Pastor’s Ponderings

May 24, 2024

(Note from Cindy: I am about to talk about relationships – for the sake of this pondering, I am talking about relationships where you are not being abused or denied agency or asked to be other than who you are. Those relationships are never okay, and it is never your job to change the other person. If you find yourself in a relationship like that, you deserve to step away from that situation. Reach out! Seek help if you need it to remove yourself.)

Being in relationship with another person – regardless of the type of relationship – can be tricky. When that relationship is personal and involves intimacy, the challenge increases exponentially. For queer folk it can be even more challenging! Often, we are still getting to know ourselves and so the task of letting another know who we are, what it is we are looking for and needing from connection – what intimacy looks and feels like for us – seems daunting.

Being in relationship is work. And yet, we seek connection with others. There are many different ways in which we make those connections, but we still need and want them. And we should honour our desires, our needs. The Holy intended for us to be not only in communion with them but in community with one another.

We are meant to live and love together. Not all in the same way, and definitely not all according to the heteronormative standards that we are often held against. But there are some standards we should hold ourselves to.

Our relationships can be life giving, affirming, and honoring of the spark of the Divine that we all carry. But we must be intentional in how we navigate them. As followers of Jesus, beloved of the Holy, we do have an accountability for how we enter relationship and how we behave in relationship. We are responsible for our side of things.

I often wonder what does a Christian sex ethic look like in action? More specifically, I wonder what a queer Christian sex ethic looks like in action? And as I write those last two sentences, I feel that perhaps I should amend the phrase to “intimacy ethic” or “relationship ethic” because as we know, not all experience or express intimacy through sexual relationship.

When I wonder, I turn to the example of the intimate relationship God has with God’s self – the three-in-one that is the Trinity. From that example, and from our sacred stories, I find clues about the ways in which self-honoring and God-honoring relationships are possible without being subjected to old twisted teachings that have made us feel our relationships as queer folk (or even non-queer folk who did not quite fit the mold) were not good or healthy or worthy of celebration.

I hope that you can join us on Sunday evening to reflect on this a little bit more about how God models for us a loving relationship that invites us to build our own relationships where we can give and receive, live and love.

 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Serrvice Link – https://youtube.com/live/qEpE6SBSQPA

April 26, 2024

The scripture that we will be reflecting on in this month’s service is a rich one for meaning for us queer folk and for our allies alike. 

It is the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. One of the many things that resonates for me as a queer person in the story is the fact that it is known as “the story of the Ethiopian eunuch”, “Philip and the eunuch” or simply “the Ethiopian eunuch.”

This resonates with me because even though the story is about two people (and the Spirit), even though the story is about a persons transformation from self-deprecation/self-doubt to claiming their rightful place in the world, the main player in that story is never even named.

They are just “the eunuch”. They are reduced to a single defining characteristic not even worthy of naming.

Does that resonate for you? How often as queer folk or even as allies, are we not completely seen or named but reduced to one thing – and often the one thing about us that the world would like to change or control or destroy? How often are we denied the dignity and our birthright of being treated as beautifully intricate beings but instead pointed at for only that about us which does not fit in?

When we reduce people to only one aspect of their nature, or to single characteristics or to single actions, we deny who they are as creation of the Holy, as complex and multi-faceted tapestries of being and doing – we deny the image of God that each person carries.

The campaign of hatred and misinformation that the government is waging against trans folk – in particular trans children and youth – relies on this tactic of not seeing the whole of the person or persons they seek to marginalize and control. One of the first ways to begin to erase someone is to take away their name (this was also a tactic used in the Residential School System).

And so for me the story of the Ethiopian eunuch is so very important. It is a queer story.

Join us on Sunday night to learn more about this person with no name… and about their movement from a sense of unworthiness to deservedness, and maybe we will even talk about what some scholars have suggested as a possible name!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/aCResTZmhdE

March 14, 2024

You will often hear me say at this time of year that my first response to PIE is that I do enough Public Intentional and Explicit stuff about my identity as a lesbian every day of my life. The mini coming outs, the micro aggressions (and the not so micro aggressions) that we go through every day when we are queer are constantly forcing us to be Public Intentional and Explicit. 

At times, I feel like I get more than my fair share of PIE – there really isn’t a PIE day for us, it’s a PIE life, and sometimes we get tired and need to take a break from it all.

Well, I have done a lot of thinking about this and I believe that this particular understanding of PIE Day is something I am called to as follower of Jesus. The public, intentional and explicit affirming of queer folk and this desire to make our communities of faith safe and sacred space for queer folk, is something that is needed now more than ever as we struggle here in Alberta to keep our queer children and youth safe. 

