At Red Deer Lake United Church, we choose to be a community of compassion and inclusion.
We affirm God’s unconditional love and acceptance of all people by welcoming individuals of any ethnic/cultural diversity, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic or marital status, gender identity and expression, mental health, or physical ability to all aspects of our life together.
We seek to create supportive spaces and programs that are inviting and nurturing for all.
We understand that attending church can be challenging and intimidating. By embracing everyone with open hearts and open minds, we hope to bring comfort and acceptance to those with doubts or questions, those who are new to this church, and those who are exploring what faith and spirituality mean.
Relying on God’s love and grace for guidance, we open our doors to all to celebrate our diversity and join our spiritual journey.
What is Affirming?
“Affirming” is an official designation from our denomination, the United Church of Canada, that signifies we have spent an intentional period of time (one year) exploring our inclusivity; it’s a time when we ask whether we are going to just say or embody those radically inclusive words of “welcome, wanted and accepted,” and not only towards each other but to people for whom ‘church’ is not an easy place to be. An “Affirming Church” is a church that recognizes being welcoming and hospitable takes more than politely shaking hands, but does the hard, vulnerable and intentional work of creating a space where all are made to feel welcome, wanted and accepted. There are 10 other United Churches in Calgary that are ‘Affirming’ and many more around the country. You can find more information about it here.
First and foremost, because it’s what our faith and spirituality are about. At the heart of what Jesus is about is revealing a God who loves and accepts everyone and creating a just, peaceful, and colourful world where everyone has enough and everyone has a place. Jesus called this world ‘the Kingdom of God’ and invited us to join him in creating it. The Affirming process invites us embody and practice this through helping us explore, become and be a radically hospitable and extravagantly welcoming community of Jesus, a place where people are seen, heard, and loved just. as. they. are. It helps us be the kind of Church that God is calling us to be: a people who, out of love and kindness, make room for others because room was made for them.
What Does it Mean at RDLUC?
Here’s how it’ll work:
On October 16, 2016, RDLUC voted 98% in favor of entering into the Affirming process and spend a year intentionally exploring what it means to be a Christian community called to be known for its extravagant and indiscriminate Love. It’s a big deal and naturally you’ve got questions. We’d love to have them.
Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers: FAQ
We will then spend the year beginning the conversation (the idea is that this conversation will never stop) by focusing on three things which we experience first hand in our community and society: mental health, sexuality/gender, and cultural/ethnic diversity. We’ll spend time learning about these issues; hearing stories from community members and others who are trying to reconcile faith and church with their mental health, sexual orientation/gender, or ethnicity/culture; exploring what Jesus and our scriptures would say about these things; being vulnerable with our questions, concerns, and ideas; talking about what being ‘the church’ means and looks like; hearing from churches who have gone through this already; and asking what being Affirming would look like at RDLUC. This will take us a year. And while it will not be the only thing we do and talk about, it will be a consistent and pervasive conversation. Sound like a lot? It is and it’ll be tough at times. But living out and owning a faith of love asks for nothing else, and we know God’s Spirit will be guiding us as we go. In October of 2017 we’ll have another vote, this time answering a question like: “Do we want to embody the love of God and strive to be welcoming, wanting, and accepting of all people?” If 75% or more of us answer with a resounding ‘yes!’ we will celebrate this brave move forward in our faith and begin to do what it takes to be the kind of Church that means it when it says: "You’re welcome, wanted, and accepted here! Come in. God's house is your house!"
How Can You Help?
This doesn’t work if only some of us are involved. There are all kinds of ways to be involved from, at the very least, being intentional about thinking through the questions and issues at hand, to asking questions, starting conversations with friends, or being on the planning team, to, perhaps at the very most, sharing with us your own story of why it's important to you that RDLUC become an Affirming Church. If you’d like to get connected and be a part of this process, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you find a place to help.