Thanks to Affirm United and Mission & Service, the Living Apology Project gave many a place to heal and to learn. Seeing the poems, laments, stories, and pieces of art created by people affected by the 1988 decision to accept LGBTQIA2S+ people as full members in The United Church of Canada was therapeutic for some; for others, it conjured up memories of anger and fear.
The late Former Moderator Anne Squire shared the first reflection on the Iridesce website:
My secretary once handed me a letter, saying, “I don’t want to give you this, but I have to.” It was from Elizabeth, outlining her work in the church; she said the last straw was the possible ordination of gay and lesbian people. She ended with “My prayer is that you will be stricken with AIDS. Yours in Christ, Elizabeth.”
Another day a big box arrived with no indication of the sender. One of my staff said, “Don’t open it; it might be a bomb.” I said, “We can’t live in fear this way.” Inside were two 10-inch cubes of acrylic; embedded in each was a metal rod that had been bent into a Greek letter. One was Alpha and the other was Omega. When someone asked what this meant, I said it meant that God was with us at the beginning of our life and will be with us at the end. I also felt that it meant that God was with us in this divisive project and would help guide us.
To answer that hurtful letter now, I say, “Yes, Elizabeth, I do have aids but not the kind you are talking about. My aids are Affirm, my family, my friends, and my faith.”
If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.
Find out more about what you and your congregation can support LGBTQIA and Two-Spirit rights.