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General Council 43: Risking Faith, Daring Hope

University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario

The 43rd General Council is a meeting of communities across The United Church of Canada. The theme will be "Risking Faith, Daring Hope." Iridesce: The Living Apology Project will be present at this event. 

Throughout the event, July 21st - July 27th, 2018.

Visit the Iridesce Story and Art Display. Read, learn, share and respond. You are welcome to add your voice.

Monday, July 23 (evening)

Iridesce Theatre Play. All are invited to experience a theatre event that brings to life the stories and themes of the Iridesce Project. (Interested to participate? We are hoping to find actors, stage-hands and volunteers to help bring this theatre piece to life. Please contact our coordinator for more info at

Festival of Faith

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Saturday and Sunday, July 21‒22, 2018. 

Engage with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project at the United Church of Canada's festival of faith entitled "Risking Faith, Daring Hope". A celebration of our work and witness through the arts! Visit our display and lounge space to engage with the project, stay for conversation. All are welcome and invited to spend time with us. 


Saturday, July 21st from 12:00-1:30pm, in room SW214: Workshop presented by Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. 

Description: The Iridesce workshop is about remembering and sharing our experiences around the 1988 vote, and responding in community as we live, welcome and struggle with that vote up to today.

In 2015, General Council approved a motion to partner with Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble to create a Living Apology project inviting the church “into a journey of dialogue and reconciliation with LGBTQ2+ persons, that would involve: creative opportunities for conversation, worship and education; to explore concepts such as lament, reconciliation and justice, to be reported and celebrated at the 43rd General Council (2018) in acknowledgement of the 30th Anniversary of the 1988 decision” (GC42 Record of Proceedings, page 193).

Iridesce: The Living Apology Project was launched in September 2017 to gather personal stories of being: trans, bisexual, 2-Spirit, lesbian, gay, queer (or another gender or sexual identity/expression) within our church past or present; and, allies, friends, family members, ministers and community members to LGBTQ2+ persons within the United Church. 


While the project has really only just begun, we are hearing some clear messages. The church we are becoming brings with it brokenness and wounds that linger from 1988, with accompanying grief and anger. LGBTQ2+ people, their family and allies in the United Church, are still afraid to share their stories, afraid to come out, afraid of judgment and rejection.


The church needs to wrestle with issues and questions such as: What is the legacy of 1988 in terms of our communal life? How do we hold the tension of allowing individual churches to choose to become affirming or not? How do we live peacefully and graciously while in conflict, especially when people’s very lives are at stake? This workshop invites participants into these conversations.


For more information, please visit

Logo image credit: United Church of Canada.

Affirm Conference and AGM

Royal York Road United Church

July 13th - July 15th, 2018. Be part of the inspiring community event where everyone is invited! Opportunities to engage with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. 

July 14th

9am – 10am: Iridesce Plenary Address (15 minute address)

afternoon: Iridesce Workshops (various times, register at the event)


July 15th

10:30am - Coordinator of Iridesce to give sermon at closing worship service. 
at Royal York Road United Church


All weekend: Explore and participate in the Iridesce Art & Story Display

Photo credit: Neil de Boer. Village Photographer.

Eastminster United Church

Toronto, Ontario

Join us for a Saturday workshop and Sunday worship service with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. More details to come.

Saturday, June 9: Workshop (time tbd)

Sunday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m.: Worship, with sermon by Iridesce coordinator

Lennoxville United Church

Sherbrooke, Quebec

Sunday, June 3rd at 10:00 a.m. - Worship theme Iridesce: The Living Apology Project, with sermon by the Iridesce Coordinator. Stay for discussion during coffee hour. 

For more about the church visit:

Manitoba & Northwestern Ontario Conference AGM

Univeristy of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

May 25, 2018 ~ Iridesce: The Living Apology Project is facilitating a workshop with delegates at the Manitoba & Northwestern Ontario Conference Annual General Meeting, from 1:30pm - 3:00pm. And, a 10 minute talk about the project during plenary. More details and location to come. 

Trinity United Church

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sunday, May 20th ~ Join us at 10:45 a.m. for worship with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. For more information, please email Trinity United at, or the Iridesce coordinator at

Knox United Church

Brandon, Manitoba

Join us for four days of events related to Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. 

FRIDAY, MAY 12: Youth Dinner & Guided Discussion for LGBTQ & Allies

Dinner and discussion around inclusivity, how to be an ally. Share you stories and be part of listening to others. Please register by contacting Knox United. Time tbd. 


What we'll do: 

. learn the history of LGBTQ+ people (and their allies) in the United Church

. hear stories from LGBTQ youth across the country

. share you story... be there to listen to others

. talk & learn best practices about being in community

. talk & learn how to be an amazing ally!!

SATURDAY, MAY 13, 10am - 2pm: Iridesce Workshop (all ages) 

Iridesce: The Living Apology Project is visiting Knox United Church, and the Assiniboine Presbytery. Come early for coffee. Workshop at 10am. Lunch included. All are welcome to participate in this national dialogue project -- sharing and listening to our experiences and LGBTQ struggle and welcome in our communities of faith, from 1988 to today.

SUNDAY, MAY 14: Iridesce Worship & Reflection, 10:30 a.m.

MONDAY, MAY 15: Availability for one-on-one conversations, by appointment. 

Location: 327 8th Street, Brandon, Manitoba, R7A 3X5

Alberta & Northwest Conference AGM

Edmonton, Alberta

A two-day visit:

Wed, May 9, 2018 - Iridesce meeting with the Conference Youth Group


Thur, May 10, 2018 - Iridesce: The Living Apology Project will facilitate a workshop for delegates of the Alberta Northwest Conference Annual General Meeting.  

More details and location to come. [Photo credit: Creative Commons.]

Emmanuel College Alumni/ae Day

Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, Ontario

May 07, 2018

May 7th at 3:30 p.m. 


“IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project” workshop hosted by Jess Swance (current M. Div. student and Chair of the Emmanuel College Students Society). 


This project is travelling across Canada collecting stories from people who have been and currently are affected by the United Church’s 1988 decision—when the church declared that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, were welcome as full members, and all members were eligible to be considered for ministry. During our time together, we will get a chance to explore what ‘living the apology’ means and how the collection of stories may influence how the church lives into an apology.

Registration required, please visit:

Churchill Park United Church

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sunday, May 6th, 2018 - Join us at Churchill Park United Church for a visit from Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. 


10am: Worship is 10am, with a reflection by Iridesce.

11am - 12:30pm: Followed by lunch from 11am-12:30pm in our gymnasium (suggested donation $10, no one turned away). 

1pm - 4pm: Iridesce Workshop will be held in the Sanctuary from 1pm - 4pm. The sanctuary is on the main floor and is full accessible using our elevator. We will be using our newly installed sanctuary sound system.

All are welcome. Please contact Churchill Park United for details, or email the coordinator at

Unabridged: A Conference on Spirituality & LGBTQ+

McKillop United Church, Lethbridge, Alberta

Friday, May 4, 2018 - UNABRIDGED is an exploration of the intersections between LGBTQ+ identity and spirituality, and will be held May 3-5, 2018 at McKillop United Church in Lethbridge, Alberta. Join us for time with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project on Friday, May 4th. Please visit the Unabridged website for more details, or email the Iridesce coordinator at

Robert McClure United Church

Calgary, Alberta

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - Join us for worship at 10:30am. Iridesce workshop to follow. All are welcome. For more details please contact the church, or email our coordinator at

Montreal West United Church

Montreal, Quebec

Sunday, April 22, 2018 - The Iridesce Coordinator will share a sermon-reflection during worship. 10:00 a.m. Followed by coffee hour fellowship. All are welcome.

Rideau Park United Church

Ottawa, Ontario

Sunday, March 18, 2018 - Worship at 10:00 a.m. with a message from Iridesce, followed by a workshop. More details to come. Please contact the church or email our coordinator at

Grosvenor Park United Church

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Sunday, Mar 4, 2018 - Join us for a worship (10:00 a.m.), followed by a workshop of Iridesce: The Living Apology Project at Grosvenor Park United Church. 

Emmanuel United Church

Peterborough, Ontario

February 24, 2018

You are welcome to participate in this Saturday workshop of Iridesce: The Living Apology Project with Emmanuel United Church. All are welcome. 