So, PIE is not just for the straight folks. We as queer folks have a vital part in this work. We have to hold ourselves accountable to the same standard that we hold our allies to. 

Are we willing to see the good and gifts in others? That can be a difficult task particularly when we are talking about the whole religion and church thing. And I am by no means saying that we should forget or overlook the ways in which church has wounded and oppressed our community. Those are experiences and stories that need to be shared so that they are not repeated. And I am also not saying that we should expose ourselves to communities where hurtful language, attitudes and practices are still alive and well. 

What I am saying is that our part – or I guess I should say our piece – of the PIE is to discern where there is community that will support our journeys as queer believers and seekers and then join that community. Be a part of that community and be a part of building even better community by sharing our stories, by risking sharing ourselves and our gifts. And be a part of that community by helping others striving to do the same. 

Grounded in that love we work together – queers and non queers alike – and walk together. 

And there will be stumbles, we are after all human, but when we do stumble we remember who we are and that we work in the name of love. We hold one another accountable and then offer one another the same grace that is freely given us through the Holy. 

That’s our slice of the PIE – to be open to our true allies, to claim our place in the body of Christ, and to work with our allies to create safe and sacred space for all who desire connection with others and communion with the Holy. It is work we could try to do on our own – and God knows we have done this work alone for what seems like a thousand lifetimes – but Jesus calls us to come together with all others who work in his name, in the name of love. 

May you find that community where PIE is more than just a day for everyone.

I hope that for you, Calgary Queer Church can be a part of that community.

Join us on March 24 for worship and until then … Happy PIE Day!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy 

February 25, 2024

I remember the day we went to visit my grandmother (who was living with Alzheimer’s) to show her a very special ultrasound image. She stared at it for a bit and then looked at my partner and I and asked, “is that my gallbladder?”

We smiled and said no, it was a picture of the two wee babies in my belly that we – two women – were going to raise together as mama and mommy.

Now, keep in mind that this was 70-something year old woman back in 1996. We were not sure how she would take the news, or what sorts of questions she would ask about the mechanics and logistics of it all.

She peered again at the ultrasound and began to smile.

“You’re expecting?”

“Yes, Gramma, we are.”

The smile moved into her eyes as she looked at me (I was her favorite grandchild). I knew she was happy for us and I was once again so grateful for the unconditional and affirming love she had always offered me – “I love you the same way God does honey, always and no matter what.”

But then the smile turned to a look of concern.

She asked what our names would be now (we could not be married in 1996 and so did not share a surname)… because if we were to have babies, a family, our names should be the same, shouldn’t they?

For Gramma, it made sense that families should have the same name. And it made sense to her that our names could change to reflect this new aspect of our identities.

The point of my sharing this story with you is to point out that the taking on of new names is nothing new. In our scripture this Sunday, we will learn of folks taking on new names as they go further on their journey to their true selves.

Not only is it not a new thing, its actually a thing that God calls us into. Part of journeying towards our true, intended self is letting go of names or identities that were given us or assigned by a world that did not quite know us. God wants us to embrace who we are and live fully as who we are and sometimes that means moving away from old names or pronouns that don’t fit. And as for those folks who simply cannot get their head wrapped around that – well I would remind them that they have had no struggle for all of time with names changing when folks got married. In fact, it was expected and celebrated!

We have the right to be known as who we truly are. We have the right to be addressed correctly. We have the right to ask folks to respect and use our names and pronouns as we move forward on the path to being our authentic selves. And we even have the right to ask folks to celebrate our moving forward on that path.

And they can do it. They have already been doing it for generations and generations.

The Holy is already doing it. The Holy sees you and celebrates you and calls you by your name.

Join us on Sunday as we reflect on claiming our names.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/vWVI-B81q6Y

February 11, 2024

For us here in Alberta, it is once again a time when the light of intolerance is being shone on queer folks – in particular on young trans folk – for political agendas of creating division and conflict.

The Alberta provincial government is proposing policy that will endanger the well-being and very lives of trans children and youth. The policies are being communicated along with misinformation and cloaked in false claims of caring for young trans people.

My prayers this past week and a bit have been peppered with disheartened lament and with angry rants. 

And the Holy takes it all from me. My sadness, my rage, and my weariness. And when I feel overwhelmed at having to continue to battle this systemic human “dis-ease” – how do I as one person make a change –  I am reminded in my time with God that I can do it because I am one who has turned to God, turned to the good in this world. 

And so I am not alone. Because there is God, there is good. And there are so many of us who are also making the decision to not be a part of the dis-ease of this world, to speak up and stand up against the dysfunction that allows the systems that are harming and targeting us to continue to exist. 

