WE ARE AN AFFIRMING MINISTRY…. We declare that St Thomas United Church is an Open and Affirming congregation. We believe that all people are sacred in the eyes of God, welcome at God’s table, and entitled to full and equal participation in the life of the church.
We recognize that churches have historically condemned and excluded some persons and groups of persons through active effort or complicit silence. In response to our understanding of Christ’s invitation to the table, we declare that we will continue our struggle to be open and affirming of all, regardless of age, ethnic, cultural or spiritual background, gender identity, sexual orientation, family composition, and physical or mental capabilities, and we will work to show our understanding of God’s world as a place of diversity and justice by our actions and witness to the world.
As an inclusive church, respectful of our differences and loving in our solidarity, St Thomas United Church publicly affirms the following fundamental principles that have guided our actions in the past and will continue to guide them in the future:
- All are welcome in our faith community regardless of age, colour, ethnic, religious or linguistic background, gender, gender identity, social or economic circumstances, sexual orientation, and physical or mental capabilities.
- All members and adherents of St Thomas are welcome to serve in any appropriate position within the Church, in accordance with their desires and abilities.
- All services offered by the Church, including baptism, marriage, communion, and pastoral care, are available to all members and adherents of St. Thomas.
Yes, Affirming, as a gateway, means gay rights. Even more it means human rights, it means equal rights for all – to be truly respectful and accepting, to make all people feel safe and welcome regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, family composition or economic circumstance. Affirming means developing relationships, with a real desire for equality and acceptance. It is our hope that we speak the language of everyone. Affirming is something like welcoming newcomers – it continues long after the declaration and the initial journey. St. Thomas is and always has been a friendly, welcoming place to be. We signify publicly that we are intentional in being fully inclusive, welcoming, accepting and respectful of all people regardless of differences.
Our goals are – to truly be accepting and respectful, to make ALL people feel safe and welcome, to be committed to equal human rights for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, age, economic circumstance, gender id, ethnicity, marital status, etc. , to embrace and celebrate diversity in the circle of God’s love. It is our hope that we speak the language of everyone.
What does Affirming mean? It means that a congregation is intentional in being fully inclusive, welcoming, accepting and respectful of all people regardless of sexual orientation, ethnicity, status, age, economic circumstance, etc. It means that we truly are the embodiment of unconditional love and truly believe the mantra of “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. No one should be on the outside.
In 1984, The United Church of Canada affirmed our acceptance of all human beings as persons made in the image of God, regardless of their sexual orientation. In 1988, the church affirmed that all persons who profess faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of their sexual orientation, are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry. Today we celebrate the changes in the denomination and we continue to challenge the church to be true to its calling, as encouraged in Micah 6 – to seek justice, show constant love and walk humbly with our God.
Open Hands, Open Hearts, Open Minds – we consistently succeed in being warm, friendly and hospitable as a church family. Clearly St. Thomas has a passion for inclusion! Our decision to go forward with this important ministry is a key achievement in conversations that need to matter in our society. Congratulations to our congregation who remain wholeheartedly committed to these values through our actions, faith statement and deeds.
We support the Calgary Pride Parade annually.
Camp fYrefly is an educational, social, and personal learning retreat for sexual and gender minority (LGBTTIQ) and allied youth. It focuses on building and nurturing their leadership potential and personal resiliency in an effort to help them learn how to make significant contributions to their own lives and to their schools, home/group-home environments, and communities. The Camp is designed for sexual and gender minority and allied youth between the ages of 14 and 24. Camp fYrefly