Open Hearts - Affirming Ministries
A few years ago the AUC Council voted to explore the possibility of becoming an Affirming Congregation within the United Church of Canada. This would mean declaring ourselves to be a congregation which is committed to inclusion and justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities—seeking also to live more fully into God’s way of welcome, love and justice for all creation.
Affirming ministries work in many different ways toward the healing and wholeness of creation, challenging bias and discrimination based on appearance, culture, class or age; working to end racism; promoting economic justice; increasing accessibility or caring for the planet. Affirming Ministries seek to go beyond issues of gender diversity and sexual orientation to work for justice and inclusion for all people.
Affirming Ministries provide information, acceptance, support, and justice-making for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their friends and families. These ministries declare, in words and actions, that God loves and accepts people of all orientations and they call upon the rest of the church to do the same.
The United Church of Canada officially endorses the Affirming Ministry Program and encourages its Ministries to do the same.
Through a process of discernment and reflection, Affirming Ministries discover what it means for them to be inclusive and justice-seeking. They prepare a statement of faith and vision that sets out their ongoing commitment to work for justice on issues of gender diversity and sexual orientation within their congregation, the wider church, and their community and to support and participate in the Affirming Ministry Program.
Please speak to Rev. Lorraine, or call (905-727-1935 ext.23) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The ‘Open Hearts’ resource is available to read on the AUC website.
Affirming Congregation Committee Members: Noah Comar, Victoria Kyriakides, Mary Munroe, Debbie Schieck, Brian Walter, Rev, Lorraine Newton-Comar and Rev. George Moore (Affirm representative).
We were all deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend, ally and committee member, Ivor Roberts—his commitment to the pathway towards inclusion and acceptance for LGBTQ2+ members was unwavering. We miss him terribly and bless his memory.
Affirming Vision Statement
On January 26, 2020, the congregation approved the Affirming Vision Statement as presented by the Affirming Congregation Committee. The final vote to become an Affirming Congregation has been delayed until we can meet in-person for the decision.
From The United Church of Canada...
Asian LGBTQI+ Pride Month Videos: For Pride Month, the United Church has produced three videos lifting up Asian LGBTQI+ voices from across the church. The playlist is available on our YouTube channel.
Noah Janosch Brown is a 20-year-old queer Black artist and one of the participants in the Young Black Scholars Program, part of the United Church's commitment to the International Decade for People of African Descent. Read the blog post about processing traumatic experiences through art and finding safe space to create work in a United Church basement.
On June 27, there will be a candlelight AIDS vigil hosted on the Indigenous Ministries Facebook page, and on June 28 folks can join a webinar intended to provide attendees with some of the basic knowledge of and vocabulary for building relationships with and among Two-Spirit people.
LifeSpeak’s June Campaign: LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit People and Mental Health
June is officially recognized as Pride month. It’s a time in which the LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit community is recognized and celebrated here in Canada and other regions. LifeSpeak’s campaign sets out to help us better understand the social and mental health considerations for these communities.
Check out these helpful videos which deal with key topics such as:
- Coming out as LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit
- Same sex couple-hood and parenthood
- The effect of homophobia on mental health
Be sure to join the “Ask the Expert” session on June 28 at noon ET as Michael Bach (Cornell Certified Diversity Professional, Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP), Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion) speaks on the topic, "Talking to Your Kids and Coworkers about the LGBTQIA+ Community." Learn more.
The French version will be on June 29 at noon ET, with Nadia Brabant. Find out more.
Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH) Gender Affirming Health Clinic!
What is the GAHC?
- Provides free primary care (ex. Hormone Replacement Therapy) and counselling services to trans and gender diverse people within York Region/South Simcoe
- Creates a safe and supportive space for gender diverse people to receive holistic and gender affirming care
- Eligibility includes: anyone who is 16 years+ who identifies as gender diverse, trans, non-binary, and/or questioning.
- No health card is required for direct services and we welcome supportive family and friends.
Where and When?
- Currently the GAHC is held at two locations:
- Aurora Office, 15150 Yonge Street, across from the library (Upper floor) - First Monday of the month 1:30 to 4:30pm
- Vaughan Office, 8271 Keele Street- Third Tuesday of the month 3:00 to 6:00pm
- Appointments can be made by calling Bev or Beccky at the Aurora office or Vivian at the Vaughan office
- Appointments and additional inquiries can also be forwarded to GAHC@cmha-yr.on.ca
- Self-Referrals are encouraged
- Michelle Hermans – Nurse Practitioner (GAHC/MOBYSS)
- Jessica Corbett – Counsellor (GAHC/MOBYSS)
- Jenny Haggart – Counsellor (GAHC/Youth Wellness)
See poster below for more information.
Egale’s vision is a Canada, and ultimately a world, without homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and all other forms of oppression so that every person can achieve their full potential, free from hatred and bias.
York Region Pride
Pflag York Region
Pflag is York Region’s LGBTQ2 support, resource and education network – bringing together all members of the community. We are a volunteer-led local registered charity servicing one of the fastest growing and multicultural regions nationwide.
Every day, our compassionate volunteers are contacted by frightened adolescents and by angry, fearful or confused parents and family members from all walks of life who have questions or concerns about sexual orientation or gender identity. Our dedicated volunteers are there for those in need when it seems no one else is!