By Joel Den Haan, Regional Ministries Director

Merle Ann May

On Labour Day weekend, I had the opportunity to join with a wide range of United Church and St. Andrew’s folks as part of Pride Calgary 2018. Merle Ann May and I held the St. Andrew’s and Deer Park banner as part of the Affirming Ministries network, and Kiran McKee from Deer Park led logistics to get the group together for the Pride parade. Shelley Den Haan was on hand taking photos and videos which you can enjoy on the St. Andrew’s website and social media channels. Liz Duguid was decorating the Affirming float. Thank you, Merle Ann, Kiran, Liz, Shelley, and all the others who were part of the experience!

Walking in the Pride parade with other Affirming United Churches in Calgary, I was struck by the growth of the movement over recent years. There were a lot more United Church people visible and active in the Pride event, than was the case just a few short years ago. And as I experienced the event, I recognized that St. Andrew’s and Regional Ministries’ impact extends well beyond having people parading together.

YYC Campus Ministry

Throughout the United Church presence at Pride Calgary 2018, St. Andrew’s and Regional Ministries showed we are having an impact:

• YYC Campus Ministries were on hand and lively, with Rev. Tim Nethercott, Robert Massey and Zoe Say actively involved along with a great group in the parade.  St. Andrew’s and Regional Ministries are longstanding supporters of this great work for young adults in our city.

• As part of the YYC Campus Ministries group, we could find a number of young people from St. Andrew’s and from our Regional Youth and Young Adults ministry- another sign of the positive impact we are having in our community.

• CQC (Calgary Queer Church) representatives rode on the Affirming Ministries float, and were heavily involved in putting participation together.  Regional Ministries supports CQC as an outreach to our friends in the LGBTQ+ community.

• The Affirming Ministries Network had a living presence at Pride in the Park, with a booth hosted by Bryon Delarue from Deer Park and others. St. Andrew’s and Regional Ministries provided resource development support for the Network’s display and information brochure;
• A little further into the Pride in the Park displays, we found Pam Rocker with her promotion for the Affirming Connections ministry.  This is a key new initiative linking Regional Ministries with Calgary Presbytery to facilitate connections amongst Affirming faith groups and other community groups across the city.  Pam was having a great time, and it was good to see people in the crowd really responding.
As I reflect on Pride Calgary 2018, I feel blessed and hopeful to see so much St. Andrew’s and Regional Ministries  support behind a wide range of Affirming initiatives in the wide, wild, and wonderful Pride experience.  Thank you to St. Andrew’s participants, and to all our partners in building Regional Ministries!  We have chosen mission as our first priority- and Pride Calgary 2018 shows that our missional impact is spreading outward like ripples across water!

More Photos of Affirming Faith Communities and Ministries at Calgary Pride on the United Church of Canada’s ANW Conference website Click HERE