The following is an outilne of the Affirming journey of Comox United Church, BC, generously shared with Iridesce.
A short history…
of the journey of Comox United from a fairly evangelical congregation in the early 1980s, to the…
General Council vote in August 1998
General Council declares that "all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of The United Church of Canada" and that "all members of the United Church are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry."
Turmoil in Comox United after this decision—the vote was not supported by current clergy nor Board members; a congregational vote taken in February 1989 supported withdrawing from the United Church with the majority (probably about 90%) leaving to form a separate church under umbrella of the Congregational Churches of Canada.
Remaining members of Comox United (about 30 people) re-group and begin to grow again, as a congregation reflecting the values of the United Church of Canada.
An eventually aborted exploration of the affirming process in 2002
Re-opening the discussion about becomig an affirming congregation in 2008—Pastoral Care Committee asks the Board to consider again the proposal to become an affirming congregation
Discussions at the newly formed Council culminate in a congregational meeting on May 10, 2009 which resulted in a successful vote (84%) to becoming an affirming congregation
The congregation then engaged in a year of education which included discussion at committee and Council levels, a series of films on the theme of welcoming GLBTT into the church community
Resource library of books and films created, hospitality table created (containing information on Affirm United and our church’s commitment to this process), rainbow symbol placed on front door, rainbow fish pins offered for people’s name tags
May 16, 2010: worship service led by members of Affirming Committee
June 12, 2011: celebration service as an Affirming Ministry of the United Church
"God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God,
and God abides in them." (I John 4:16)
“Rainbow” poster created by Joan Brocklebank, rainbow symbol displayed on the front door of the church; rainbow fish pins worn by greeters
Continuing programmes: sponsoring a speaker at the local high-school on the topic of homophobia (April 2011), film nights (November 2010: “The Bible tells me so” which explored why churches need to offer a special welcome to GLBT; April 2013: “She’s a boy I once knew” on transgendered issues)
(Shared by Comox United Affirming Committee with Iridesce: The Living Apology Project. Image: Comox United Church, Comox, BC. Photo credits: Aaron M.)