Niagara United Church running “Queer Kid Bible Camp”
Niagara United Church running “Queer Kid Bible Camp”

Silver Spire United Church in St. Catherines is running a “Queer Kid Bible Camp” featuring makeup classes and arts endeavours.

In a video published by the Avanti Chamber Singers, Silver Spire Youth Group Leader and Student Minister Ally Phillips, who is wearing a shirt with a knife on it which reads “Protect Trans Kids,” explains that progressive bible camp runs on the motto of “sacred and holy, wonderfully and intentionally made, God delights in you.”

“At Queer Kid Bible Camp, we strive to be a community of kinship and queer joy and celebration, for Niagara’s queer kids, their allies and families,” he said.

The camp holds of bi-monthly gatherings for “queer youth” that feature makeup classes, tie-dye shirts and arts endeavours. The “Queer Kid Bible Camp” Facebook page also promotes drag queen story hours hosted by Silver Spire.

Phillips added they are hoping to soon launch a “gender-affirming closet” featuring what he calls “gender-affirming gear.”

The church will also be running an overnight camp for “queer kids” this summer, and is looking for “LGBTQIA2S+ grown up(s) passionate about camp, queer youth and planning” to help out.

The “Queer Kid Bible Camp” was launched in March 2022, and its sign up form asks kids to state their name and pronouns. The video discussing the camp shows posters on a billboard promoting multiple pseudo-pronouns, including “ze-zir”

Phillips also discussed concerns he has with “transphobic” legislation being introduced in the United States, and claimed such ideals are “creeping their way into Canada.”

“Those (ideals) are influenced by a hateful religious rhetoric.”

Phillips believes “church environments have not always been safe categorically for queer people, for trans people, for LGBTQ people at large,” and that although Silver Spire aims to be a safe space, it still “isn’t one that feels safe for everybody.”

The progressive church is also hosting a “Pride Service” this Sunday to mark the start of June, dubbed LGBTQ Pride Month. The latter will feature an affirmation and celebration of the “2SLGBTQQIA+ community” as well as a drag queen story time for children.  

While churches across North America are rejecting gender ideology and wokeness, the United Church of Canada has embraced both. The protestant denomination, which showcases itself as an affirming space that believes “gender and sexuality are gifts of God,” supports gay marriage, transgenderism, “non-binary” gender identities and pride parades.

In addition to endorsing gender ideology, The United Church of Canada supports abortion, has also allowed atheists to serve as ministers and has been critical of Israel. During the pandemic, several of its congregations also voluntarily imposed vaccine passports – and kept them in place after governments lifted mandates.

On gender ideology, American associate pastor Josh Blount offered a different take from that of the United Church. Writing in the Gospel Coalition, he said that while Christians “must love and respect those confused about their gender, because they’re God’s image-bearers,” they must oppose gender ideology “because of the damage it will do to real people” – citing the words of author Sharon James.

Meanwhile, American Bible teacher and preacher Mike Mazzalongo called on Christians to reject wokeness in a sermon, noting that it “replaces God with political and cultural concepts.”

“Wokeness is a religion,” said Mazzalongo. “Unlike Christianity, which is based on and functions by the principle of grace, wokeness distinguishes itself as a religious like movement, which is completely devoid of grace, operating exclusively by the principle of law.”

Silver Spire Minister Rev. Karen Orlandi declined True North’s request for comment.

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