Any community of faith or member of the Regional Council can submit a proposal to the annual meeting of the Regional Council or the Executive. This year, Grosvenor Park United Church has submitted the following proposal to the 2020 annual meeting. If passed, it requires some action of Living Skies Regional Council, and will form part of our policy on social justice.
Title: Banning Conversion Therapy in Saskatchewan
Proposal to the annual meeting of Living Skies Regional Council, 28 October and 4 November 2020
Origin: Grosvenor Park United Church, Saskatoon, SK
What is the issue:
We believe in a God of unconditional love, Jesus who is love incarnate, who seeks to uplift those who are on the margins of society, and the Spirit who calls us to seek justice and reduce harm for those who are diverse with respect to gender, gender expression and sexual orientation.
Conversion therapy gives a message that those who are not cisgender and/or heteronormative need to be “fixed”. Therapies which promote such erroneous ideas do not work, and increase the likelihood both of depression and suicidal ideation and attempts.
Grosvenor Park United Church seeks to ban conversion therapy in the city of Saskatoon and in our Province, Saskatchewan.
Why is this issue important:
This is a crucial issue given the high rates of suicide and depression amongst those in the two spirit, LGBTQQIA+ communities. This rate doubles when families try to convince their loved ones to be cisgender and/or heteronormative. This rate triples when the loved one has both family pressure, and Conversion therapy including pressure from a religious community (priest/pastor etc).
How might the Regional Council respond to this issue:
The Living Skies Regional Council was mandated in 2019 to begin the process of becoming an Affirming Region. The principles have to do with the nature of humanity, and sending a clear signal that the United Church of Canada in Living Skies Regional council does not endorse any kind of “so called” therapies to change one’s gender expression, gender identity and/or sexual orientation. God loves us all. We are called to reach out with this message.
We ask the Living Skies Regional Council to also agree to submit a formal request to our provincial governments to ban conversion therapies within Saskatchewan.
We ask that individual communities of faith 1) are encouraged to understand why conversion therapies are so detrimental to the health and well-being of so many of our young folks; and 2) encouraged to write to the Province of Saskatchewan stating opposition to conversion therapies.
We ask that Living Skies Regional council encourage all Affirming and 2SGBTQIA+ supportive communities of faith to investigate local bylaws related to conversion therapy, and to become aware of the forms conversion therapy may take in their own communities.
Although we know that the federal government intends to take action regarding conversion therapies, it is crucial for the church as a national body to speak out publicly, intentionally, and explicitly as an accepting spiritual body for our two spirit and LGBTQQIA+ members and friends, so that they feel heard, accepted and understood in the name of Jesus.
 Lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual