I grew up coming to Sunday School in the United Church. I married and had a family, we attended United Church along the way. When my husband died of a heart attack in 1987, I moved here to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
One day, I decided to go to the United Church in Victoria. During coffee hour one of the men said to me, “We used to be a much bigger congregation but many people recently left.” He talked about the church’s decision regarding homosexuality. I learned they were not accepting of different orientations. I wondered, “Am I in the wrong group?” and soon joined the Unitarian Faith in Victoria, who were affirming. Eventually, I moved to Comox Valley and I continued fellowship with the Unitarian Church here.
When I met my second husband, we needed something a little more structured for our faith life. So we came to Comox United Church, which is officially an Affirming Congregation. In 1988, Comox experienced the opposite response that had occurred in the Victoria church. Here at Comox, it was the people who supported the affirmation of sexual orientation and membership who stayed. The Comox supporters were a very small group, but they stayed with the church in the same building. The people who were against the decision set up their own independent church called Bay Community Church. I’ve only attended a funeral there, so I don’t know how that congregation is doing now.
For me, the importance of being Affirming is literally affirming a person’s way of life and of living in loving relaitonships. Full stop. People love each other. They support each other. They raise children, they are part of the community. There are different genders or different expressions of gender and for me it isn’t a problem. Let’s get on with living!
As I was growing up my mother made sure we didn’t pick up prejudices. Of course, we all have biases which we are wise to acknowledge, but I’m talking about big prejudices. Having children and being a teacher, I came to get along with many different kinds of families.
At Comox United, it was necesary to formallize our affirmation of people of all sexual orientations and genders. It was important that all people know how we feel. That is why it was important for us to publically acknowledge that we were an Affirming Church. I’m very happy I attend here.