Conference Description

CONFERENCE THEME: Hope Rising: Celebrating our Spirituality

Traditional institutions of “religion” have not historically been safe places for the LGBTQ+ community. There has been judgement, rejection, harm, and misunderstanding. However that does not mean that members of the LGBTQ+ community have not maintained a sense of their faith or explored and grown in their spiritual lives. Many faith groups and churches have become welcoming, LGBTQ+ affirming places of faith that welcome and support their LGBTQ+ members.

The mission of SpiritPride is to provide a safe, positive, LGBTQ+ affirming space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore issues of faith, spirituality and sexuality. The conference is hosted by St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church in Vancouver, BC,  a community that is passionate, inclusive, progressive, and committed to justice. 

Affirm United at Spirit Pride, Vancouver, BCThis year we are partnering with Affirm United to host their Annual National Conference together with Spiritpride, to make it a amazing national event! Affirm United works for the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the United Church of Canada and in society they provide:

  • Education– to promote greater awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
  • Action– to work to end discrimination against people in church, society and our own organization.
  • Support– to help people of all sexual orientations and gender identities find support and community within the United Church of Canada and beyond.

SpiritPride and Affirm United welcome the LGBTQ+ community, as well as LGBTQ+ allies, friends and family, and members of churches and faith groups seeking to be affirming and inclusive, along with current member organizations of Affirm United.

Your host, St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church, is an inclusive Christian community located in the heart of downtown Vancouver BC., attracting people who have an open mind and an open heart and are willing to join with others in the exploration of faith, a desire to live with integrity and compassion, and a hope to be part of a meaningful community. Our mission is to be “a light in the heart of the city”.

After the success of last year, we will also be hosting another Sanctuary Concert Saturday evening, July 30th with amazing music and performers, while raising funds for LGBTQ+ charities.

Friday July 28th, 2017

3:30 – 4:30 pm – Affirm United Annual General Meeting (free event)

  • For Affirm United Members, Affirming Ministry Leaders and anyone interested in the plans and business of Affirm United.

Paid Conference: (see registration page for tickets and fees)

5:45 – 7:00 pm – Registration

7:00 – 9:00 pm – Aboriginal Welcome, Opening Address and

Keynote presentation by Kathy Baldock, author, LGBTQ+ advocate, international speaker and educator, and Executive Director of CanyonWalker Connections

9:00 – 9:30 pm – Mix & Mingle

Saturday July 29th

7:45 – 8:45 am – Registration, Coffee and snacks

8:45 – 10:20 am – Welcome, Overview of the day

Keynote by Brandan Robertson, LGBTQ+ millennial Christian and author of Nomad: A Spirituality For Travelling Light

10:20 – 10:45 am Break

10:45 am – 12:00 pm

  • Panel: Interfaith Dialogue – Religion, Faith & Inclusiveness: Reasons for Hope
  • Panelists;
    • Rabbi Dr. Laura Duhan Kaplan, Director of Inter-religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology, Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue
    • Imam El-Farouk Khaki, Co-founder and Coordinating Imam of el-Tawhid Juma Circle, Masjid el-Tawhid , Toronto Unity Mosque
    • Dean Peter Elliott, Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada
    • Panel Moderator – Rev. Gary Paterson, Lead Minister, St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church

12:00 – 1:30 pm – Light Lunch available

1:30 – 2:50 pm – Breakout Workshops (session details may change as conference details are confirmed)

  • Untangling the Mess, Part 1 with Kathy Baldock
    • Join this engaging retrospective of the LGBT community’s experience through the history of culture, medicine, psychoanalysis, law, science, religion, and politics (this session and part 2 at 3:15pm can be attended as stand-alone sessions or together as they will overlap but contain different complimentary content)
  • The Muslim Experience: Imam El-Farouk Khaki
    • Learn through the story of a gay Muslim man as he shares experiences from his personal journey, the opening of Unity Mosque, and being an Immigration Lawyer.
  • Beginning the Journey: How to become an Affirming Ministry with Linda Hutchinson
    • Learn how to get started and proceed through this important process for your church or group
  • Queering our Faith Stories: for Youth, Gen Z & Millennials with Danice Carlson-Malena
    • This workshop will be about de-weaponizing Scripture and reclaiming its stories as we see ourselves included
  • Trans Spirituality and Theology
  • An uplifting, encouraging and affirming view of God, scripture and ourselves. 

2:50 – 3:15 pm – Comfort Break

3:15 – 4:45 pm – Breakout Workshops (session details may change as conference details are confirmed)

  • Spiritual Nomads – The Church, Modern Faith, and the Emergence of the LGBTQ Faith Community Brandan Robertson
    • Join our Keynote speaker as he shares stories of LGBT faith & the church – his own story from his book, and those of his travels and advocacy work.
  • Untangling the Mess, Part 2: Kathy Baldock
    • Join this engaging retrospective of the LGBT community’s experience through the history of culture, medicine, psychoanalysis, law, science, religion, and politics (and part 2 can be attended as stand-alone if you missed part 1)
  • After the Celebration – How to Continue on the Affirming Journey” with Bruce Hutchinson
    • Stories, Tips, and Learnings of Affirming Ministries
  • Iridesce: The Living Apology Project with  Aaron Miechkota of Affirm United
    • Collecting and sharing stories of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual 2-Spirit Transgender Queer (LGB2TTQ) community and their allies
  • On Being an Effective & Supportive LGBTQ+ Ally
    • A safe space to learn and share about being an ally – from terminology and language to advocacy and friendship

4:45 – 7:15 pm – Dinner Break (discounts will be arranged with local restaurants – join a group and enjoy!)

7:30 – 9:00 pm  – Sanctuary Concert Evening (Open to the public by donation; free for SpiritPride registrants)

  • ‘Sanctuary’ – a gospel and inspirational music concert and fundraiser for Foundation of Hope (LGBTQ+ Refuges) & Affirm United (supporting LGBTQ+ communities of faith). Marcus Mosley (BC Music Hall of Fame), his Choral, and The Universal Gospel Choir under the direction of Lonnie Delisle will perform

Sunday July 30th

10:30 am – 12:00 – Sunday Service – Join us Sunday morning at St Andrews Wesley United Church, a vibrant, inclusive community and an LGBTQ+ focused theme and  message.

1:00 – 4:00 pm – Spiritpride Picnic at Stanley Park, Second Beach picnic area: Enjoy food and new friends in the sun. (Picnic shelter available in case of rain)

This event will be on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), the Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.


2017 will be our third annual Spiritpride event. Here are some photos and testimonials from last year:

“Spirit Pride is a stimulating weekend that celebrates the religion and spirituality of LGBTQ+ and supportive friends. Thought provoking, inclusive and joyful”

“Spiritpride was a super weekend of speakers and workshops. For some folks the word religion is pretty well disliked. This conference will appeal to anyone.

“The Spiritpride conference was exactly what I needed. Sexuality in the context of faith is difficult to discuss or sometimes even think about. Being able to learn from and engage with community leaders who can speak both boldly and humbly on the subject was a great benefit to me and I believe would be a great benefit to many others. I am very thankful that an event like this exists in the city where I live.”

“This conference is for everyone, not just for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is about living together with acceptance. The sharing of love, struggle and hope are universal and need to be understood by all. Bring your teens. Bring you questions. Your heart will be moved.”


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