Church group offers support

A group at St. Andrew’s United Church in Lacombe is opening its doors to the community to offer support for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, their families and friends.

Rev. Ross Smillie

A group at St. Andrew’s United Church in Lacombe is opening its doors to the community to offer support for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, their families and friends.

In 2006, the church started Pathways for people in the congregation who wanted to talk about gender and homosexuality.

Since then the church has offered discussion and even a movie night, showcasing a film called For the Bible Tells Me So, to encourage discussion on homosexuality.

More recently members of Pathways have reached out to the community of Lacombe by putting information in school libraries, donating books to school counsellors and publicizing the time and dates of their meetings so others in Lacombe can attend.

Rev. Ross Smillie, who is the minister at St. Andrew’s, said they have tried to emphasize that the meetings are a safe non-judgmental place where people can come and not feel that their trust is violated.

Anneke Kassies, who is the chair of Pathways, said what is said in the group stays in the group.

People’s identities remain confidential as well.

Smillie said the group has been about friendship, but also admiration for people.

“It takes a lot of courage to expose yourself in this way. I find it’s inspiring too.”

The group of eight to 15 people meets once a month to talk about issues related to sexual orientation or gender.

For the first part of the meeting organizers plan how they can help others in the community, with discussion taking place during the second half. People share their stories or have a discussion about a clip from a movie or book.

Jackie, who asked that her last name not be used, joined the group with her partner Monica a little over a year ago.

“For me it’s having that feeling of being accepted.

“Some people tolerate you being gay, but in this group there are no judgments. People accept you for who you are.”

She said it has meant that she has had more confidence in the community to tell people she is a lesbian. Her partner Monica summed up the group in one word — community.

Smillie said the church was talking about homosexuality when it became legal to perform gay and lesbian marriages in Alberta a few years ago.

He said church leaders became aware that there were people in the congregation who were gay and lesbian, or who had friends and relatives who were, and they’d never talked to each other before and so the group got started.

He said Pathways began to reach out to the community more because there was an understanding that young people who are gay or lesbian often feel alienated and their families can have challenges understanding their lifestyle. He said the church wants to be a resource to anyone struggling with sexual or gender issues.

For more information about Pathways go to www.lacombeunitedchurch.ca/ministries/pathways.html or phone Ross at 403-782-3148 or Marg at 403-782-1887.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

UPDATED: Delburne man found not guilty in connection with 2016 fatal rollover

Daniel Wayne Newsham had been on trial for manslaughter

Loan officer accused of $1 million fraud to plead guilty

Accused allegedly forged customer names to get loans while working at Sylvan Lake bank

Red Deer to get new plan to end homelessness as problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

UPDATED: Delburne man found not guilty in connection with 2016 fatal rollover

Daniel Wayne Newsham had been on trial for manslaughter

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Most Read