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble Meeting

Toronto, Ontario

February 22, 2018

All are welcome to participate a workshop of Iridesce: The Living Apology Project at the Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble meeting.


Time: 2:15pm - 5:00pm. Please arrive GENEROUSLY EARLY, as there is construction happening in and around the meeting space.

Location: United Church of Canada General Council Offices, located at 3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, M8X 2Y4.

Kindly RSVP to

Youth Forum!

Five Oaks, Paris, Ontario

February 18, 2018

Iridesce: The Living Apology looks forward to visiting with Youth Forum participants! Sunday, February 18, 2018 (3:30pm - 5:30pm) at Five Oaks Retreat Centre in Paris, Ontario. This is event is for Youth Forum participants only.

The United Theological College / Le Séminaire Uni

Montreal, Quebec

February 06, 2018

The monthly gathering of students, faculty, friends and family uplifts Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. Over dinner, a liturgy will be shared remembering 1988, remember the beginning of the Affirm United movement, and recalling the long history of LGBTQ peoples in the United Church of Canada. 

Trinity United Church

Montreal, Quebec

February 04, 2018

Join us for worship at 11:00 am. Iridesce will share a sermon reflection during worship. Stay for the workshop starting at 1:00 pm. A light lunch will be served for workshop participants. All are welcome. Childcare provided with 24 hours notice.


Gender inclusive washrooms available. Reduced mobility: the sanctuary (for worship) is wheelchair accessible, however the hall (where the workshop will takes place) is not wheelchair accessible.

Bringing a group? RSVP to

Trinity United Church

Guelph, Ontario

January 21, 2018

Trinity United Church in Guelph, Ontario, warmly welcomes you to attend our collaboration with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. 


Worship is at 10:00 a.m. Lunch and a workshop to follow. The workshop is approx 3-hours long. 


During worship, the Iridesce coordinator will share a moment about this special ministry. We have a lunch already set and we've invite all our neighbouring UCC friends to join us. All are welcome.


In the workshop we will gather to listen, share and respond as part of our national dialogue on how things have been for LGBTQ2+ people in the United Church. We'll look back and remember the 1988 vote that allowed gay and lesbian people to be ordained in our church. We'll also look at how LGBTQ people, their family, friends and allies have been welcomed (or not welcomed) in our churches, from 1988 to today. 


Recently, two congregations in Waterloo (only 30 mins away from us) were vandalized with graffiti for their affirming message. This has touched us all.


We look forward to participating in Iridesce. Please do join us.

Grace United Church

Hanover, Ontario

January 20, 2018

Join us for a workshop of Iridesce: The Living Apology Project, at Grace United Church in Hanover, Ontario. More details to come. 

New Vision United Church

Hamilton, Ontario

January 14, 2018

Iridesce: The Living Apology Project is pleased to visit New Vision United Church in Hamilton, Ontario this January 14th, 2018. 

Details to come. 

Invite Iridesce to visit

your Community of Faith

If you would like to request a visit to your church, youth group, theology school, conference gathering or community of faith… for a day event, weekend event, or Sunday worship, please be in touch.

Comox United Church

Comox, British Columbia

November 12, 2017

Iridesce visit Comox United Church. Come for an address during worship, followed by time with the Comox Youth Group. Stay for a light lunch, followed by a workshop in the Hall. All are welcome to participate. 

During the week, Comox United has organized small-group gatherings, and time for one-on-one conversations. 

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

November 05, 2017

Join us worship at 10:30am. Followed by lunch, then a workshop guided by Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. The workshop is work is an invitation to dialogue and share stories around the United Church's 1988 decision to include gay and lesbian people in "full participation" in the church, and how this decision has affected us personally and as communities, since then up to today.

The workshop includes includes reflection, some personal writing, small group sharing (as comfortable), and some art making… all in a community way.

Time available for one-on-one discussions, upon request. 

Wilmot United Church

Fredricton, New Brunswick

October 26, 2017

You are invited to attend a workshop of IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project at Wilmot United Church, Fredricton, New Brunswick, on Thursday, October 26th, from 6:30pm - 9:30pm. 

For more information, visit Email our Coordinator at

Atlantic School of Theology

Halifax, Nova Scotia

October 25, 2017

Join us for a 2 hour discussion about Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

St. Paul's United Church

Spryfield, Nova Scotia

October 22, 2017

This IRIDESCE event is open to everyone, including: folks from St. Paul's United, folks from regional churches, and folks from the community; and including: "straight" folks, LGBTQ folks, allies and friends.

