A poem to the United Church, contributed by an Iridesce: The Living Apology Project participant.
The Iridesce Project aspires to be a community movement of reflection and reconciliation as we approach the 30th anniversary of the vote of The United Church of Canada not to reject gay and lesbian people from membership and eligibility for ordination… and as we reflect on the past 30 years of welcome, inclusion, and affirmation of LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit people, their family, friends, and allies in our churches.
The whole church is invited to participate in this process of sharing and hearing, acknowledgement, lament, celebration, and healing. Iridesce invites many voices, and many perspectives, and hopes to move at a pace that gives time and space for these to be heard.
Words without actions can be empty. The Iridesce Project was voted for, is supported by, and has been put into action by people in a grassroots way in churches across The United Church of Canada. It is the hope of the Iridesce Project that through this process of being present with each other, sharing our stories and experiences, listening and hearing each other with compassion and care, and dialoguing together in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we can know how to not only speak the words of apology, but how to live into better relationships with each other and with God.
Everyone is warmly welcome and invited… with blessings to all in the journey.
The following poem was written by a young person who attended an Iridesce workshop in central Canada, and is shared here with permission:
A young person writes, “Let us into the story…”
By M., an Iridesce participant
I wasn’t there when it happened
I never knew that it was a “thing”
No one told me about “the Issue”
I just took it as fact.
I remember when the marriage question came out
and my Sunday School teacher left
I didn’t understand what the problem was,
Saying yes just made sense.
I knew other churches were different
—school made that pretty clear—
But I never realized the history of division
I’d unwittingly inherited.
No one really spoke of the difficulty of changing
There were whispered references made aside,
Blunt speech only started recently
And we need some help to catch up.
We know there are problems around & within us
But knowing the details makes a difference.
I didn’t really know why my friends were worried
If I had maybe I could have helped
Maybe I should have guessed
Maybe I should have known.
The rest of the world has these conflicts & divisions
Was I naive to think that my church was immune?
I think we can do better, be better
The people around me say they want that too.
Even if some of us weren’t around when it happened
I think we have something to contribute
Let us in to the story, give us an invite.
We might have grown up in a different culture
It might seem like we have all the answers
Give us a chance to learn
And walk this journey too.
I wasn’t there when it happened
but I’m here now
How can we change?
— Aaron Miechkota, Iridesce Project Coordinator
Iridesce: The Living Apology Project is a joint project of Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble and The United Church of Canada. It is funded by Mission & Service.