As I write this on May 12, I am aware that 25 years ago to this day, Kamloops United Church voted to become an Affirming Congregation within the United Church of Canada. One of the first congregations in Canada to do so! This was a bold move within the church, and I congratulation the members and adherents of that day for their faithfulness and witness to the Gospel in doing so.
Yesterday we pre-taped the worship service. Thank you to the KUC Affirm Committee that did most of the planning for the service. You will be able to view the service on Sunday on the Kamloops United Church YouTube page. At the end of the service, as Tomas was playing the postlude, I thought how important being “affirming” is at KUC. It is in our DNA. Being affirming is not just being open to the LGBTQ2S+ community. It means that KUC is a safe and welcoming place for all, regardless of age, colour, ethnicity, or ability. Given the events in the media over the past number of months, I am coming to see that this is something that is rare in many places in our society.
A couple of weeks ago, I was touched by the scripture reading of the eunuch meeting the Apostle Philip. Here he was, a transgender black person who was from a far land who comes and asks, “Can I be baptized?” Baptism is the rite of inclusion and belonging in the Christian Church. At first Philip is hesitant but then the Spirit, according to the story, speaks and Philip realized how everyone is welcome to be a part of the Christian faith. His eyes are opened to the understanding that all are created in the many faceted image of God.
Twenty-five years ago, the Spirit moved again. This time it was upon Kamloops United Church. Here in 2021 we celebrate that the congregation that had the courage to heed that Spirit.