Past Events

June 25, 2017
We had a great kick-off to the Affirming process at CMUC! About 60 people gathered in the great hall after church. We opened with prayer and then covered the basics of what the Affirm process entails,  what Affirming ministries are/do, and the differences between “welcoming” and “affirming”. After watching video clips of two Affirming congregations (one from Edmonton and one from Vancouver), we broke into small groups to discuss  “What surprised or touched you in the film?” and “What did you discover about what it means to be affirming”.  We then heard from Doug Jameson, our guest speaker, on the importance of the Affirm process and status. We reformed our small groups to  discuss on our hopes and fears or concerns for the process.  Some of the threads of conversation captured in the groups’ notes are collected here: summary .  We ended by sharing the draft of our journey in the Affirming process over the next year and closed with a prayer from the Open Hearts resource of Affirm United.

September – October: Storytelling Circles (Sept 20, 24, 27, Oct 1, 6)

Almost 50 people participated in the 5 storytelling circles hosted on Sundays after church, Wednesday evenings and one Friday evening with the youth group. People came to share stories, to be curious and learn, to listen wholeheartedly, or to see why we even needed these circles. In every circle, we were gifted by stories from people’s lives of how issues of sexual orientation or gender identity had impacted them. Stories were shared that had never been told before to others because of a lack of a safe spaces. There were stories that highlighted how much more work is to be done in being an inclusive denomination and society. “It’s [the Affirming process] opened my eyes to the cost of assumptions and categories.” There were stories that celebrated the progress we’ve made as a society and as a church in affirming the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity we are blessed with. We talked about the human commonality of “We all want to be loved, we all want to be known”.  The circles were a reminder that we, at CMUC, can be a place of safety for people and that we can help create the cultural shift in the larger world – that this isn’t just about CMUC.  It’s about us coming out as a congregation.  

November 1:  For the Bible Tells Me So , 7pm  (CMUC Fireside Room)
About 17 people gathered to watch this documentary that explores how spirituality and faith impacted each of 5 families with children who cam out as gay or lesbian.  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.  Afterward we shared in a group discussion.

Some were shocked by the cruelty and inhumanity of how supposedly religious people treated LGBTQ people – how destructive, frightening and aggressive the fear of others can lead people to behave.  Others felt the hopefulness of the stories of parents had journeyed to become social justice advocates for LGBTQ people, of parents who were thoughtful enough to question what they had been taught by church in their struggle to love and accept their children. Some mentioned feeling privileged in being raised in the United Church and never having to confront this type of exclusion or hatred of LGBTQ people. We also discussed how the film reaffirmed the importance of having to think critically about what the Bible says and be knowledgeable of the context of the stories.

This film is available through the Vancouver Public Library or on youtube.

Also suggested to watch is Fish Out Of Water which covers similar themes of scripture and sexuality.

November 3: Youth Justice Series: Gender 101, 6-8:30 pm, St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church Salons

The Justice Series for United Church youth aged 12-17 continues.  Share a meal together, then launch into exploring terminology and teachings relating to the LGBTQ2S+ community and discover a life changing approach for becoming effective allies.  Facilitated by Anna White.

 

TESTIMONIES/SERMONS LINKED TO AFFIRMING PROCESS

June: Interview with Danica  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV1M-rFbw6w
August: Sermon by Lonnie & Hannes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isXQOn60IO0
September: Testimony by Emily https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isXQOn60IO0