Here’s an update on where things are at with the Affirming Ministry process at First United Church. We’re guessing some of you may have questions since the process was cut off and abruptly put on hold with the arrival of COVID-19.
If you’re anything like us, maybe the arrival of the pandemic and all the changes that have come with it have blurred your pre-COVID memories a bit too, so let’s travel back in time together for a moment, starting in the fall of 2019 ….
- The Affirming Ministry Committee began the official Affirming vote process and developed an Affirming Vision Statement and Affirming Action Plan in consultation with Council and the congregation over the course of the fall and early winter.
- At the Oct.19 service, Laura Budd shared her personal story and touched many hearts and minds.
- In November, upon our church’s invitation, the Chinook Gay-Straight Alliances began to hold their monthly Rainbow Coffeehouses for youth in our church.
- In early 2020, the Affirming Vision Statement and Action Plan were approved by Council and by Affirm United, and a date of March 22 was set for the Affirming vote.
- A workshop on Nonviolent Communication (NVC) was planned for April 5.
Then, when we were just a few days away from holding our vote on whether to officially become an Affirming Ministry, everything shut down across the province due to COVID-19. The vote was cancelled and the NVC workshop was cancelled, just like so much in our church and in our lives at that time. Life altered radically.
Since then, the Affirming Ministry Committee has continued to be active.
- In May, we joined with the Outreach Committee and distributed an email to the congregation listing some of the local non-profit groups supporting people dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and outlining ways to receive support or offer support, depending on each person’s situation at the time.
- On June 7, we held an online Pride service where four guest speakers (two from our own congregation – Janet and Deb – and two from our local community – Dawn and Jesse) shared their heartfelt stories with us with great courage and openness.
- In July, we sent a letter to our local MP, Jeremy Patzer, asking him to support Bill C-8 (re: the banning of conversion therapy). The letter was sent in partnership with Council and was signed by myself, Annette as our Minister, and Kevin Hanna as the Chair of Council.
That brings us to today. Saskatchewan has been slowly and carefully re-opening. The church has been slowly and carefully re-opening. Many of us are slowly and carefully “re-opening” as we figure out how to live our lives within this new reality. Many things that have been put on hold are now being looked at again, and one of those things within our church is the Affirming Ministry process.
As a first step in resuming this journey, the Affirming Ministry Committee invites you to watch this video in which we share some of what we’ve learned and why we feel strongly that it’s important for us to move forward together: see above video
The Affirming Ministry Committee, First United Church
Affirming Ministry cont’d – Themes from Our Journey Thus Far