But it does begin with me. I choose how I am shaped in this world. I choose whether I serve the good in this world, or submit to my fatigue, give in to the indifference that allows evil to flourish, or even worse begin to live from the same place of hatred and intolerance that others do. 

I choose how I am shaped in this world. I choose whether it is the world that will shape me or something different, something better.  Will I seek transformation, will I seek transition that leads me to who I am intended to be, who the Holy created me to be? Will I work for a world where our children can be who the Holy intended them to be? 

Our scripture for this week’s service is about the transfiguration of Jesus. It is a story that speaks of how we need to step away from who the world would have us be and turn to the spark of the Divine within us, so that the beauty of the Holy’s creation is revealed in us. 

It is about choosing to be shaped, to be transformed by good – the good in the Holy, the good in each of us. It is about starting with ourselves in order to change the world. And it is a world that needs changing. 

Thanks be to God that we are not alone in this work, on this journey. Please join us Sunday night, or reach out to connect – we see you, we celebrate you. 

And the One who created you is looking on you right now declaring, “this is my child, my beloved.”

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtu.be/928ePtkjA6k

January 28, 2024

One of the great things about headphones or earbuds is that you get to decide what it is you are going to listen to when you are out for a walk or sitting at your desk.

The noise is cancelled, and you only hear what you have chosen to hear. Maybe a new playlist from your favorite band, maybe a podcast from someone who makes you think.

You get to choose what you listen to and – equally as important – what you are not listening to. And usually you do not listen to stuff that makes your head ache or does not speak to you. Why would you? Usually you listen to stuff that lifts you.

What if I suggested to you that you should be equally as choosy about who you listen to in life in general, when it comes to the voices that tell us where to go, how to be, how to live?

What if I told you should have noise cancellation headphones when it comes to voices of authority that are negative, that do not honor you as a child of God, or God’s creation?

 Figuring out who to listen to can be tough – there are so many voices coming at us from all directions, there are so many folks who seem to think they should have authority over others and who spew intolerance and negativity.

 How do we know which voices to listen to – how do we recognize good authority and guidance?

We look at the outcomes of that authority and guidance being exercised. We make informed decisions based on whether that voice, that authority is actually honoring the Holy and the Holy’s creation. Does the voice get authority confused with power and control?

I hope you can join us this Sunday as we dig a little deeper into how to discern which voices we should actually be listening to and which ones are simply noise.

You are invited. 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/Q-rbts7TCu0

January 14, 2024

How many of us these days have a wee bit of terror grip our hearts when our phone buzzes and its actually a phone call?!?!

How many of us do not answer the call if we do not recognize the number?

And how many of us do not answer the call because we recognize the number or the call display is on?

It’s kind of like that when the Holy calls us.

We might not recognize the call at first. And then when we do figure out who is calling us, we might be a little reluctant to answer.

Why would God call us? What could God possibly want from us? Doesn’t God know us and know that we are small and insignificant, maybe struggling, maybe a bit broken?

Why would God call us?

Because God does know us! Intimately and well, as only a Creator can know their beloved creation.

And yes, sometimes taking a call from someone who knows us well, who just wants to check in with us, to let us know they care for us, well sometimes those are the hardest calls to take.

For many of us – for most of us – there are places and times in this human life where it is hard to believe that we are loved that deeply and completely, it is hard to believe that we are invited into relationship like that.

When we have so many voices and messages coming at us that can be harsh, demanding, unkind, or even hateful, it seems easier to just ignore the call. When we cannot imagine why God would want anything to do with us, it does not make sense to do anything but ignore the call.

Still, the Holy is calling us my friends – the Holy is calling you.

Join us on Sunday evening and we will talk about why you really should take that call.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/OlU-lRH2L44

November 17, 2023

This coming Monday is Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

It is a recognition of those whose lives were lost to hatred and intolerance and ignorance. Beloved children of the Holy who were targeted simply for living their truth. It is a reality that for some reason this is allowed to continue. A reality that the more we step into love, the harder the push back from those that cannot free themselves from fear and base instinct. 

Queer folks it seems must always be resetting ourselves. We face very real threats to our very existence just for being who we are. Again and again, we experience the hurts of this world and then we look for the hope of this world. 

We are a resilient people – but being resilient can get tiresome sometimes, can’t it? 

Here’s the thing though – I would rather that I (and my queer siblings, my trans siblings) continued to be resilient and sometimes tired rather than let hate win. I would rather that we take the time to withdraw for a bit to refresh ourselves in the hope and love that we find in community with one another and communion with the Holy, than become hateful and bitter like those who would do us harm or give in to their demand that we not let our true selves shine in this world. 

