Rainbow Communion is a special committee formed by the 2017 General Assembly that has been empowered to invite LGBTQI people to tell stories of harm done to them within and by the church; and to share their stories of God’s grace experienced by them in Christian ministry. Those who wish to will be encouraged to share their stories by whatever means is best for them (orally, in writing or through face-to-face conversations).
Safe and Respectful
Rainbow Communion is working hard to ensure that a confidential, safe, affirming and respectful space is created for people to share their experiences. The Committee will report to future General Assemblies and recommend concrete actions to address and respond to homophobia in the church. The name “Rainbow Communion” was selected by the committee to intentionally reflect its mandate and purpose.
Communion: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
Rainbow: A term and symbol often used to represent the inclusion of the full diversity of people and emphasizing the inclusion of persons who identify as sexual and/or gender minorities.
LGBTQI is an acronym used to refer to people whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual and/or whose gender identity does not conform either to binary male/female categories or the “assigned” gender at birth. LGBTQI is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex.
Co-Conveners: The Rev. Dr. Bob Faris (Toronto, ON), Ms Sue Senior (Waterloo, ON)
Members: The Rev. Dr. Tim Archibald (New Minas, NS), the Rev. Joseph Bae (Thornhill, ON), the Rev. Dr. Jean Morris (Calgary, AB), Ms Sydney O’Brien (Oakville, ON), Ms Bassma Younan (Aurora, ON)
The Committee met on Sept. 15–16, Nov. 16, 2017, Jan. 10–11, 2018, and will meet again on Feb. 15 and Mar. 8–9.
Email (rainbowcommunion [at] presbyterian [dot] ca) or call 1-800-619-7301 ext. 600. All messages are kept confidential.
The PCC LGBTQI Listening Committee (“Rainbow Communion”) is currently developing a process to invite people to share their stories with us, to gather those stories (in a variety of media) and to create a safe affirming environment while doing so.
Rainbow Communion welcomes communication that supports the creation of a safe and respectful environment in which confidentiality is assured. We also encourage people to tell their stories of harm done within and by the church, and to share stories of God’s grace experienced by them and Christian ministry performed by them, even in the midst of the challenges they have faced. This is not a forum or means for discernment around the question of full inclusion of LGBTQI persons, but rather a process where those who wish to share their experiences or ask questions of the committee may reach out to do so.
All email that relates to the content outlined above will receive a reply within a reasonable amount of time. However, any communication that includes personal attacks or defamatory comments will not be answered, but may instead be reported to the Presbyterian Church in Canada and/or appropriate legal authorities where warranted. Respectful dialogue is expected and welcomed.
Options and process regarding communication with the committee to share stories via telephone, in person meetings, and/or mail by post will be provided at a later time.
rainbowcommunion [at] presbyterian [dot] ca
1-800-619-7301 / 416-441-1111 (ext: 600)
At the General Assembly in 2017, a special committee was created with the following terms of reference:
- The Special Committee shall create a safe and respectful environment in which confidentiality is assured, in order to encourage LGBTQI people:
- to tell their stories of harm done to them within and by the church; and
- to share their stories of God’s grace experienced by them and Christian ministry performed by them, even in the midst of the challenges they have faced.
- The Special Committee shall invite LGBTQI people to submit their stories orally or in writing. Stories will be included in the committee’s report to a future General Assembly with permission of those who have shared.
- The Special Committee shall make use of relevant documents of the church, including but not limited to:
- the 1994 Human Sexuality Report;
- Body, Mind and Soul study document and the individual responses received by the Life and Mission Agency and the Committee on Church Doctrine to it; and
- any other such documents as the committee may deem relevant.
- The Special Committee shall provide an appropriate response to the issue of homophobia within The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
- The Special Committee shall recommend concrete actions addressing homophobia to the General Assembly for implementation within the church.
- The Special Committee shall report its progress at each upcoming General Assembly, with a final report by or before the 2020 General Assembly.
- The Special Committee shall be made up of seven members drawn from across the church. The Special Committee shall be reflective of the ethnic diversity of the denomination and shall include at least two members of the LGBTQI community.
- The Assembly Council shall be instructed to support the Special Committee with an appropriate budget and appropriate document support.