On Sunday, Leaside celebrated two years as an affirming congregation. We had the opportunity to think about the question “What does it mean for you to be a part of an affirming congregation?”Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble is the organization within the church that recognizes affirming ministries. In order to be recognized as an affirming ministry, it is necessary to take part in an intentional learning and discussion process, to create affirming policies, and to publically celebrate being affirming. As Leaside United Church, we recognize that being affirming is not a one time decision, but an ongoing process. Since becoming an affirming congregation, we have invited guest speakers, had a movie night, and ran a Question Box to continue our ongoing education. We also have rainbow flags visible on our outdoor sign, our website and social media, our bulletin, and in our sanctuary.
As of the end of 2017, there were 199 affirming ministries, with another 120 ministries in the affirming process. There are currently approximately 3000 ministries in the United Church of Canada. The number of new affirming ministries has been increasing year by year. In 2007, there were 39 affirming ministries total (31 of them congregations). 2016 – the year that Leaside United Church became an affirming ministry – saw 26 new ministries. 2017 had 35 new affirming ministries. According to the listof affirming ministries on the Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble website, Leaside is one of 19 affirming congregations in Toronto.
Continue reading “Emily’s Weekday Wonderings – An Affirming Congregation”
Here are a few ways that faith communities are responding to Monday’s events:
Musicians from faith communities are signing up to play music along Yonge St. for the next 25 days, starting at 1:30pm and playing for 25 minutes – “Turning our cries of sorrow into songs of healing.” This will most frequently be at Olive Park Square (Yonge-Finch).
Various faith communities in the Willowdale and North York areas, as well as across the city, have opened their doors yesterday and today for times of vigil, candle lighting, pastoral care, and prayer.
The City has planned an Interfaith Peace Service Sunday evening, 7 pm April 29 at Mel Lastman Square.
LEASIDE UNITED CHURCH Sanctuary Open Today for Prayers, Candle Lighting & Reflection
In response to yesterday’s events in North York, during this difficult time our sanctuary will be open today, Tuesday April 24th from 12:00pm-6:00pm for prayer, candle lighting & quiet reflection. Our Minister Rev. Emily Gordon will be available for you to come with your thoughts and prayers. You are welcome and not alone.
With many blessings,
Leaside United Church
822 Millwood Road (at McRae) | (416) 425-1253
This Sunday we have the opportunity to celebrate two years as an officially welcoming and affirming congregation. Some of you might wonder whether this matters, and I’m sure for some people it does not have a direct impact. We have, however, had more than one couple reach out to our congregation interested in marriage specifically because of our affirming status. Our congregation offered a space that was safe, or that fit with their own personal values and the ones they wanted associated with their marriage.
Being an affirming congregation is an intentional welcome to everyone who is a part of the LGTBQ+ community, and this matters because the church has a long history (and in many places not just history) of excluding and condemning people for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Given this context, we can’t expect anyone who isn’t part of our community already to know that we would not be the same – unless we tell them directly. And, whether or not we ourselves or people we know are a part of the LGTBQ+ community, being an affirming congregation means that we are ourselves working to become an instance of sacred community, a place where the divine in all people is not just permitted but embraced.
That’s my sermon, because on Sunday you won’t be hearing me preach! Instead, we’ll hear people from our congregation responding to the question: “What does it mean for you to be part of an affirming congregation?” I look forward to hearing the short reflections along with you.
With many blessings, Rev. Emily Gordon
In the news!
A great article from Leaside Life about the TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization and the English conversation program they offer to people new to Toronto. Many volunteers from Leaside United Church participate in this outreach program each week.
The universal language of food