Within the churches' responsibility to promote systemic justice, the struggle for gender justice—including respect for sexual diversity—is fundamental. Through this struggle we seek to transform structures and systems in order to be faithful to God's vision for humanity and creation as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We live in a world broken by poverty, systemic and domestic violence, and oppressive patriarchal structures. These realities, which are magnified by the effects of globalization, take root even in our churches. Globally, the majority of people in the world are denied justice and access to decision-making and power, denying them the fullness of life. The injustices that result from this brokenness most heavily affect women and sexual minorities.
Information and Action
- Gender Justice and Partnership Guidelines [PDF: 14 pp/62 KB]
In 1998, the United Church held a four-day consultation—including nine global partners—to look at gender justice and its relationship to partnership, resulting in these guidelines.
- GLBTT Consultations 2011
At these consultations, gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirited, transgender people, and allies, told stories, voiced observations about homophobia and hetersexism, and expressed hopes for the future.
- Sexual Orientation
The United Church has a history of affirming all human beings regardless of sexual orientation, including a call in 2003 to the Government of Canada to recognize same-sex marriage.
- Transgender and Gender Diversity
Resources to encourage the participation and ministry of transgender people in the life of the church and to prepare individuals and churches to receive such participation and ministry.
Related Partners and Programs
The United Church works in partnership with organizations in Canada and around the world to address issues of gender justice and sexual diversity, including:
- Affirm United
An organization of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in The United Church of Canada working to provide the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the church and society.
- Centro Esperanza ("Hope Centre," Chiclayo, Peru)
The centre has developed an innovative program with teachers to address gender issues with children in primary and secondary schools.
- Christian Council of Tanzania
The council's human rights program aims to reduce female genital mutilation, engage and involve women in all aspects of democratization and development, and overcome sexual and domestic violence.
- Korean Women's Worker's Association (KWWA)
KWWA plays a leading role in South Korea to reform laws related to women workers such as equal opportunity, child care, abolishing poverty, and increasing the rights of women in workplaces.
- PROMESA Seminary (Colombia)
The Open Theological Studies Ministerial Program, with campuses in Bogotá and Medellín, has broadened is horizons with regard to gender and sexual orientation, adopting a pastoral attitude that is "more coherent with the liberating grace of the gospel."
- Union of Salaried Home Workers (Cochabamba, Bolivia)
The union provides a space for women who work as domestic employees (many of whom are Indigenous youth from the surrounding countryside) to learn new skills, share a safe space, and organize to defend their rights.
United Church communities work on issues of gender justice and sexual diversity through a variety of initiatives at the local and regional level. Here follow a few examples from several Conferences:
The Daring Hope for Gender Justice Network offers a gender justice educational breakfast or lunch at every Conference annual meeting.
- Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario
MNWO became an Affirming Conference in 2008. In Winnipeg, Rainbow Ministry works as a visible sign of the care and concern of the church for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two spirited, and queer persons and their families and friends.
The Conference has an Affirming Ministry Committee that works with congregations discerning to become an Affirming Ministry, and designates one Sunday a year as Affirming Ministry Sunday while providing worship resources.
For more information on initiatives in your local area, please contact your local Conference office.
Background, Resources, and Links
- Affirming Congregations and Ministries
The Affirming Congregation Program provides materials to guide a group to create opportunities to study the issues of inclusion and welcoming of diverse peoples into their life and work of service.
For more information, please contact: