St. Andrew’s Stittsville has always been a warm, welcoming, and inclusive congregation for many people. In the past few years we have been exploring more intentionally what that means specifically for us as a congregation in relation to our LGBTQI2+ friends and family and the broader community. We ran a workshop a number of years ago based on the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s “Body Mind Soul” study document. We prepared a welcome statement based on one shared with us from a congregation in PEI. This past year (2020) the minister and an elder attended the virtual workshop called “Rainbow Pathways: Exploring LGBTQI2+ Welcome and Inclusion” offered by the Presbyterian Church in Canada in an effort to become more welcoming and inclusive to all people, and especially to those who identify as LGBTQI2+. Our minister has also been a part of the Frederick Banting Alternative High School Diversity Group for over ten years, learning from LGBTQI2+ students what life is like for them and being a caring compassionate presence with them. They have taught him in a very real way what inclusion means, because they they have chosen to include him, a cisgender, heterosexual, middle aged minister into their group and their lives.
Inclusion is and will always be a work in progress. We hope that what we have already done including this page is a start, and we invite you to learn along with us. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the minister, Doug Kendall firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this page we hope you will find resources that are helpful in understanding what LGBTQI2+ means, what it means to those who do not feel welcomed at church, and what it means to us all to be welcoming and include all of God’s children.
Click here for more information on the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s recent decisions on full inclusion of LGBTQI in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Also please click here for a video summary of the report of the Rainbow Communion and more information on the amazing work they have done. I will caution you that some of the stories included in this video about how some LGBTQI people have been treated in our church are difficult to hear, but they are also very important voices to hear.
We all experience unconscious bias. Becoming more aware of our own biases helps us to be more welcoming of those who are different from us.
Being a young person today and coming out to family and friends can be difficult. Here is a brief video from PBS in the United States with some stories of that it is like from the perspective of some young people.
Here are more reports and links to where the Presbyterian Church in Canada is at with Human Sexuality.
More to come…
BTW the Minister and some of our elders have changed their business cards to reflect our belief that God’s love includes everyone.