Refreshing ourselves can mean acknowledging our grief and our weariness in safe spaces, we need to mourn. It is scary to give voice to our grief but it also allows us to move forward and not get overwhelmed by it. And it is imperative that those who lost their lives to hatred not be erased by the silence of those of us who remain here in this earthly life. We must give voice to our grief. 

And so, I hope that you join us this Sunday when we will have time of prayer and reflection to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. May you find comfort in lament and hope in the good news that there is a new way of love – the way of Jesus – that will lead us to the light.

 And may love cover us all my queerly beloved. 

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/DsD-FnGdUio

November 3, 2023

What would it mean if we changed how we looked at ourselves? How we talk to ourselves? 

What might happen if we were intentional in treating ourselves not according to the ways in which we feel like we are not enough, the ways in which we feel we do not fit or meet the expectations of a difficult and divided world? 

It is important – do not get me wrong, I know we are human – to acknowledge those times and those things in which we perhaps could have done differently, done “better.” But we should not let those things define us or our lives. 

Working towards being our best selves, towards honoring our truth is in itself a win! Even when there is more work to do. The human journey is just that – a journey. 

No one is perfect and yet – as beloved and intended creations of the Holy – we are perfect in the most sacred of ways. We are perfect in the eyes of the Holy One who sees past our human struggle and doubt and fear. 

What would it mean if we looked at ourselves through the eyes of the One who created us and who wants us to be well and whole? 

It would not change the fact that we walk in a very difficult world sometimes, but it would change how we walk. 

What would it mean if we claimed our identity as queer saints? A people purposed by God to open eyes and hearts (starting with our own) to the beauty of diversity, the possibility of an expanded understanding of how we can live and love and be and do together? 

I hope that you can join us this Sunday to talk about being saints, to consider even for a moment that we might all be saints, we just haven’t embraced it yet. 

And I hope that you might then be encouraged to embrace it! 

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/e_pHwsoF6gs

 

September 15, 2023

This Sunday, our worship is going to look at putting words into action when it comes to the call to care for creation – all the Holy’s creation, the world around, one another and ourselves. There is much talk about caring but there sometimes seems to be a disconnect between caring words and actual life-giving caring actions.

Part of the challenge is that there are so many voices and messages that we hear about all sorts of challenges that this human world has in learning to care. How do we sift through all the noise – all the words – to find those that are positive and lead us to living in right relation to the world, lead us to transforming the world into a better place?

As followers of the way of Jesus, we are called to care. Even when bombarded with uncaring words, we must care. Queer folks (and our allies) must learn to discern the voices that speak from a place of love and grace and let them be our guide. We must look for the spark of the Divine influence in the world around us and hold on to that, amplify that. This world – all of God’s creation and God’s beloved – needs caring.

We can play an important part in teaching the world to care. As queer folk, we have had to learn to stand up for ourselves, to be a scandal to society, to teach folks that there is a diversity in creation that deserves and demands care. We are built and gifted for this work.

As queer (and non-queer) followers of Jesus, we should follow Jesus’ example and challenge those around us to repair the disconnect between right words and right actions. But (there’s always a but, right) we must first look within ourselves and work on repairing the disconnect between our words and our actions. Not one of us is perfect, but we can lean into the Holy to help us.

By doing that work with ourselves first, we can then invite others into the same work – turning caring words into caring actions – with the grace and understanding that we were offered. Not all will want to join us but we will find more and more who do. And that is how change begins. That is how we turn words into actions that will care for creation.

I hope you can join us on Sunday.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/XtauUcA8xlA

 

 

 

January 14, 2024

How many of us these days have a wee bit of terror grip our hearts when our phone buzzes and its actually a phone call?!?!

How many of us do not answer the call if we do not recognize the number?

And how many of us do not answer the call because we recognize the number or the call display is on?

It’s kind of like that when the Holy calls us.

We might not recognize the call at first. And then when we do figure out who is calling us, we might be a little reluctant to answer.

Why would God call us? What could God possibly want from us? Doesn’t God know us and know that we are small and insignificant, maybe struggling, maybe a bit broken?

Why would God call us?

Because God does know us! Intimately and well, as only a Creator can know their beloved creation.

And yes, sometimes taking a call from someone who knows us well, who just wants to check in with us, to let us know they care for us, well sometimes those are the hardest calls to take.

For many of us – for most of us – there are places and times in this human life where it is hard to believe that we are loved that deeply and completely, it is hard to believe that we are invited into relationship like that.

When we have so many voices and messages coming at us that can be harsh, demanding, unkind, or even hateful, it seems easier to just ignore the call. When we cannot imagine why God would want anything to do with us, it does not make sense to do anything but ignore the call.

Still, the Holy is calling us my friends – the Holy is calling you.

