Celebrating 1 year as an Affirming Congregation
On March 20, 2022, St. Matthew's United Church celebrated its first year as an Affirming Congregation with PIE Day (Public, Intentional and Explicit), then held our Equinox ceremony and blessing of the seeds outdoors. Pic by Harold Durnford.
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.
Officially an Affirming Congregation
"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"
-- United Church moderator Richard Bott
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.