The process of deciding whether to become an Affirming Ministry will involve an abundance of deep listening – listening to the experiences, questions and ideas of those of you who currently attend First United Church; and listening to those who might like to attend but don’t feel welcome to do so yet despite our best intentions. It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn and grow together, and to gently explore our blind spots as individuals and as a ministry. As a starting point, we’re asking for any feedback you can give us on what has made you feel welcome and included at the First United Church, and what has made you (or someone you know) feel excluded or hesitant to participate. We would particularly like to learn more about the experiences of groups that are marginalized in our society (e.g. because of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental illness, age, or ability) or who are underrepresented in our church. By learning more and growing in response to what we learn, we can continue to expand the number of hearts who trust the First United Church to be a safe, sacred sanctuary amidst the hectic and often isolating rush of the society we live in.

¹,² Adapted from Open Hearts: Resources for Affirming Ministries in The United Church of Canada; Alyson C. Huntly; Revised Jan 2017