Our February 2016 Council meeting in Toronto covered a lot of ground. Please click here for a full update from your elected co-chairs.
Among the highlights:
Welcoming a number of new members from British Columbia and Saskatchewan; connecting with Jordan Sullivan, our staff connection at the General Council office; a conversation with the Moderator; and work on program priorities such as our July annual conference; the United Church’s Living Apology and its intercultural vision; expanding our network of Affirming ministries while increasing support for existing ministries. Read on—this is your Council at work.
We welcomed new members Chris Mann (BC), David Cathcart (BC), and Cindy Bourgeois (SK) to their first in-person Council meeting. We missed the presence of new Council member Serena Patterson (BC). We were especially pleased to welcome Cindy Bourgeois as secretary and member of the Executive.
Your 2016 Council:
Front, left-right: Michiko Bown-Kai (co-chair) and David Cathcart.
Second row: Jen Carter-Morgan, Judy Amsbury, Chris Mann, Jordan Sullivan (General Council staff).
Back: Julie Graham (AUSE staff), Collin Smith (co-chair), Warren MacDougall, Jenni Leslie, John Calhoun, Cindy Bourgeois, Marco Ste-Marie.
We also appreciated our conversation with the Moderator of the United Church, Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell. And we welcomed our time with Jordan Sullivan, who is our staff connection in the General Council office.
We are thrilled to see that Continue reading
The United Church of Canada is unique to the Canadian context, but it holds a global identity through a wide range of church partners who share in common traditions or ministries. One of the United Church’s longest-running partnerships is with the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, a relationship which moved closer to full communion at last summer’s General Council meeting.
This is a significant relationship for both churches; as United Church members accompany the PROK in its justice work, PROK members have been involved in the United Church’s own work on intercultural ministries and the intersections of racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Across and between both churches, there is an ongoing exchange of students, clergy, and ideas; in the fall of 2015, River Bend Presbytery, an Affirming ministry in Saskatoon, sent a delegation to Incheon Presbytery as part of a long-term commitment to deepening relationships with our partner church.
Rev. Laura Fouhse ministers at McClure United Church in Saskatoon, which became an Affirming ministry early this year. She writes, “In November of 2015 I travelled to South Korea with a group from my River Bend Presbytery in Saskatchewan in a continued effort to build a partnership with the Incheon Presbytery in the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea (the PROK).
During our visit, we heard of a PROK congregation in Seoul that was welcoming of LGBT folks. We learned that this congregation was under constant persecution from the wider church, and the secular community, so decided to take a trip into Seoul to visit and offer our support. Continue reading
5th November 2015
by Suh Yeon Chang
Hello, My name is Suh Yeon Chang. I’m a human rights lawyer and LGBTI activist from South Korea. I want to thank you to have this opportunity to talk about the LGBTI human rights defenders’ situation in South Korea.
First of all, I’d like to tell you about LGBTI rights situation. This activism started over 20 years ago, and we have seen many institutional changes, incidents, and movements including the National Human Rights Commission Act in 2001, and the legal gender recognition of transgender people in the Supreme Court in 2006.
But backlash by anti-LGBTI Christian groups became stronger since 2007. In 2007, these groups pressured the Ministry of Justice to delete “sexual orientation” from the grounds of discrimination in the Anti-Discrimination Bill. To my surprise, the Ministry indeed deleted “sexual orientation” from the Bill. But finally it didn’t pass, because opposition groups were against the actual Bill itself. As consequence, there’s no Anti-Discrimination Act in Korea.
Since the failure to legislate the act in 2007, anti-LGBTI Christian groups became more and more aggressive. Continue reading