Affirming Congregation

Report for Affirm United – May 2021

Despite the pandemic this year has been a busy and interesting one for our committee. Social Isolation continued to be our focus, and we all felt that we had a much better understanding of what this means due to our own experiences.
Our chair has continued to attend the Affirming Network meetings of Horseshoe Falls, Western Ontario Waterways and Antler River Watershed Regions via Zoom. The Regions have all become affirming and will be celebrating with a worship service on June 6th. The group continues to support each other and encourage other congregations as they consider becoming Affirming.

In March we joined together with St Paul’s, Oakville, and Port Nelson, Burlington to provide a workshop for Affirm United’s PIE (Public, Intentional, Explicit) Day when Rev. Michael Blair was the keynote speaker on the topic of Intersectionality.
Our chair continues to be part of a support group with three West end GTA Affirming congregations. We have supported each other throughout the year and two members of the group participated in the United in Learning Racial Justice Workshop.

Rev. Joanne continues her involvement with Interfaith Groups. She is on the Steering Committee of the Interfaith Council of Peel. Along with her, some members of our congregation attended the virtual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in Mississauga in February.

We have continued to stay connected with local organizations through Facebook, emails and newsletters and have been able to attend virtual webinars and workshops which have been offered.

The committee is currently involved in a book study on white privilege based on a publication from the Canadian Council of Churches titled Cracking open White identity towards transformation. We are planning to widen this discussion with our congregation in the near future.

In place of face to face events we have used the Zoom platform to provide workshops for our congregation and the wider community to help them as they cope with pandemic life. Through these events participants have been able to check in and help each other find support and many different ways to deal with isolation. The committee has also provided articles, links and ideas in our weekly newsletter to the congregation which have focused on a wide variety of topics.

A member of our committee researches significant dates and events each month and that information is published in our weekly announcements, on our bulletin boards and our ‘Welcome Mat’, a TV at our main entrance with rolling pictures and information.

Rev. Joanne is on the Advisory Board of the East Mississauga Community Health Centre. Through that connection we were able to complete an Indigenous Awareness Certification Course which has broadened our knowledge and understanding.

We keep our committee information on our church website up to date, attaching the Territorial Acknowledgement and previous yearly reports to Affirm United.

On May 2nd we celebrated the 7th anniversary of becoming an Affirming congregation when we welcomed Rev. Michael Blair as our guest.

Our ‘Mindful Steps’ subgroup continues to bring environmental issues to the attention of the congregation. Our regular cleanups of Cawthra Road in our community are on hold due to the pandemic, as is an electronics recycling event. One project which has been completed is planting a Blooming Boulevard on our property. This is comprised of native plants which attract bees and butterflies. The group also puts information and educational links in our weekly newsletter.

It has been a busy year and our committee continues to actively promote justice education in many different areas under the ‘Affirming’ umbrella.

Respectfully submitted
Anne Moore for the Applewood Affirming Committee