Join us on Sunday evening and we will talk about why you really should take that call.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/OlU-lRH2L44

November 17, 2023

This coming Monday is Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

It is a recognition of those whose lives were lost to hatred and intolerance and ignorance. Beloved children of the Holy who were targeted simply for living their truth. It is a reality that for some reason this is allowed to continue. A reality that the more we step into love, the harder the push back from those that cannot free themselves from fear and base instinct. 

Queer folks it seems must always be resetting ourselves. We face very real threats to our very existence just for being who we are. Again and again, we experience the hurts of this world and then we look for the hope of this world. 

We are a resilient people – but being resilient can get tiresome sometimes, can’t it? 

Here’s the thing though – I would rather that I (and my queer siblings, my trans siblings) continued to be resilient and sometimes tired rather than let hate win. I would rather that we take the time to withdraw for a bit to refresh ourselves in the hope and love that we find in community with one another and communion with the Holy, than become hateful and bitter like those who would do us harm or give in to their demand that we not let our true selves shine in this world. 

Refreshing ourselves can mean acknowledging our grief and our weariness in safe spaces, we need to mourn. It is scary to give voice to our grief but it also allows us to move forward and not get overwhelmed by it. And it is imperative that those who lost their lives to hatred not be erased by the silence of those of us who remain here in this earthly life. We must give voice to our grief. 

And so, I hope that you join us this Sunday when we will have time of prayer and reflection to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. May you find comfort in lament and hope in the good news that there is a new way of love – the way of Jesus – that will lead us to the light.

 And may love cover us all my queerly beloved. 

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/DsD-FnGdUio

November 3, 2023

What would it mean if we changed how we looked at ourselves? How we talk to ourselves? 

What might happen if we were intentional in treating ourselves not according to the ways in which we feel like we are not enough, the ways in which we feel we do not fit or meet the expectations of a difficult and divided world? 

It is important – do not get me wrong, I know we are human – to acknowledge those times and those things in which we perhaps could have done differently, done “better.” But we should not let those things define us or our lives. 

Working towards being our best selves, towards honoring our truth is in itself a win! Even when there is more work to do. The human journey is just that – a journey. 

No one is perfect and yet – as beloved and intended creations of the Holy – we are perfect in the most sacred of ways. We are perfect in the eyes of the Holy One who sees past our human struggle and doubt and fear. 

What would it mean if we looked at ourselves through the eyes of the One who created us and who wants us to be well and whole? 

It would not change the fact that we walk in a very difficult world sometimes, but it would change how we walk. 

What would it mean if we claimed our identity as queer saints? A people purposed by God to open eyes and hearts (starting with our own) to the beauty of diversity, the possibility of an expanded understanding of how we can live and love and be and do together? 

I hope that you can join us this Sunday to talk about being saints, to consider even for a moment that we might all be saints, we just haven’t embraced it yet. 

And I hope that you might then be encouraged to embrace it! 

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/e_pHwsoF6gs

 

September 15, 2023

This Sunday, our worship is going to look at putting words into action when it comes to the call to care for creation – all the Holy’s creation, the world around, one another and ourselves. There is much talk about caring but there sometimes seems to be a disconnect between caring words and actual life-giving caring actions.

Part of the challenge is that there are so many voices and messages that we hear about all sorts of challenges that this human world has in learning to care. How do we sift through all the noise – all the words – to find those that are positive and lead us to living in right relation to the world, lead us to transforming the world into a better place?

As followers of the way of Jesus, we are called to care. Even when bombarded with uncaring words, we must care. Queer folks (and our allies) must learn to discern the voices that speak from a place of love and grace and let them be our guide. We must look for the spark of the Divine influence in the world around us and hold on to that, amplify that. This world – all of God’s creation and God’s beloved – needs caring.

We can play an important part in teaching the world to care. As queer folk, we have had to learn to stand up for ourselves, to be a scandal to society, to teach folks that there is a diversity in creation that deserves and demands care. We are built and gifted for this work.

As queer (and non-queer) followers of Jesus, we should follow Jesus’ example and challenge those around us to repair the disconnect between right words and right actions. But (there’s always a but, right) we must first look within ourselves and work on repairing the disconnect between our words and our actions. Not one of us is perfect, but we can lean into the Holy to help us.

By doing that work with ourselves first, we can then invite others into the same work – turning caring words into caring actions – with the grace and understanding that we were offered. Not all will want to join us but we will find more and more who do. And that is how change begins. That is how we turn words into actions that will care for creation.

I hope you can join us on Sunday.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/XtauUcA8xlA

 

September 1, 2023

Happy Pride Week to all you queerly beloved!
 
