Affirming Ministry Report
April 24, 2017.
Nelson United Church is working together to create a community that is actively practising and promoting dignity, respect and inclusiveness in a safe environment. Nelson is a community that accepts people from all different cultures, backgrounds and races, creating a uniqueness that celebrates diversity.
Let me take my seat at the table
Even though I may be differently able
My experience, my passion the authentic me
Can help add value for your company.
I exclude no one; I am strengthened by all
My name is Diversity and yes I stand tall.
Coupled with inclusion our lights burn longer
Together we are smarter, better and stronger.
~ Charles Bennefield
Nelson United Church has formed partnerships with Ankors, an organization that offers support to people with Aids and Aid prevention; Trans Connect, a group that offers support for Trans folks; Kootenay Pride, a grassroots group that supports LBGT folk; and the Nelson Women’s Centre, a support and educational nonprofit society.
Our Actions from 2016:
- We continue to work at communication with the LBGT community; our logos, letterhead, online display indicate our inclusive safe place. We display both the rainbow flag and the trans flag in our sanctuary windows, very visible from the street. Our minister has written articles for our local newspaper indicating our policy of welcoming and including all.
- We continue support for community organization by participation and offering or space for meetings, vigils, events and workshops.
- We are a very visible presence during Pride Weekend in September participating in the Pride Parade, having done so since its inception 20 years ago. We also held a Pride Film evening for the community showing Conceiving Family-Adoption Stories of the LBGT and In Particular, barabara finlay.
- We host World Aids Day in December and light candles and give a blessing as remembrance and support.
- We attended two vigils for Orlando and the vigil to end violence against Trans folks.
- During the four Sundays of Advent during worship, we presented four Vignettes of Dialoguefeaturing Gay, Lesbian, Trans and Non-Binary true stories adapted to increase awareness.
- We have a marriage policy that is non-discriminatory.
- Our worship services celebrate diversity. A communion liturgy specifically named LBGT as being welcome at the table. We recognized and honoured our affirming status on its anniversary and display a rainbow candle to give hope but also to remember the harm churches have caused in the past.
We also ensure that our Board and ministry teams represent the diversity of our congregation. Discussion occurs about the use of language and we change hymn lyrics, sermons and communiqués to reflect gender inclusivity. Our washrooms are gender neutral.
Many of us are involved in other community groups and continue to be intentional about radical welcome. We stand tall against oppression and protest against discrimination throughout the world. Direct action and advocacy are part of our belief that “we dare to live the way of Jesus, embodying the love of God”.