Come for worship, including a reflection from Iridesce, on Sunday morning (11am). Followed by a workshop of reflection story-sharing and art-making in community, on our themes.

Our Project Coordinator is available for further invitations during the weeks. Please contact our Coordinator to make arrangements. 

Montreal, Quebec

August 24, 2017

Rendez-vous 2017 is a United Church of Canada national gathering for youth, young adults, and their leaders. It is an opportunity to come together and worship, dream, and connect with one another. This event will provide a showcase for local, regional, and national ministry ideas, speakers, and musicians. Participants will take part in inspired and powerful worship, listen to engaging and relevant speakers, participate in workshops and exposure trips, and create community with peers from across this country.

Check out the Iridesce booth, contribute to the art project and take part in the floating listening station!

St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, Vancouver, BC

July 28, 2017

The mission of SpiritPride is to provide a safe, positive, LGBTQ+ affirming space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore issues of faith, spirituality and sexuality. The conference is hosted by St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church in Vancouver, BC,  a community that is passionate, inclusive, progressive, and committed to justice. 

IRIDESCE: The Living Apology Project will facilitate workshops and create art with participants! We'll also be on site for a floating "listening & sharing". Join us!

Cobalt, Ontario

June 02, 2017

Our Project Coordinator is welcomed as a guest speaker to introduce Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. We'll be present with a presentation booth, spend time with the youth group, and be available throughout the weekend of one-on-one listening :) Thank you!

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from workshop participants

“A wonderful opportunity to connect with new people and learn their stories/experiences” ~ Kathy C.

“It is important to be aware of the work that still needs to be done. Dialogue — ongoing dialogue — is so important.” ~ Jena

“This is a workshop all congregations should hold — especially those uncertain about the importance of becoming Affirming” ~ Dave

“This workshop helped me to know and feel the pulse of the LGBTQ2 community” ~ Anonymous

“This is neccessary #ImQueer” ~ Anonymous

“The whole of human history is a story of broken humans, wronging other humans - that points to our need of a saviour. It is honourable of your church to do the work of wrestling with what repentace and restoration look like” ~ Anonymous

“Please come! You will learn something new and be better for it!” ~ Carol

“The Iridesce leader is a really engaging speaker and facilitator. She talks about things you didn’t even know you wanted to talk about! Right to hear heart of being church, community, etc. Bravo!” ~ Arlene

“A workshop that moved people to participate and share their stories” ~ Janet

“Gay or straight. Love — any kind of love is ok. There’s too much hat in this world.” ~ Clark

“What a blessing to have the workshop lead in a way which led to creative and deep emotional expression," Linda

“A positive experience, acknowleding the past, and ideas for moving forward." ~ Anonymous

“The workshop begins by encouraging participants to engage… making them feel they are part of the Iridesce project. Great start for a very good workshop. Thank you Iridesce!” ~ Alyce

“Super process that opened my eyes to work harder to create a safer space for the LGBT’s in our church community” ~ Randolf

“This was time well spent. The sharing was lovely” ~ Anonymous

“Thank you for this wonderful and thought-provoking workshop. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to attend and meet you. Good luck at General Council with Iridesce” ~ Anonymous

“Very good seminar for teaching the extent of difficulties of LGBTQ2 community” ~ Anonymous

“An excellent & meaningful presentation and group activity” ~ K

“This was a great workshop to help us know what we need to work on, thanks” ~ Alan

“An unexpectedly meaningful opportunity to learn and reflect on the history of our church” ~ Marilou

“Thank you for the opportunity to revisit and examine where we are as a national church and our journeys with LGBTQ people over the decades.” ~ Nobuko

“Our church and Christianity should demonstrate love and compassion to all. We all have experiences to share whether we are gay or other.” ~ C.