I hope that this week has given you a chance to feel seen and celebrated whether you were out and about attending events, watching your feeds light up with affirming images and messages, or just quietly reflecting on what it means to have this celebration we call “Pride”.
 
I also hope that you honor the ways in which you can feel ambivalent about celebrations like this. Perhaps it is a reminder for you that there are also ways in which you are still facing challenges in living your life as a queer person.
 
That is a natural response because even as we celebrate how far we have come in our struggle to just be and do as we are, there is still work to be done.
 
Earlier this week, a young gay man very dear to my heart called to share with me that while walking from his home to the grocery store, he was shouted at by someone on the sidewalk. He was going for groceries and had to endure being called a “faggot” by a passerby. It was for him a disheartening reminder that even during Pride Week, even when we have come so far and he enjoys a life lived as an out and proud gay man, he is not always safe from the fear and hatred that is sometimes targeted at us.
 
There is work to be done.
 
As beloved creations of God, though, we cannot let this deter us from celebrating who we are – the ways in which our being and our doing, our loving and our living make are a true reflection of the wondrous diversity of the Holy and the Holy’s vision for this world.
 
This celebration that is Pride Week is so much more than celebration. It is, as it has always been when we march together, stand up, and speak out for our truth, a revolutionary and life-giving act of defiance in the face of hatred and injustice. What a gift that we do not do this alone – queers and allies alike.
 
I see you in your courageous acts of celebration – this week and every week. And whenever someone tries to deny your place in this world, in God’s kindom, I stand with you.
 
Together with one another and with the Holy, we will march on with laughter (and sometimes with tears). Together we will celebrate the gift that diversity is in our lives and in this world. We will continue on our journey and in our work towards a world where love and affirmation overwhelm hatred and marginalization.
 
So let’s celebrate and let’s march on. Let’s drown out those who would try to silence us.
 
This Sunday at 7:00 pm we will be holding a special Post-Pride Service where we will talk about how to balance the feelings that Pride Week can bring up (I call it the Pride Hangover). I hope that you join us either in person at Fish Creek United Church (77 Deerpoint Road SE) or livestream on YouTube.
 
Be well and safe this weekend as you finish up Pride Week my friends.
 
Yours in Christ,
 Pastor Cindy

service link – https://youtube.com/live/jLkbXNPHoJ8

 

December 2, 2022

If you have been checking out service the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed a common theme of trying to reconcile the reality of the world we live in with the world we long for. 

That is because in the aftermath of yet another deadly attack on queer folk and queer space, we are beginning the season of Advent. As a follower of Jesus, I prepare to celebrate the coming of God into the world by once again reflecting on the hope, peace, joy, and love that my life in the Holy brings me. It is a time when I once again ground myself in my faith that the good in this world can overcome the bad. I once again make the choice to look for the divine in others and in the world and not be blinded by the hatred and fear that sometimes rules human hearts. 

Once again though, I have also been reminded of just how powerful hatred and fear are, and how high a price those of us who are the targets of hatred and fear sometimes pay. Queer folk, racialized folk, marginalized folk – we are always at risk of being targets. Whether in small ways or in large ways, we become targets simply because of who we are. 

As a believer in the way of Jesus, the way of love, I am heartbroken and angry and tired in these weeks following the shooting at Club Q.  As a queer person, I am sad and exhausted and scared.

 And I am outraged.

 Because I was not created to be the target of someone’s fear or hatred. I was created to be loved. I was created to love. Jesus warns often in scripture that the way of love is not easy – and Jesus themselves paid the ultimate price for inviting and loving all – but I cannot believe that Jesus meant we were to be content to be targets. I know that Jesus would also be heartbroken and outraged at last week’s shooting. I know that Jesus would condemn the system that leads to this kind of violence (as well as the daily “small” attacks on our Divine image and being).

 Jesus came to walk among us because of love. That little baby who was born into a world of violence and oppression came to walk among us to begin a revolution against hatred and fear. Jesus was born into this world to show us and teach us about a new way.

 And now more than ever, as we were reminded last week, we need to find a new way together.

 In this time of Advent and holiday preparations/pressures, I hope that you have a chance to reflect on the times you have experienced or seen good in this world. I hope that these shining moments of memory become a guiding star leading you to find faith in this sometime daunting world; faith that there is more, there is sacred, there is Divine, there is God. I hope you can look to your faith and be reminded that transformation is always possible.

 This Sunday evening, we will reflect on how we can work even as we wait for the transformation of this world and of our hearts that is an integral part of the promise of the Christ Child. Please know that you are invited to join us.

 Stay well, stay connected.

 Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

October 14, 2022

“So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God, for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their labors as God did from theirs.  Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest” ~ Hebrews 4:9-11

This week’s Sunday service is about persistence – persistence in making our voice heard, persistence in working for justice.

