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Affirming Ministry – Our History

Grace’s Journey to Affirming


Update from the Affirming Committee

Congregational Vote – June 18 2023

One of the requirements on Grace’s journey towards becoming affirming is to approve an Affirming vision statement. This needs to be done in advance of an affirming vote which is scheduled for October 2023. It is important to note that the Affirming Vision Statement will only be used once/if the Grace congregation votes in favour of being an Affirming Congregation in October 2023.

To meet this requirement, there will be a brief congregational meeting on Sunday June 18th following the service at 1130am. There will be an opportunity for our on-line community to participate as well by emailing the office for a zoom link. Any questions can be directed to

The motion will be:
That the Affirming Vision Statement as follows be added to Grace’s Core Values/Guiding Principles as well as a stand-alone statement in the event of a positive affirming vote.

Affirming Vision Statement
Grace United Church is committed to living out all of our core values Affirming all of God’s children, embracing people of every age or stage of life, race or ethnicity, Indigeneity or settler ancestry, spiritual beliefs, culture, family configuration, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities or health, socioeconomic circumstances, and life experiences and who will be encouraged to participate fully in all aspects of the life and work of our ministry, thereby enriching us all.

For those on the zoom call, the question will be:

Are you in favour of the motion?; With an option for Yes; and one for No;.

If there are more than one participant in a household, they will need to sign on using
separate devices (eg A phone and a tablet).

Summary of Grace United Church’s Affirming Ministry Lunch & Learn on January 29, 2023


Who We Are!

Grace is on a journey of learning & discernment to explore what it means to become an Affirming Ministry Church.

Who are we?:  Our journey started with a four-person team that prepared an initial report that was approved by the Board August of 2021.  The committee grew from 4 to 9 members and includes; Paul Bartu, Steve Bottaro, Holly Dobson, Sharyn Georgas, Jane Jenner, Janice Martin (Co-chair), Kathryn Munn, Janet Saunders, Kim Wilson (co-chair)

If you would like to contact us please use this email:

While the focus of the committee’s work will be on the 2S&LGBTQ+ community, which was the catalyst for Affirm United (Affirm United), we will also learn about a wide array of marginalized groups including the BIPOC communities, communities with various income levels and those with different abilities.

Why Become An Affirming Ministry?

This is probably the most often-asked question by members of a congregation of an Affirming Ministry Committee.  Congregations believe that they are already “welcoming” – so why do they have to make a public declaration of it after completing a study process?

According to Open Hearts “Being an Affirming Ministry is not merely about welcoming people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.  Words like welcoming or inclusion suggest those on the inside have the power to choose to accept those on the outside.  This makes it sound like an act of charity to welcome those who are different or marginalized.  However, it is not our place to welcome anyone because church is not a private club and we are not the gatekeepers.  As soon as one new person comes through the doors, the community becomes a new community”. Click here to read the Open Hearts Document.

In carrying out the educational, discernment, and decision process to becoming an Affirming Ministry, a congregation is openly stating that all are a part of the community – not in spite of who they are – but for who they are and what they bring to that community of faith.  Where actions speak louder than words, you are showing the world that God’s love is for everyone – regardless of who you are.  Affirm United calls this P.I.E. – public – intentional – explicit.   To become an Affirming Ministry is to be nurturing and supportive to all of its flock – to be a safe place.

  Click here to watch the PIE Day videos.

Becoming an Affirming Ministry will allow Grace’s strong community of faith to live out its core values – particularly inclusivity (all-embracing, celebrating and honouring the full spectrum of humanity and creation by following Christ’s example of acceptance) through its Guiding Principles of Learning, Connecting and Belonging.


How will we do it?

Committee members are continually looking for opportunities and information for their own education and for the benefit of the congregation.  To date, most of our findings have been posted on Grace-Line under the heading of Nuggets for Nourishment.  We have also had “Guest spots” during Sunday services under the “Time of Learning Segment.”

To Date Still to come in 2022
Black History Month bios/inclusion in Grace-Line and Worship services (Feb 2022)

PIE month – Grace-Line, 3 “baking in the kitchen with Kathryn” videos, UCC PIE videos, Rev. Helen’s message

Invitation to join in Horseshoe Falls Sunday night Indigenous Justice series

Grace-Line “Nuggets for Nourishment”

PRIDE day service June 26th, 2022

Grace Website development

Considering Matthew Shepard – Sept 23rd 2022 @Port Nelson United Church

Church Service on September 25th 2022 to acknowledge the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation/Orange Shirt Day – September 30th 2022





When do we cross the finish line?  

While no specific date has been determined for completion of the committee’s work, the journey will take as long as it takes.  It is hoped that we will be able to vote on whether to become an Affirming Ministry church within 18-24 months.


For more information about the Affirming Process at Grace:

Heading Links
Grace Journey Recommendation to board document
Affirm United Affirm United

Open Hearts

Moving Towards Full Inclusion

What is Affirming? Affirming FAQs
PIE Day PIE Day Videos
Black History Month Black History Month Bios
Indigenous Peoples September 30th – National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Indigenous History Month Bio


2S and LGBTQIA+ definitions

PRIDE Service at Grace June 26 2022

When Pride Is Not a Sin: The Season of Overcoming Gay Shame – Rev Emily Heath

Asian Peoples Asian Heritage Month

Check out our in-house library of books written by Indigenous authors as well as other vulnerable population authors.  Also some children’s books.  Please return in a 3 week timeframe if possible. the library is located in the Narthex of the Church (in the back of the Sanctuary).