On March 14, 2021, St. Matthew's fully embraced becoming an affirming congregation by adopting this motion. St. Matthew's United Church proclaims an inclusive welcome to all people in the full spectrum of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ethnic identity, age, ability, education, citizenship status, and social class. We are committed to working towards becoming a safe(r) community for all, and we celebrate the gifts of diversity. All are invited to fully participate in the worship and work of our community. On Nov. 14, an Affirming ceremony celebrated this commitment to including everyone in worship.

 

 

 

Affirm United works for the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in The United Church of Canada and in society. See their Facebook page. Or to join a safe space for reflections, social justice and 2SLGBTQ+ awareness, join the Affirm United Private Facebook Group.

St. Matt's has been a welcoming congregation for many years, and has been blessed with many LGBTQ ministers throughout our time. We now have made our affirming commitment Public, Intentional, and Explicit. But our affirming journey continues, with Bible study, celebration and events to come.  Here are some helpful resources. Please email us to participate in further workshops and discussions, or with any questions.

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Officially an Affirming Congregation

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Message from Moderator Richard Bott

This is a wonderful day for you, and for the whole United Church of Canada, as you proudly and publicly celebrate the full participation of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities in the life and work of your ministry.

For a long time the United Church of Canada has believed that a vital part of following Jesus’ Way is to recognize that every person is a beloved child of God, and is deserving of respect and inclusion. It has taken us almost as long a time to move that understanding from our thinking to our living. As individuals, and as a community of faith, you have done a lot of that hard work of becoming more inclusive – through study, self-reflection, exploration of mission and ministry, and discerning the Holy Spirit’s nudging. In coming to this day, you’ve committed yourselves to continue to the joyful work of recognizing the space that Christ has made at his table, and making sure that all who wish to sit there are welcome participants in the feast!

"A vital part of following Jesus’ Way is to recognize

that every person is a beloved child of God, and

is deserving of respect and inclusion" -- Richard Bott

I am singing and dancing, “Alleluia, thanks be to God,” for each and every one of you, today. Through and in your ministry, Jesus’ work of justice and healing continues, not just this day, but into the future. I hope that you are celebrating well! In becoming an Affirming Ministry you have taken another step, and helped the wider United Church of Canada take another step, on our journey of faithful witness and service.

Almost five hundred years ago, a sister in faith, St. Theresa of Avila, wrote, “Christ has no body but yours; no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world…” Thanks be to God that you are Christ’s body, blessing the world with compassion and wonder and hope for all.

In celebration,

Richard Bott (The Right Reverend)

Moderator / Modérateur The United Church of Canada

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United Church and same-sex marriage

The church adopted a policy to affirm and work toward the civil recognition of same-sex partnerships in 2000, after lobbying at government for recognition of same-sex relationships. United Church minister the Rev. Cheri DiNovo performed the first registered same-sex marriage in Canada in 2001. Same sex marriage became legal in Ontario and B.C. in 2003 and through Canada by 2005. Individual United Church congregations are free to decide their own marriage policies. For more about marriage

United Church and trans people

The church affirmed the participation and ministry of transgender people in 2009 and ordained its first trans person in 2010. In the next two years it developed a variety of resources to make the church more welcoming to trans people. See more about gender, sexuality and orientation.