Persistence is a good thing for sure and something that queer folk are asked to lean into in a big way in order to live our lives as we are called to. Our history and our lives are marked by marches and protests and struggles. These are not always in big and visible ways either, our own individual lives as queer folk mean that even in the ordinary small moments of our days we have to stand up and speak out and fight for the right to be seen and heard and honored for who we are.

Persistence takes a lot out of us. And though we must persist, we must also rest.

We must rest queerly beloved. The Holy calls us to persist yes, but also to rest. There are times when we must step back and find renewal.

Rest – the idea of Sabbath – is as important a part of a healthy spiritual life as persistence. And I would argue that rest is an integral part of persistence. It is rest, time with God, time with others who support and love us, time with ourselves celebrating that which brings us peace and joy, it is rest that allows us to carry on.

Persistence in our work in the world is not possible unless we are rested.

You deserve to have time and space where you do not have to explain or educate or advocate for yourself. You deserve to have time and space where you can simply be.

 Take time my friends. Take time to rest.

 I hope that you join us on Sunday evening (or whenever it is that interact with the service) and I do hope that you are inspired to persist in the unique and sacred walk that we as queer folk are called to.

Just don’t forget to rest as well. The Holy wants you to speak up and stand out, yes, but more than that the Holy desires you to be rested and supported in your journey. God loves you and wants you well.

Blessings,

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

 

September 15, 2023

This Sunday, our worship is going to look at putting words into action when it comes to the call to care for creation – all the Holy’s creation, the world around, one another and ourselves. There is much talk about caring but there sometimes seems to be a disconnect between caring words and actual life-giving caring actions.

Part of the challenge is that there are so many voices and messages that we hear about all sorts of challenges that this human world has in learning to care. How do we sift through all the noise – all the words – to find those that are positive and lead us to living in right relation to the world, lead us to transforming the world into a better place?

As followers of the way of Jesus, we are called to care. Even when bombarded with uncaring words, we must care. Queer folks (and our allies) must learn to discern the voices that speak from a place of love and grace and let them be our guide. We must look for the spark of the Divine influence in the world around us and hold on to that, amplify that. This world – all of God’s creation and God’s beloved – needs caring.

We can play an important part in teaching the world to care. As queer folk, we have had to learn to stand up for ourselves, to be a scandal to society, to teach folks that there is a diversity in creation that deserves and demands care. We are built and gifted for this work.

As queer (and non-queer) followers of Jesus, we should follow Jesus’ example and challenge those around us to repair the disconnect between right words and right actions. But (there’s always a but, right) we must first look within ourselves and work on repairing the disconnect between our words and our actions. Not one of us is perfect, but we can lean into the Holy to help us.

By doing that work with ourselves first, we can then invite others into the same work – turning caring words into caring actions – with the grace and understanding that we were offered. Not all will want to join us but we will find more and more who do. And that is how change begins. That is how we turn words into actions that will care for creation.

I hope you can join us on Sunday.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

Service Link – https://youtube.com/live/XtauUcA8xlA

 

September 1, 2023

Happy Pride Week to all you queerly beloved!
 
I hope that this week has given you a chance to feel seen and celebrated whether you were out and about attending events, watching your feeds light up with affirming images and messages, or just quietly reflecting on what it means to have this celebration we call “Pride”.
 
I also hope that you honor the ways in which you can feel ambivalent about celebrations like this. Perhaps it is a reminder for you that there are also ways in which you are still facing challenges in living your life as a queer person.
 
That is a natural response because even as we celebrate how far we have come in our struggle to just be and do as we are, there is still work to be done.
 
Earlier this week, a young gay man very dear to my heart called to share with me that while walking from his home to the grocery store, he was shouted at by someone on the sidewalk. He was going for groceries and had to endure being called a “faggot” by a passerby. It was for him a disheartening reminder that even during Pride Week, even when we have come so far and he enjoys a life lived as an out and proud gay man, he is not always safe from the fear and hatred that is sometimes targeted at us.
 
There is work to be done.
 
As beloved creations of God, though, we cannot let this deter us from celebrating who we are – the ways in which our being and our doing, our loving and our living make are a true reflection of the wondrous diversity of the Holy and the Holy’s vision for this world.
 
This celebration that is Pride Week is so much more than celebration. It is, as it has always been when we march together, stand up, and speak out for our truth, a revolutionary and life-giving act of defiance in the face of hatred and injustice. What a gift that we do not do this alone – queers and allies alike.
 
I see you in your courageous acts of celebration – this week and every week. And whenever someone tries to deny your place in this world, in God’s kindom, I stand with you.
 
