‘Where were you and what you were doing in 1988?’ Aaron Miechkota, the coordinator of IRIDESCE, the Living Apology Project asked the participants to put themselves into the context of 1988. IRIDESCE is a national project of story-sharing and dialogue with people affected by the Church’s 1988 decision – the historical declaration that “all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of the United Church of Canada, and therefore are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry.” These stories would then help the church to discern if, and how, it might live into an apology to the church’s LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people.
I was among the 30 participants last Sunday, listening to the painful yet sacred stories of how our LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people have struggled to find home within the church. We were invited to express our emotions with our bodies. The word I chose was ‘resiliency’. Each participant also wrote a poem, prayer or letter in response to their faithful witnesses and journeys. The following was my small and humble poem. Please visit iridesce.ca to find out more, and to add your own story of how the 1988 decision made an impact on you.
Who do you think you are
When you think you can judge people by appearances?
What do we mean when we say “I know so and so”?
We, all of us, are so diverse and mysterious.
The whole humanity is diminished, the beauty we share within us weeps every time when there is discrimination, prejudice
against sexual orientation, gender expression, or skin colour.
It’s time for the whole humanity to wake up
to the love which knows no bounds
to the respect that the holy in you
is as precious as the holy in me.
So let’s work together my friends,
until everyone feels loved and welcomed.