On Sunday, March 12, 2023 we marked the first anniversary of First United Church becoming an Affirming Ministry. Why choose PIE Day for our celebration? Public, Intentional, Explicit – those are the standards we hold ourselves and our welcome to when we seek into being affirming, welcoming and inclusive people and communities. It was a significant day for the congregation who had voted overwhelmingly in Nov. 2021 to take this step.
After a wonderful service, which included a humorous sketch with Melanie Davis, Stacie Noble-Wiebe and Janet Keene reminding us what PIE stands for – Public, Intentional, Explicit – we enjoyed fellowship and pie served by members of the Affirming Ministry Working Group, who organized the celebration.
The pictures below show how much appreciated this event was, both for the message and music of the service, as well as the delicious pies served at coffee time. To watch please see below:
First United Church Becomes Affirming
First United Church in Swift Current is excited to let the community know that we have recently become an Affirming Ministry! The Affirming process at First United Church has been a journey of exploration, education, and action which has centered around increasing our congregation’s awareness of oppression and marginalization, power and privilege, and equity and social justice.
The Affirming Ministries Program is offered through Affirm United (AU), a partner of the United Church of Canada. Ministries are invited to enter a process to become Affirming, with the goal of publicly, intentionally, and explicitly welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. First United Church has embraced that goal while also expanding our vision to include explicitly welcoming people across a wide range of groups who experience marginalization in our society.
Through information, personal stories, and reflections that have been woven into worship services, educational sessions, and congregational emails, First United’s Affirming process has fostered increased awareness and understanding across a variety of topics. These include: differing abilities, accessibility, power and privilege, stereotyping and prejudice, sexual orientation, gender identity, ageism, poverty, climate change, racial justice, and Truth and Reconciliation. In addition to our educational focus, we have been building relationships with groups representing marginalized people within our community, and we are very grateful for those connections.
First United’s Affirming Ministry Working Group beside the church’s new Affirm United sign.
As the final step in the process, on November 28, 2021, First United Church held a congregational meeting via Zoom to vote on officially becoming an Affirming Ministry. The vote was based on an Affirming Vision Statement and Affirming Action Plan which you can check out on the Affirming Ministry page on First United’s website (www.firstunitedsc.ca). Turnout to the meeting was strong and the motion passed with 98% of votes in favour!
On Feb 6, 2022, First United Church held an Affirming Ministry Celebration service via Zoom. Speakers representing a variety of groups and movements shared personal reflections on what it means to them to have First United become an Affirming Ministry. We invite you to view the recording of the celebration on the First United Church website (https://firstunitedsc.ca/recorded-worship-services/).
First United Church is excited about where we have been on our Affirming journey thus far and excited about the possibilities of where we might head next. Being an Affirming Ministry is an ongoing, ever-changing, transformative process, not a destination that we will someday reach, and we feel blessed to be exploring this process here in Swift Current.
Speakers and symbols from the Affirming Ministry Celebration service on February 6, 2022
First United’s Affirming Ministry Vote was held on Sunday, November 28th over Zoom
Motion “That First United Church become an Affirming Ministry based on the Affirming Vision Statement and Affirming Action Plan that have been presented.” Janet Keene/Sharon Veer. Carried (98%)
On Sunday, February 6th at 10:30 a.m. we celebrated this amazing step forward in our journey to become a community where all people are welcomed and valued in a very special worship service. We are very excited to move forward with living into the Affirming Vision Statement and Action Plan.
(NOTE: The Affirming Ministry Committee developed the Affirming Vision Statement and Affirming Action Plan in consultation with Council and the congregation over the course of the fall and early winter of 2019. In early 2020, they were both officially approved by Council and by Affirm United.)
If you have questions or comments, please share them with us by:
· Contacting one of our committee members: Stacie Noble-Wiebe (Chair), Annette Taylor, Deb Fletcher, and Sharon Veer.
· Emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome your input! Your voice matters!