Why Become an Affirming Ministry? ¹
Because our church is already welcoming in many ways, you may be wondering why we would like our ministry to become Affirming. It’s because being an Affirming Ministry goes beyond merely welcoming all people. Words like welcoming or inclusion suggest those on the inside have the power to choose to accept those on the outside. This makes it sound like an act of charity to welcome those who are different from us or who are marginalized. However, it’s not our place to welcome anyone because church is not a private club and we are not the gatekeepers. In the church, by God’s grace, everyone is already included in the celebration. Just as God rejoices in the goodness and diversity of all creation, Affirming Ministries honour and celebrate diversity. Ministries that choose to become Affirming discover that embracing difference brings blessing and joy to their community. A community that is able to celebrate its diversity:
• is better equipped to solve problems in a collaborative way.
• is more able to learn and benefit from the varied experiences and talents of its members.
• manages conflict more creatively.
• is less judgmental and thus able to embrace a wider range of ideas and perspectives.
• is enriched by a great variety of different knowledge, stories, and ways of seeing the world.
Affirmation is not just for those on the “outside”—it helps all members to bring their whole and authentic selves to the community. As an Affirming Ministry, we can work in many different ways toward the healing and wholeness of creation — challenging bias and discrimination based on appearance, culture, gender identity or sexual orientation, class, or age; working to end racism; promoting economic justice; increasing accessibility; and caring for the planet.
¹ Adapted from Open Hearts: Resources for Affirming Ministries in The United Church of Canada; Alyson C. Huntly; Revised Jan 2017
Please watch these two videos:
The first was created by the Affirming Ministry members in the fall of 2020.
The second is a conversation with Mellissa and Erin that was part of our June 2021 Pride service.
Affirming Ministry Members:
Pride Service June 2021: