Christians in support of SOGI123
*edit - a version of this statement and letter is available in Chinese https://tinyurl.com/supportSOGIchinese *
Honourable Rob Fleming
Minister of Education
BC Ministry of Education
PO Box 9045, Stn Prov Govt,
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
An open Letter to Honourable Rob Fleming
Dear Mr. Fleming,
We, the undersigned Christian leaders are writing to you to express our support for the SOGI 123 educational resources created for use in BC public schools. You may have heard that SOGI does not align with Christian beliefs and values and we are here to tell you otherwise.
Please receive the attached Open Letter expressing our support for resources that seek to accept, understand, and include people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and create safety for all students.
We recognize that there is a diversity of viewpoints in the Christian community, and that one can be faithful, Biblically-based, and Christ-centred without coming to the same conclusions as those found in the Accord. With a deep grounding in Scripture we come to different conclusions.
We represent many Christian denominations that worship, form community, serve neighbourhoods, and work for justice. Each of our denominations has its own unique history, traditions, and practices, and there is much diversity of thought, experience, and opinion within and between each denomination. That said, together we affirm the following:
Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, and a great diversity is reflected in that image, including a wide spectrum of unique sexualities sexual orientations and gender identities. We believe that this is a reflection of the magnitude of God’s creative work.
We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ2SIA+ people and we are committed to their recognition as fully participating members of our society, respected and honoured, with their human rights affirmed and protected.
In the gospel of Mark (9:36-37 NRSV) “Jesus took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Jesus cut across the barriers that separated people, and particularly drew people to him that were marginalized and powerless (women, children, the poor, ethnic minorities, religious “others,” etc). The first communities of Jesus’ followers struggled to live out the inclusive community that Jesus had called for, and we still strive for this today. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbour, that means all our neighbours. We are always called to reach out to those on the margins and give them a place of welcome, safety and belonging.
We acknowledge the research that tells us that members of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community are at highest risk for bullying, depression, and suicide. When these folks are also members of other marginalized communities (e.g. aboriginal, people of colour, people with disabilities and/or mental health issues), they are even more at risk. We believe that our schools should not only be places of safety, but places where we learn together how to honour the differences and gifts of each person.
Worldwide, the LGBTQ2SIA+ community continues to be scapegoated and persecuted, and we are ashamed that our Christian faith is used to oppress the most vulnerable among us. The Good News of Jesus Christ is that ALL people are beloved children of God, and that God takes joy in the beauty of our diversity.
SOGI resources are a tool we affirm to help create classrooms and schools that are inclusive of all students, and promote respect and understanding between all people. We strongly support the Ministry of Education as it seeks to provide teachers with resources to help foster SOGI-inclusive classroom environments in BC schools.
Rev. Erin Sterling, Sooke, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Graham K. Brownmiller, New Westminster, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Shannon Tennant, Port Coquitlam, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Kristen Steele, Langley, BC (ELCIC)
Rev. Jay P. Olson, Richmond, BC (UCCan)
Rev. David Cathcart, Port Coquitlam, BC (UCCan)
Elder Kathy McAdam, Burnaby, BC (Community of Christ)
Rev. Sandra Nixon, Richmond, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Maggie Watts-Hammond, Richmond, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Ivy Thomas, Kelowna, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Diane Halkett, Maple Ridge, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Kathryn Self Ransdell, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Will Sparks, Surrey, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Jennifer Swanson, Langley, BC (UCCan)
Rev. David Taylor, Langley, BC (ACC)
Rev. Andrew Halladay, Langley, BC (ACC)
Rev. Leonard Fraser, Prince George, BC (ACC)
Rev. Wendy Adams, Armstrong, BC (PCC)
Rev. Brenda Fawkes, North Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Debra Bowman, Squamish, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Karen Medland, Chilliwack, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Kimiko Karpoff, New Westminster, BC (UCCan)
Rev. LeAnn Blackert, Kamloops, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Kathleen Martin, Surrey, BC (ELCIC)
S. Blair Odney, Minister, New Westminster, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Lorraine Ashdown, Bowen Island, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Karen Millard, Squamish, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Jenny Carter, Salmon Arm, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Jennifer Marlor, Tofino, BC (ELCIC/ACC)
Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Robin Jacobson, North Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Rhian Walker, Burnaby, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Beth Hayward, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Nancy Talbot, North Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Sally McShane, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Aneeta Devi Saroop, Victoria, BC (ELCIC serving ACC)
Rev. Brenda Nestegaard Paul, Port Alberni, BC (ELCIC/ACC)
Rev. Heidi Brear, West Vancouver, BC (ACC)
Rev. Christoph Reiners, Richmond, BC (ELCIC)
Rev. Ingrid Brown, Courtenay, BC (UCCan)
Major (Ret’d) the Rev. Jim Short MMM CD, Ladner, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Dr. Bob K. Fillier, Prince George, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Scott Swanson, Langley, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Victoria Andrews, Prince George, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Bill Booth, Abbotsford, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Diana Edis, Prince Rupert, BC (ELCIC)
Carla Wilks, Minister, Burnaby, BC (UCCan)
Colin Brown, Minister, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Kerry Child, Minister, Surrey, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Curt Allison, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Joy McAdam, Burnaby, BC (Community of Christ)
Rev. Nathan Fong, Burnaby, BC (ELCIC)
Marie Paul, Minister, Burnaby, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Mary Nichol, Surrey, BC (UCCan)
Jennifer Cunnings, Minister, Surrey, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Leenane Shiels, Maple Ridge, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Michelle Slater, Victoria, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Rebekah Swanson, Vancouver, BC (ELCIC)
Pamela Evans, Minister, New Westminster, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Mark Green, Victoria, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Karen Verveda, Sidney, BC (UCCan)
Rev. Dan Chambers, Vancouver, BC (UCCan)
Please note those signing are expressing their own views and not necessarily those of their congregation or denomination.
UCCan = The United Church of Canada
ACC = The Anglican Church of Canada
ELCIC = The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
PCC = The Presbyterian Church in Canada
For further reading here are faithful, Christian statements from some of our denominations on the subject of human sexuality.
The United Church of Canada statement on Human Sexuality: https://www.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/r...
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada statement on Human Sexuality: http://elcic.ca/Human-Sexuality/documents/APPROVED...
The Anglican Church of Canada guide to conversations about Human Sexuality:
The Presbyterian Church in Canada Letter of Repentance, Study Documents and more: https://presbyterian.ca/sexuality/
Letter written by the national bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in response to the SOGI debate: http://elcic.ca/From-the-Bishop/documents/LetterFr...
Community of Christ statement on the Worth of Persons (page 28): https://www.cofchrist.org/common/cms/resources/Doc...