Global Solidarity Fund
Standing with the LGBTIQ2S+ community
The LGBTIQ2S+ Solidarity Fund strives to advance the rights, dignity, and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, and Two-Spirit people around the world. This work is crucial, since homosexual activity is still illegal in 68 countries and rates of violence perpetrated against trans people worldwide are alarmingly high.
The fund supports international consultations with religious leaders, safe shelters, and sponsorships of LGBTQ+ refugees to Canada. A portion of the fund will be endowed to ensure sustainability.
Your Gift will advance the rights of LGBTIQ2S+ people around the world.
Connect with the Foundation
We are here to talk to you and help you decide how to make a meaningful contribution to the ministry and work you love. Call the Foundation office at 1-866-340-8223, or fill the form out below.
The Foundation is proud to support the LGBTIQ2S+ Community in Canada and, now through the Global Solidarity Fund, around the world. The Global Solidarity Fund is the latest entry on a long timeline of support for the LGBTIQ2S+ Community that stretches back to 1980.
Today, the Foundation stands with the United Church, affirming together that gender and sexuality are gifts of God, and that all persons are made in the image of God. The United Church is opposed to discrimination against any person on any basis by which a person is devalued, including sexuality and gender identity. Today, hundreds of Communities of Faith across Canada identify themselves as Affirming Ministries, pledging themselves to welcome, accept, and celebrate people regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
A brief history of the LGBTIQ2S+ Community in the United Church of Canada
Although we acknowledge that the United Church has not always been welcoming to LGBTIQ2S+ people, we are proud of our long history of support for the LGBTIQ2S+ Community. The United Church of Canada is one of the trailblazing religious organizations for equality in Canada, and is one of the earliest Christian denominations to support same-sex unions worldwide.
Throughout the 1970’s, lesbian and gay members of the United Church organized support groups in congregations across Canada. In 1980, the United Church of Canada took its first vocal stance of support for the LGBTIQ2S+ community. A published report titled In God’s Image…Male and Female: A Study on Human Sexuality stated that “there is no reason in principle why mature, self-accepting homosexuals, any more than mature, self-accepting heterosexuals, should not be ordained or commissioned.”
In 1980, the United Church affirmed its acceptance of all human beings as persons made in the image of God regardless of their sexual orientation and acknowledged that it has encouraged, condoned, and tolerated the rejection and persecution of homosexual persons in society and in the church.
In 1988, the 32nd General Council declared that “all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of The United Church of Canada” and that “all members of the United Church are eligible to be considered for ordered ministry.” This declaration opened the ministry of the Church to members of the LGBTIQ2S+ Community.
In 1995, the church began to publish resources for pastors to perform same-sex covenants, and in 2001, United Church minister the Rev. Cheri DiNovo performed the first registered same-sex marriage in Canada.
Since 2001, the church has strengthened its commitment to equality, making strides to become a more understanding and inclusive ministry. The LGBTIQ2S+ Global Solidarity Fund is the next step in a long journey towards equality. We thank the activists and allies who have made such important change possible in our church.
“… all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ are welcome to be or become members of The United Church of Canada.”
The church and advocacy for equality
Beginning in 1992, the United Church of Canada began to publicly advocate for LGBTIQ2S+ rights.
- 1992 – the church urged the Canadian federal government to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination.
- 1992 – Tim Stevenson became the first openly gay minister to be ordained by the United Church.
- 1997 – the church encouraged members to ask provincial governments to require teachers learn about issues surrounding LGBTIQ2S+ students.
- 1997 – the church supported an amendment to the Income Tax Act redefining the word “spouse” to include non-heterosexual relationships.
- 2001 – church minister the Rev Cheri DiNovo performed the first registered same-sex marriage in Canada.
- 2003 – the church called upon the federal government to recognize same-sex unions as part of the Civil Marriages Act.
- 2005 – the church endorsed the legalization of same-sex marriage.
- 2010 – the Rev. Cindy Bourgeois became the first openly transgender individual to be ordained by the United Church
- 2012 – the Rt. Rev. Gary Paterson is elected Moderator of the United Church. He becomes the first openly gay leader of a mainline Christian denomination.
- 2014 – a United Church Group including then-Moderator Gary Paterson and his partner, Tim Stevenson marched in the WorldPride parade in Toronto. The United Church continues to participates in Toronto’s Pride Parade every year.
- 2015 – the Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell is elected Moderator and becomes the first lesbian leader of the United Church, and the second openly LGBTIQ2S+ leader of a mainline Christian denomination.