Together with one another and with the Holy, we will march on with laughter (and sometimes with tears). Together we will celebrate the gift that diversity is in our lives and in this world. We will continue on our journey and in our work towards a world where love and affirmation overwhelm hatred and marginalization.
 
So let’s celebrate and let’s march on. Let’s drown out those who would try to silence us.
 
This Sunday at 7:00 pm we will be holding a special Post-Pride Service where we will talk about how to balance the feelings that Pride Week can bring up (I call it the Pride Hangover). I hope that you join us either in person at Fish Creek United Church (77 Deerpoint Road SE) or livestream on YouTube.
 
Be well and safe this weekend as you finish up Pride Week my friends.
 
Yours in Christ,
 Pastor Cindy

service link – https://youtube.com/live/jLkbXNPHoJ8

 

December 2, 2022

If you have been checking out service the last couple of weeks, you will have noticed a common theme of trying to reconcile the reality of the world we live in with the world we long for. 

That is because in the aftermath of yet another deadly attack on queer folk and queer space, we are beginning the season of Advent. As a follower of Jesus, I prepare to celebrate the coming of God into the world by once again reflecting on the hope, peace, joy, and love that my life in the Holy brings me. It is a time when I once again ground myself in my faith that the good in this world can overcome the bad. I once again make the choice to look for the divine in others and in the world and not be blinded by the hatred and fear that sometimes rules human hearts. 

Once again though, I have also been reminded of just how powerful hatred and fear are, and how high a price those of us who are the targets of hatred and fear sometimes pay. Queer folk, racialized folk, marginalized folk – we are always at risk of being targets. Whether in small ways or in large ways, we become targets simply because of who we are. 

As a believer in the way of Jesus, the way of love, I am heartbroken and angry and tired in these weeks following the shooting at Club Q.  As a queer person, I am sad and exhausted and scared.

 And I am outraged.

 Because I was not created to be the target of someone’s fear or hatred. I was created to be loved. I was created to love. Jesus warns often in scripture that the way of love is not easy – and Jesus themselves paid the ultimate price for inviting and loving all – but I cannot believe that Jesus meant we were to be content to be targets. I know that Jesus would also be heartbroken and outraged at last week’s shooting. I know that Jesus would condemn the system that leads to this kind of violence (as well as the daily “small” attacks on our Divine image and being).

 Jesus came to walk among us because of love. That little baby who was born into a world of violence and oppression came to walk among us to begin a revolution against hatred and fear. Jesus was born into this world to show us and teach us about a new way.

 And now more than ever, as we were reminded last week, we need to find a new way together.

 In this time of Advent and holiday preparations/pressures, I hope that you have a chance to reflect on the times you have experienced or seen good in this world. I hope that these shining moments of memory become a guiding star leading you to find faith in this sometime daunting world; faith that there is more, there is sacred, there is Divine, there is God. I hope you can look to your faith and be reminded that transformation is always possible.

 This Sunday evening, we will reflect on how we can work even as we wait for the transformation of this world and of our hearts that is an integral part of the promise of the Christ Child. Please know that you are invited to join us.

 Stay well, stay connected.

 Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy

October 14, 2022

“So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God, for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their labors as God did from theirs.  Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest” ~ Hebrews 4:9-11

This week’s Sunday service is about persistence – persistence in making our voice heard, persistence in working for justice.

Persistence is a good thing for sure and something that queer folk are asked to lean into in a big way in order to live our lives as we are called to. Our history and our lives are marked by marches and protests and struggles. These are not always in big and visible ways either, our own individual lives as queer folk mean that even in the ordinary small moments of our days we have to stand up and speak out and fight for the right to be seen and heard and honored for who we are.

Persistence takes a lot out of us. And though we must persist, we must also rest.

We must rest queerly beloved. The Holy calls us to persist yes, but also to rest. There are times when we must step back and find renewal.

Rest – the idea of Sabbath – is as important a part of a healthy spiritual life as persistence. And I would argue that rest is an integral part of persistence. It is rest, time with God, time with others who support and love us, time with ourselves celebrating that which brings us peace and joy, it is rest that allows us to carry on.

Persistence in our work in the world is not possible unless we are rested.

You deserve to have time and space where you do not have to explain or educate or advocate for yourself. You deserve to have time and space where you can simply be.

 Take time my friends. Take time to rest.

 I hope that you join us on Sunday evening (or whenever it is that interact with the service) and I do hope that you are inspired to persist in the unique and sacred walk that we as queer folk are called to.

Just don’t forget to rest as well. The Holy wants you to speak up and stand out, yes, but more than that the Holy desires you to be rested and supported in your journey. God loves you and wants you well.

Blessings,

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Cindy