From Vicki McPhee, Presider, and Treena Duncan, Executive Minister, Chinook Winds Regional Council
The Chinook Winds Regional Council of The United Church of Canada in Central and South Alberta wishes to convey its solidarity with the Baptist 2SLGBTQ+ community of Calgary and beyond. We are deeply concerned about the developments unfolding in the congregational life of the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada that would exclude people based on their sexual orientation, and seek to remove credentials from ministers who would affirm 2SLGBTQ+ people in their congregations. We reject the harmful notion that churches and ministers who are inclusive should be removed from their denominations. We wish to express our desire to continue to walk with the 2SLGBTQ+ community in a public, intentional and explicit way, as we collectively strive for justice and inclusion in faith life for all people regardless of gender expression or sexual orientation.
We also acknowledge and wholeheartedly agree with the recent Federal legislation that was passed on January 7, 2022, criminalizing conversion “therapy”. (Conversion “therapy,” as it has been called, seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or gender identity to cisgender.) We do not believe that seeking to change someone’s self-identified sexuality or gender identity is Biblical, and we support the eradication of all forms of conversion therapy. We are seeing an increase in religious anti-2SLGBTQ+ rhetoric in response to this legislation, and are committed to continuing to speak out about the love of God that is available to all.
The United Church of Canada affirms that the diversity of gender expression and sexual orientation are gifts from God and that all persons are made in the image of God. We welcome into full membership and ministry people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Beliefs that would exclude people based on sexual orientation must be confronted publicly, intentionally and explicitly. The inclusion of 2SLGBTQ+ people is not only the requirement of human rights but a faithful action. It is the Christian responsibility to live loving, inclusive and justice filled lives not only for ourselves as Christians, but for our neighbours as well.
As part of the United Church of Canada, the Chinook Winds Regional Council seeks to eliminate sexism, misogyny, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. We also know that we, too, can be found guilty of these forms of oppression. We acknowledge the roles that Christianity, and religion in general, play in such oppression. We hear the call to take action to end all forms of discrimination. We are committed to journeying to a world where all people live in justice and peace together.
The Affirming United Churches in Central and Southern Alberta can be found HERE. These Communities of Faith have a deep commitment to the principles, actions and theologies of 2SLGBTQ+ Affirming Ministry.
To all 2SLGBTQ+ individuals, we celebrate and affirm you as you are. We believe the Light of God shines through all of us, in all our diversity.
Vicki McPhee, Presider, Chinook Winds Regional Council
Treena Duncan, Executive Minister, Chinook Winds Regional Council