(A shared message from Saskatoon Affirming Ministries of The United Church of Canada)
To all our LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit friends and relations,
On behalf of Saskatoon Affirming Ministries of The United Church, we wish to express our deepest concern, love and solidarity for all who have been hurt by the hate-filled vandalism of this past week. As ministries that seek to be public, intentional and explicit in our support for LGBTQIA+ and Two Spirit people, we are outraged at the condemnation and harm directed towards our friends and relations. We want you to know that we stand with you in opposition to the kind of hatred and religious bigotry expressed in these acts of vandalism. We stand with you in resisting such attitudes in society and within religions, including our own Christian faith tradition. We stand with you in love.
Whenever hate and prejudice are given voice, it has an impact. You or someone you know may be experiencing heightened feelings of fear and anxiety in the wake of these incidents. This may have re-opened old wounds caused by past experiences of bullying or other violence. Some may feel consumed by anger, sadness or despair. Some may simply feel numb. Whatever you may be feeling, how ever you have been impacted by these terrible events, we want you to know that you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, someone to pray with you, or just someone who will listen, we are here for you.
While these attacks have highlighted the homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that are very much alive in our society, the response from people in this city and across Canada has shown just how much love and care and strength we share in community. The outpouring of solidarity etched in chalk on sidewalks, painted in windows, splashed across social media makes it clear that love is stronger than fear and hate. We hope that you feel our love and the love from so many others that surrounds you and holds you during this difficult and painful time.
In peace and solidarity,
Saskatoon Affirming Ministries of The United Church of Canada
Grosvenor Park United Church
Rev. Nobuko Iwai
McClure United Church
Rev. Debra Berg
Rev. Laura Fouhse
St. Andrew’s College at the University of Saskatchewan
Dea. Dr. Richard Manley-Tannis
St. Martin’s United Church
Rev. Jordan Cantwell
Rev. Keith Hall
St. Thomas Wesley United Church
Rev. Briain Maitland