Through Colonialism – Jack Saddleback   SFU Harbour Centre, 6-9pm
Jack is a Cree Two-Spirit Transman and activist who captivates his audience by sharing his message of Embracing Two Spirits, Conquering Mental Health, and Finding One’s Identity.

May 23: LGBTQ2SIA Education/ Being an Ally  Workshop Part 2
6:30-9:30 pm, CMUC Sanctuary
Continuing our exciting and challenging work with Anna White from February of this year, we will continue to focus on enhancing our knowledge around gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.  We will look at ways to  unpack the desire to focus on ‘sameness’ and sentiments like ‘it doesn’t matter, it shouldn’t matter’; ways to unpack heteronormativity and cis-sexism and all the ways that looks in action (ie: coffee hour convos and questions and norms); and talk more deeply about what allyship looks like in action.  All are welcome to join us even if you missed the first workshop.