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 LGBTQ+ people. (Wondering what LGBTQ+ means? Check out this ABCs of LGBTQ+)
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 for guiding the process is the Open Hearts document developed by Affirm United. Read Affirm United’s annual report here.
Draft Outline of CMUC’s Affirming Process presented at June 2017 kick-off event
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 2018 – 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
-Testimony from congregation September – May (idea stage, not finalized
– 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emily Simpson (email@example.com)
For more information on the Affirming process, check out our links below. Upcoming events are listed after.
October 8 – November 26: Shower of Stoles Exhibit in the Centre for Peace
A display of 15 stoles from the Shower of Stoles collection will be up on the walls of the ground floor of the Centre for Peace. “The Shower of Stoles is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. These religious leaders have served in thirty-two denominations and faith traditions, in six countries, and on three continents. Each stole contains the story of a GLBT person who is active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator, or active layperson. This extraordinary collection celebrates the gifts of GLBT persons who serve God in countless ways, while also lifting up those who have been excluded from service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The collection bears witness to the huge loss of leadership that the church has brought upon itself because of its own unjust policies.”
See more of the entire collection here.
The Story of the Shower of Stoles
November 1: For the Bible Tells Me So , 7pm (CMUC Fireside Room)
Co-hosted with Cinema Sofia. Join us to watch this documentary film that explores the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. We meet five Christian families, each with a gay or lesbian child. Parents talk about their marriages and church-going, their children’s childhood and coming out, their reactions, and changes over time. The stories told by these nine parents and four adult children alternate with talking heads – Protestant and Jewish theologians – and with film clips of fundamentalist preachers and pundits and news clips of people in the street. They discuss scripture and biblical scholarship. A thesis of the film is that much of Christianity’s homophobia represents a misreading of scripture, a denial of science, and an embrace of quack psychology. It will also inform our learning of why the Affirming process is still important today. The film will be followed by group discussion.
November 19: Transgender Day of Remembrance, CMUC worship
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is November 20. “It was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.” https://www.glaad.org/tdor
November 26: Bishop Yvette Flunder (CMUC) – Worship Service & Chat After
Bishop Flunder is Founder and Senior Pastor at City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, CA. She is also Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders. Founded in 2000, the overriding purpose of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries is to support religious teachers and laity in moving towards a theology of radical inclusivity which, by its very nature, requires an equally radical social ministry, reaching to the furthest margins of society to serve all in need without prejudice and discrimination.