“Reflective” ~ Richard

“Iridesce provides a safe and welcoming place to discuss and share the experiences within the Untied Church and a resource for providing a living apology to those who were affected” ~ Michelle

“I think this has been a humbling and valuable exercise for me as an ally. Where do I fit in this story?” ~ Linda

“The facilitator was a thoughtful and tender storyteller. She will do an amazing job holding all participants with compassion” ~ Michiko B-K

“This helped me feel like I’m not alone and that others are struggling with the same struggles as me” ~ Anonymous

“I really gained a new appreciation for the steps that have been done and the steps we have yet to take” ~ Erin

"Iridesce provides a safe, engaging way to share our truth -- a sacred, transformational space" ~ Read

"Grateful there is a place to talk and exchange ideas" ~ Robin

"I learned a lot more about my church and myself" ~ Anonymous

"It showed to me that people must understand how important the church is to them and care more" ~ Anonymous

"The workshop… touched me very deeply because it spoke of a group of people who are discriminated against, reminding me of ways in which I have felt discriminated against in my family or as a child, or in society at large" ~ Grace

"Making a culture alive" ~ Erika

"This workshop sparked a greater understanding of the suffering of LGBTQ church members" ~ Rosanne

"This is a very worthwhile project and can bring better understanding to those who aren't quite convinced" ~ Noreen

"This check-in workshop was refreshing and worthwhile in revealing the growth and the work yet to be done" ~ Robin

"Great workshop, good adaptation to people's concerns" ~ Anonymous

“United Church continue us on the journey…” ~ Kathryn

“This workshop has expanded my thoughts and feelings, in a good way, about the United Church” ~ Adam

“I thought the facilitator was superb and able to impart so much knowledge” ~ M.

“The Iridesce workshop exploded my complacency and put in perspective pivotal truths about the United Church, helping me understand how we got here” ~ Helen

“As a queer person, I really appreciated the openness of dialogue that the Iridesce workshop invited and the safe environment that invited sharing of unsafe experiences” ~ Erin

“Thank you for bringing this to us… we need that voice” ~ Anonymous

“I appreciated the facilitator’s ability to establish an atmosphere of trust and intimacy. From that start, the process was bound to succeed” ~ Daniel

“It was interesting to learn of this time in church history” ~ Anonymous

"As a minister I would encourage all congregations to hold this workshop." ~ Keltie van Binsbergh

"The workshop was enlightening—I learned new and surprising things about our past and present. We have much work still to do." ~ Joan G.

"This workshop has inspired me to help change the United Church policy." ~ Carol N.

"This was a very interesting, interactive, respectful and informative workshop. Very well worth attending." ~ Heather H.

"The workshop inspired deep, personal reflection and conversation among our group. A sacred space." ~ Anne H.

"I liked hearing the stories and listening to other members of the group. I liked the facilitator's leadership style. We were given plenty of time to reflect and to listen while people spoke." ~ Anonymous

"This was a good experience—opening up concepts of lament and open/honest communication as well as the need to celebrate positive gains without denying the wrong done and pain caused." ~ Anonymous 

"The workshop was a pleasant surprise even though the material is a tough topic. I would like to see this type of workshop offered in our Conference on a regular basis." ~ Anonymous

"A most enlightening and worthwhile workshop. So happy I was able to attend and learn." ~ Heather E.

“Nurturing awareness around our continued need for healing” ~ Anonymous

"Remain hopeful and recognize the change that has taken place. A rock doesn’t move over night if it’s like a mountain." ~ Anonymous

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Every testimonial received is shared here.


Below is a quick overview of when we hope to be in your Conference region. We hope this helps with your planning. A visit from IRIDESCE requires an invitation from your church, minister, youth group, etc. Why not reach out so we can talk about how to tailor a visit to the needs, history and culture of your community... or simply to brainstorm together. 


To participate, please contact our Coordinator at

Regional Visits

Manitou Conference (Ontario)



Rendezvous National Youth Event (Montreal)

August: Skylight Festival (Ontario)

August: SpiritPride (Vancouver)


Maritime Conference 


Yukon Territory

British Columbia Conference


Advent, no gatherings


Hamilton Conference

All Native Circle Conference


Montreal & Ottawa Conference

Affirm United/S'affirmer ensemble Meeting

Bay of Quinte Conference

Toronto Conference


Saskatchewan Conference

Lent, reduced visits


Alberta & Northwest Conference


Manitoba & Northwestern Ontario Conference


Bay of Quinte


Presentation of Iridesce at General Council 43 


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