Rainbow Pathways: Exploring LGBTQI2+ Welcome and Inclusion

When: This course is comprised of four modules which will be offered on Saturday, November 6 and Saturday, November 13, 2021, 1 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern).

What: Ministry leaders are invited to participate in this free online course to learn how to recognize barriers to LGBTQI2+ people in local ministry contexts and how to take further steps towards welcome and inclusion.

Learn more and Register Today

Note: Your patience is appreciated as we update the website to reflect decisions made at the 2021 General Assembly to adopt the Remits B and C regarding marriage and ordination of LGBTQI people. Read more here.

For the past several decades, The Presbyterian Church in Canada has studied and discussed questions related to sexuality, particularly questions related to same-sex marriage and the roles of LGBTQI people in ministry. During the 2021 General Assembly, The Presbyterian Church in Canada agreed to make changes to its theology and practice regarding marriage, recognizing that people may define marriage either as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman or as a covenant relationship between two adult people. These decisions provide Presbyterian ministers with liberty of conscience and the freedom to choose to officiate or not officiate at the marriages of same-sex couples. Additionally, the church agreed that LGBTQI people (whether married or single) can be ordained and are welcome to serve as ministers and ruling elders.

In 1994, the church recognized that we are called to be a welcoming, nurturing, loving and supportive community, a true church family, and to repent of homophobia and hypocrisy. In 2017, the church formed a special committee (also known as the Rainbow Communion) to listen to the stories of LGBTQI people and others related to harms done due to homophobia, transphobia, hypocrisy and/or heterosexism to them within and by the church and to share their stories of God’s grace experienced by them and Christian ministry. The Rev. Peter Bush, Moderator of the 2017 General Assembly, wrote a letter of repentance to LGBTQI people and reminding the church of God’s call to be a community where we welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us.

In 2021, General Assembly adopted the final report and recommendations of the Rainbow Communion, which outline ways for the church to acknowledge harm to LGBTQI people through public confession and apology, as well as necessary policies and programs that will help the church include LGBTQI people more fully in all aspects of ministry. A fund will also be established to support psychotherapy or counselling for those who have experienced harm done by homophobia, hypocrisy, transphobia and heterosexism in the denomination.

The pages below provide links to decisions and statements the church has made regarding sexuality, resources for study and discussion, and pastoral care resources. If you have any questions or would like to request further resources, contact Carragh Erhardt, Program Coordinator – Sexuality and Inclusion.

Reports and Decisions
Discussion and Study Resources
Pastoral Care and Liturgical Resources

Links to Resources

As ministries of The Presbyterian Church in Canada discern their next steps following the adoption of Remits B and C, 2019 at the 2021 General Assembly, the following resources may be helpful for study or review:

Social Action Hub
Read about The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s statements and actions regarding gender, sexuality and LGBTQI inclusion.

Letter of Repentance (2018)
At the direction of the 2017 General Assembly, the Moderator issued a Letter of Repentance to LGBTQI people and all who have been harmed by homophobia and hypocrisy in the church.

Rainbow Communion
In 2017, the General Assembly formed a Special Committee re: LGBTQI Listening (also known as Rainbow Communion) to hear stories of harm experienced by LGBTQI people and others, and to provide an appropriate response to the issue of homophobia, hypocrisy, transphobia and heterosexism in the denomination.

Provisional Guidelines to Facilitate Calls and Election of LGBTQI Candidates
The Clerks of Assembly have prepared provisional guidelines to facilitate the calls and election of LGBTQI candidates which outlines relevant information about human rights legislation, liberty of conscience, and pastoral considerations. The Clerks invite feedback from the church for the ongoing development of the guidelines by January 31, 2022.

Liberty of Conscience and Action
Read the Clerks of Assembly’s statement about liberty of conscience and action regarding Remits B and C, 2019.

Legal Opinion
The Assembly Council obtained a legal opinion on the implications of Remits B and C, 2019, from independent legal counsel, Edward Meehan, QC at Supreme Advocacy, LLP.