As printed in The Guardan, Tuesday May 22, 2018.

In recent days, CBC News reported that P.E.I.’s Public Schools Branch (PSB) will not be sending field trips to Camp Seggie this year. This decision was reached when PSB principals and staff learned that the camp’s hiring practices were not in alignment with the inclusionary practices upheld by the PSB. Camp Seggie will not hire people who identify as LGBTQ+ because the camp, with the convention of Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, believes that to do so would be a violation of their code of conduct which addresses, among other things, “sexual integrity”. Implicit in that belief is that those who identify as LGBTQ+ are lacking in “sexual integrity” and are unfit to be leaders of children and youth at a Christian camp.

As the Affirm Committee of Trinity-Clifton United Church, an affirming congregation in good standing within the Maritime Conference of the United Church of Canada, we stand in full support of P.E.I.’s PSB’s decision. To be an affirming congregation is not only to accept but to celebrate the diversity of all people, encompassing people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. To do otherwise is to participate in perpetuating heterocentric norms, institutionalized homophobia and transphobia, and heterosexism. It is to violate the code of conduct found in the Christian Gospel of love and grace.

In a world in which LGBTQ+ children and youth are often bullied and are at greater risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers, we are thankful for the witness of countless affirming Christians. There are many communities of faith across denominational lines which accept, celebrate and affirm the blessedness and transformative presence of our LGBTQ+ members and kin.

All are welcome at Trinity-Clifton United Church every Sunday for worship at 10:30 a.m., including a special Celebration of Diversity on June 24th and LGBTQ+ Pride on July 22nd. Together let us strive to live out the words of the Hebrew prophet, Micah: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.

Rev. Cathie Crooks and the Affirm Committee, Trinity-Clifton United Church of Canada, 220 Richmond Street, Charlottetown, PE 902.892.4114