The Affirming Ministry Journey at First United Church Thus Far
· May 26, 2016 – Council decides to begin the Affirming Ministry process.
· Oct. 2, 2016 – Circle conversation to introduce the Affirming Ministry concept/process, and to begin to identify people interested in being involved.
· Jan. 26, 2017 – The ad hoc committee is officially formed.
Worship Services and Affirming Ministry Committee Educational Sessions:
Our goal has been to increase awareness and understanding across a wide variety of topics, including:
· the Affirming Ministry Process
· differing abilities
· power and privilege
· stereotyping and prejudice
· sexual orientation
· climate change
· gender identity
· racial justice
· Truth and Reconciliation
Relevant stories, information, and reflections have been woven into worship services, as well as being shared in specific post-service educational sessions, on our bulletin boards, in the Bulletin, in congregational emails, and on our website and Facebook page.
Some Projects and Initiatives within Church and Community:
Differing Abilities and Accessibility:
1. Partnerships with SaskAbilities
a) SaskAbilities clients volunteer with Loose Change Supper prep monthly
b) Church space used for SaskAbilities weekly fitness program
2. Sought feedback from the congregation on ways to increase accessibility within the church and pursued implementation of some suggestions in partnership with the Building and Property Committee (e.g. creating an accessible washroom, shortening select pews to create accessible spaces, installing an automatic door opener, installing signage)
Poverty / SES:
Created a Community Resources list which was posted on the bulletin board, emailed to the congregation, and posted on the website
1. Connect with Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) at Swift Current schools to explore ways in which we can offer support and build connections
a) Nov 2018 – Affirming Ministry Committee members attended Positive Spaces 101 workshop at SCCHS
b) Nov 2019 – the Gay-Straight Alliances began to hold their monthly Rainbow Coffeehouses for youth in our church
2. Connect with Southwest Saskatchewan Pride re: Pride services and sessions
3. July 2020 – A letter signed by our Minister, Chair of Council, and Chair of the Affirming Ministry Committee was sent to our local MP, Jeremy Patzer, asking him to support Bill C-8 (re: the banning of conversion therapy).
Holding our Affirming Ministry vote:
· Fall and early winter 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.
· Jan/Feb 2020 – The Affirming Vision Statement and Action Plan were approved by Council and by Affirm United, and March 22 was set for the Affirming vote.
· March 2020 – The Covid-19 pandemic arrived in Saskatchewan and the province was put on lockdown. The Affirming vote was postponed.
· Fall 2021 – The Affirming vote is rescheduled for Nov 28!