Dear siblings in Christ,
Ahead of PIE Day 2022 (March 14th), a small group of friends of Horseshoe Falls and Shining Waters Regional Councils came together to talk about the ways Scripture has been used – and misused – to cause harm to 2SLGBTQIA+ people. We talked about ways the United Church perpetuated that harm. We talked about how far we have come as a denomination – and how far we have left to go. We celebrated the progress that has been made and we wondered what we might offer to help communities of faith engage in an important conversation on a day that has been set apart for acknowledging our call to be Public Intentional and Explicit in inclusion of 2SLGBTQIA+ kin.
The result of our conversation is this resource – reflections on lectionary readings for March 13th , 2022 (the Sunday before PIE Day), a litany of persistence and resistance, and even a story for children’s time. We pray this offering will generate meaningful dialogue and creativity about the ways we embrace the wonderful diversity of all God’s people.
Use this resource. Share this resource. Add to this resource.
In love and solidarity,
Diane Matheson-Jimenez, Diane Viney, Geof Thompson, Jeffrey Dale, Kathy Douglas, Michelle Hogman, Michele Petick, and Susie Henderson
Communities of Faith in The United Church of Canada are invited to connect to do some thinking about all the people the letters 2S & LGBTQIA represent, and have some conversation about what it means to be Public, Intentional, and Explicit in our being Affirming.
PIE = Public. Intentional. Explicit. These are the standards we hold ourselves and our welcome to when we become affirming, welcoming, or inclusive communities. March 14 is a chance to serve some pie and roll out the PIE by celebrating the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit people in faith communities and beyond across Canada.
See The United Church of Canada website for additional resources.
A Litany of Persistence and Resistance
By Jennifer Henry and Susie Henderson
We are here
Our voices strong, bodies proud, hearts bold.
We are here
Living testimony to your great diversity
Sign and sacrament of your loving justice
For such a time as this.
R: We rise in love seeking justice.
The ways in which we have failed
Failed to take in the fulness of your love
To believe the breadth of your grace
To see the rainbow colours of Your hope.
R: We breathe in humility seeking hope.
From the traditions that constrain Your promise
The use of texts to demean and abuse
Mission that distorted Your radical welcome
R: We turn from hate seeking change.
The unfolding mystery of Your presence
Communities learning and transforming
Movements that of rites and rights that change the world
R: We open in faith seeking transformation.
We pray in the name of the Three in One
God ever in relationship,
Risking daring creation, intimate solidarity, prophetic love.
Children’s Time Story – The Love Story of David and Jonathan
By Deborah Laforet and the children of St. Paul’s United Church, Oakville
The Love Story of David and Jonathan, written by Deborah Laforet and narrated (and illustrated!) by the children of St. Paul’s United Church, Oakville, can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2tx_pR3LYc
You are welcome to use the story for children’s time, in Sunday School, or for whatever purpose makes sense in your context.
Scripture Reflections/Sermon Starters
for Sunday March 13, 2022
By Jeffrey Dale
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
God’s covenant of Abram comes with devotion and work. As we read through Genesis, we consider the ways in which we have been called in our covenant with God. For some it maybe through the ministry of preaching, pastoral care, education, justice and/or service, while for others it maybe through ensuring church buildings are maintained. We all are called by God in our ministry. In this week of PIE Day, there is a myriad of ways to consider God’s covenant with queer Christians, and the call that God gives to heterosexual Christians to respond to the queer covenant. Consider, as you are reading Genesis, how you are called to be public, intentional, and explicit. Consider how that PIE call feeds your desire to be present in relationships with queer folks throughout this church.
The psalmist invites us into considering the ways in which God comforts and protects us. For many of us, we see church as a place in which we may seek sanctuary in a world in which being who you are is often not a lived reality. We still experience spaces in which transgender people consistently experience misgendering and erasure, and gay and lesbian people experience homophobia through words and actions, while bisexuals and asexual people experience a barrage of doubt and questions. If we consider what the psalmist writes in verse four as a focal point of this particular psalm, we can acknowledge, that the desire is for us to not only be loved and understood by God, but to also be integral in the living space of God’s house. Consider, if you will, the ways in which your church has been a house of dissent, consider the ways in which your worshiping community of faith continues to be inaccessible to queer people, and then consider the ways in which you can truly work together, as a community of believers, to build God’s house in your community.
Philippians 3: 17 – 21
We live in our bodies, and as Philippians informs us, there will come an experience in which what we know physically today will be manifested in a way that is now a holy mystery to us. Reading Philippians, consider the lives and experiences of Dominque Jackson, January Marie Lapuz, and Raymond Taavel, who experienced physical violence and death because of who they were and whom they loved. Our bodies are vessels on this earth, and we embody both our relationships with one another and our experiences of God. As such, we belong to God fully and wholly. As you read through the Philippians scripture, challenge yourself to consider how the queer experience is an embodiment of God’s presence here on earth.
Luke 13: 31 – 35
It has been a regular occurrence for queer people to experience brutality at the hands of the systems of power, whether they be police, religious, or political, and yet, queer people still continue to exist. Consider for a moment the movements that existed in the United Church of Canada’s history that desired erasure of queer voices in our church, such as the Community of Concern, and yet queer people continued to show up in spaces of spirituality and religion. We have a history in the United Church of Canada where queer existence was desired to be erased, regardless of the work and care that queer people, and often we do not talk about the experiences of the trauma and damage that occurred because of the organizing against queer people in the United Church of Canada? Why? We must wonder. This week, as you are reading this passage from Luke that is about Christ’s continued presence in direct response to adversity, research and ponder, question, the ways in which members, ministry personnel and lay, of the United Church of Canada have worked to erase queer people from this church’s life – and how other members, ministry personnel and lay, fought to ensure that did not happen.
Horseshoe Falls Regional Council Website – Affirming Ministry tab
Shining Waters Regional Council Website – Affirming Communities tab
Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble and Affirming Connections PIE Day Website
Communities of Faith Minister for Equity and Innovation
Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council
Location: Teleworks from home in Toronto
Role: Susie supports the regional council in planning and policy for equity and innovation and encourages and connects communities of faith as they adapt and experiment in changing times.
Contact Susie about: Affirming Ministry; Community of Faith Mapping Project; Equity Committee; Innovative Ministry; Wellspring Blog
Minister, Justice and Faith Formation
Serves in: Shining Waters Regional Council
Location: Teleworks and works in the Guthrie office
Role: Jeffrey encourages and connects communities of faith with matters of faith and justice and the regional council in youth and young adult ministry and matters of faith formation and liaises with the General Council in this regard.
Contact Jeffrey about: Affirming Ministry; Camping Ministries; Faith Formation; Guaranteed Income; Harm Reduction; Homelessness; Poverty; Social and Eco-justice; Worship and Music; Youth and Young Adult Ministry, United Church Women (UCW)