United Church partner Affirm United offers a process, the Affirming Ministry Program, to help all ministries truly welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our gifts for Mission & Service support the Affirming process. Our planning and conversations are made possible by your support for Mission & Service.
Any ministry in the United Church can become Affirming, but so far there are no Affirming outdoor ministries or camps. Camping experiences can offer spaces filled with friendship, faith, community, and a deep appreciation of God’s diverse world. But sometimes differences can create barriers. Campers or staff with diverse ethnicities, economic statuses, sexual orientations, and gender identities or expressions can be pushed to the side, even unintentionally.
This year, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the church’s 1988 decision to welcome LGBTQ+ people into full membership and ministry, all United Church outdoor and camping ministries have been invited to consider becoming Affirming. In an exciting pilot project, three United Church camping ministries have agreed to test the Affirming Ministry Program and to work with Affirm United to develop a process that can easily be used with all outdoor ministries.
In the future, we hope to hear more words like these from a camper at the United Church’s Camp Kidston in Nova Scotia: “[Here] I felt truly safe and free to be who I am. I began to understand that I am part of creation, a reflection of the Divine—all of me—acceptable and loved.”
We hope that our United Church Outdoor/Camping Ministries will publicly and intentionally embrace all differences.
If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.