The Humber Valley United Church is inviting residents to an event this weekend to celebrate it becoming an affirming ministry where LGBTQ individuals will be welcomed.
Minister for Justice and Faith Formation at the Shining Waters and Canadian Shield Regional Councils, Jeffrey Dale (they/them), is a preacher, guest speaking at the church’s celebration on Sunday.
Dale says becoming an affirming church means “intentionally looking at their relationship with queer and gender diverse people, and how they can better serve those people.”
They noted they are both queer and gender diverse themself, and the work they do in affirming ministries is close to their heart.
“I would not be invited into leadership positions or be invited to feel safe in a majority of churches throughout Canada or the world,” they said to NOW Toronto on Friday. “So for me, this allows me to feel like I have a home, that I can practice my faith, and live it out in a safe and secure environment.”
Dale says this also provides hope for younger people who are stuck in situations where their family isn’t affirming or supporting them.
They say it’s important for youth, “to know that there are people out there in their world and in their community who can see them, who care about them, and to want them to live their authentic life.”
The service and celebration is set for Jan. 22 at 10:30 a.m.
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto also has a list of LGBTQIA+ positive faith groups and places of worship.