What is a designated “Affirming Congregation”?
An “Affirming Congregation” is one that has intentionally reflected upon what it means to be inclusive and that has evaluated its openness to the ongoing work of being intentional about how it welcomes and includes others within the life and work of the church. All barriers to those wishing to be a part of the congregation are explored, particularly, though not only, those around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. For more information, check out Affirm United.
History of Inclusion The process of inclusivity at St. Mark’s began more than 20 years ago and continues a tradition that began earlier within The United Church of Canada.
- 1936 UCC Ordination of Women
- 1988 UCC After a 12 year process to democratically consider and debate the issue, decided not to bar members who are gay or lesbian from consideration for ordered ministry.
- 1970’s St. Mark’s Edith Littleford became the first woman chair of the Board
- 1989 St. Mark’s Began extending care to people and families living and dying with HIV/AIDS.
- 2000 St. Mark’s Adopted a policy to participate in same-gender covenanting services.
- 2003 St. Mark’s Covenanting policy extended to same-gender marriage.
- 2004 St. Mark’s Adopted new marriage policy: Celebrating Marriages and Relationships
- 2006 St. Mark’s Joint Needs Assessment Report indicates Congregation’s desire to be inclusive and to explore the “Affirming Congregation” designation.
- 2007 St. Mark’s Adopted New Mission Statement confirming intentionality to be inclusive.
St. Mark’s celebrates its history of evolving practices and processes that have welcomed full participation of everyone and continues to be committed to facilitating full involvement of individuals or groups who might otherwise be unable to participate.