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Thanks so much to Wasauksing United Church and food bank for sharing this photo of their regional rainbow flag. Let's follow their lead and share photos of your community and your flag. Use our United Church flag hashtags and let's all show up this month with our rainbow colours on! #CreatedinGodsImageSWRC #UCCanPRIDE #DeepBoldDaring #UNITEDCHURCHPRIDE >Back to the Affirming page

Here's the information page for local Pride events and a place to sign up to receive information related to United Church groups in local pride parades in York Region, Toronto and Muskoka. >Back to Affirming Ministries page

The impact of the May 14, 2022 racially motivated targeted shootings of Black shoppers in Buffalo, NY was deeply felt in Shining Waters Regional Council. As a community, we grieve for the families of those killed and wounded in Buffalo. We hold in prayer all in God’s family who cannot shop, walk the street or live their lives without fear or hypervigilance. As this year’s Asian Heritage Month comes to a close we acknowledge that anti-Asian racism and hate in North America are intrinsic to...

He is Risen! Since Easter 2020, many have faced a difficult two years in Canada and around the world. Our neighbourhoods, families, and communities of faith have faced incredible challenges.  We have seen the best side of society and the worst side of society, including racism and inequality, as well as great sacrifice and expressions of love. We have experienced great loss, including the death of millions of people around the world as a result of Covid 19, and we have witnessed great acts of...

Thanks to everyone who contributed a video and attended our event to share your stories of what it means in your place to be public, intentional and explicit in your affirming journey.  View our video library of stories here. We invite all Affirming Ministries to continue to add stories to our collection.  Send us a short video (maximum three minutes) and we will add it to our video album.  We hope this is inspiring to communities of faith who are just starting out as well as those who have...

On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Descrimination it's time to disrupt racism wherever it is found. In 2022, the first anniversary of the March 16 Atlanta spa massacre of six Asian women and two Asian men perpetrated by a White man, I am especially aware of the alarming rise of assaults on Asian North American women and elders with fists, boots, knives, guns, and acid. As an urban Asian woman, I have... Read the rest here

Shining Waters Regional Council stands with Metropolitan United Church (Toronto) against hate-motivated vandalism. As you may have seen in media reports, Metropolitan was targeted on March 7 by an act of vandalism using homophobic and anti-Semitic graffiti that the Toronto police have designated as a hate-motivated incident. A letter of solidarity and support is being sent by Rev. Betty Lou McNabb, President of Shining Waters, on behalf of the region. The United Church of Canada has also...

Celebrate P.I.E. Day with us in Shining Waters Regional Council this year on March 14, 2022 at 6:45 pm.  Bring some dessert and share in a short program.  Mark this national day to be public, intentional and explicit about the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Registration Register here and receive the Zoom link. >Back to Affirming page

These flags were blessed at the Affirming Ministries Celebration Creator of the universe, God of steadfast love Your rainbow holds the promise of the everlasting covenant between You and creation. We are whole and we are holy. Bless these rainbow flags, rich with diversity that we will share across our region to serve as visible signs of welcome....

The Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, was set aside to recognize those who have been killed due to ignorance and hatred, targeted because they were trans or gender non-conforming. The first event took place in 1999 in San Francisco to honour Rita Hester, who had been brutally murdered the previous year. Transgender Day of Remembrance Prayer On this Transgender Day of Remembrance we remember those who have been murdered for being who they are, those who face violence on a daily...

As Ontario prepares to enter Phase 2 of reopening, ministry personnel and Communities of Faith naturally have questions about how to safely be together once again. One of the many concerns that has surfaced is whether Communities of Faith can require worshippers and staff to be vaccinated before returning to in-person gatherings.

By Susie Henderson Wild Churches are restoring and reimagining relationships between faith and the natural world Taddle Creek Wild Church, Metropolitan United Church Every way you look at it, the present-day front yard of Metropolitan United Church, which corners on Queen and Church Street in downtown Toronto, is a very lively place –there are people from all walks of life, relentless traffic, steps from a major hospital, and more.  The building can definitely hold its own here, and so does...

Creator each and every human identity bears your sacred image. Inspire us to fully live the power of this truth every day. Amen, amen, may it be so.   >Back to Affirming page

Here is the regional prayer from the Shining Waters Pride Service in June 2021 https://youtu.be/R6pqckfihZ4 Creator each and every human identity bears your sacred image. Inspire us to fully live the power of this truth every day. Amen, amen, may it be so. Happy Pride from Shining Waters Regional Council   >Back to Affirming page

Friends become family at Dorothy's Place By Susie Henderson based on an interview with Rev. Carmen Llanos Dorothy's Place is a ministry of Birchcliff Bluffs United Church serving 2SLGBTQ+ seniors in east end Toronto and Scarborough. Based on the success of Toby's Place that responded to a gap in services for youth; the vision of Dorothy's Place emerged out of a need for services to seniors in Scarborough beyond the services downtown. Participants are welcomed with nourishing food and...

A Prayer for May 17 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia! Loving God, You made humanity in your likeness, Each and every human identity, in all our sexual and gender diversity, in all our racial and cultural diversity, bears Your sacred image. Press us, compel us, inspire us to fully live the power and beauty of this truth every day. In the name of the extravagantly loving table-turning, disruptive One we call Jesus, Amen. You are welcome to use this prayer in worship...

We have been out of our buildings for some time now, much longer than we first expected. Many of us are growing into the experience of meeting virtually with online opportunities for worship. Northlea United Church, in Toronto’s north Leaside neighbourhood is meeting online and they are experimenting with meeting their community in a previously unexplored place – their own front yard.

As the Social & Ecological Justice Commission sat (at their respective computers), socializing before a meeting, each member started sharing what books they had recently read that moved them, or that they recommended others read as well.  Out of this discussion, the idea for a Little Library was formed. The following books have been suggested by the SEJC (and friends) as good reads related to justice in its many forms.  We encourage you to purchase these books from the UCRD (if available),...

Shining Waters Regional Council was deeply impacted by the recent shooting deaths of six Asian women in Atlanta, Georgia. We condemn racialized misogynistic violence and we pray for the families and the communities of those killed. We also pray for the safety of Asians in North America and globally who have experienced and reported anti-Asian racism, violence, and aggression since the start of the pandemic. We pray for many more who have not reported their experiences of targeted hate incidents and hate crimes.

On this sixth week of Lent, Rev. Alexa speaks with Sara Hildebrand of the Love My Neighbour Project – an interfaith partnership with UNICEF Canada to pay it forward. They are inviting every Canadian that gets a vaccine to buy one for someone in economically depressed countries. For approximately $10 each, every vaccinated person in Canada can help speed up the vaccine rollout for all global citizens (cost
to be confirmed by UNICEF)

On Friday, March 12, 2021 the Centre for Christian Studies hosted an online discussion of the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic exposes long-standing racial divisions and systemic injustices, and perhaps to imagine opportunities for change. Their special guest was Kim Uyede-Kai, minister for Communities of Faith Support and Right Relations at the Shining Waters Regional Council. In 2020 Kim published an article called “COVID-19 and the Racism Pandemic We Need To Talk About. Here is a video...

On this fifth week of Lent, Rev. Alexa speaks with Greg Cook and Lorraine Lam, outreach workers at Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto; a place in the heart of Toronto where you can go to be seen and celebrated, walked with and cared for. Guided by the Gospel, the heart and centre of this community are the very people who are often excluded in the mainstream; those experiencing poverty, lack of housing, addiction and mental health crisis. At Sanctuary, they can get meals, health clinic support, art programs, street outreach, Sunday services, and so much more.

Affirming Prayer for the Region This prayer, written by Rev. Lauren Hodgson and Rev. Sarah Chapman was offered during our celebration. The video is accompanied by Moon Joyce with her song, We Are Whole and We are Holy. (The song is in the public domain so please use it with credit to the songwriter.) Here is a PowerPoint version of the Affirming Prayer for the Region (no sound) if you would like to adapt it for your community of faith.   >Back to the...

On this fourth week of Lent, Rev. Alexa speaks with Dr. Aathish Iyappa who works at the Nair Hospital in Mumbai (Bombay) India. He consulted on the first case of COVID19 to be diagnosed in Mumbai. His 1600 bed hospital was covered to an 1100 bed COVID hospital. Dr. Aathish speaks of the lack of drugs in the early days in the early days of the pandemic, the hospital filling up and having to turn patients away, as well as the losses and miracles of life he has witnessed throughout the pandemic.

On this second week of Lent, Rev. Alexa speaks with Clive Anderson, a trauma responder who has been present at violent catastrophes such as the 2018 van attack in Toronto. In the first months of the COVID 19 pandemic, Clive was called to no less than 20 long-term care facilities to offer assistance to staff and families.