December 7, 2021
Youth For Christ Winnipeg (“YFC Winnipeg”) is a chapter of Youth For Christ Canada – a faith-based, inter-denominational ministry.
YFC Winnipeg operates a variety of recreational programming and resource services to serve youth across a wide variety of interests and needs, including skateboarding, dance, counselling, sports, drop-in, summer camps, and more. YFC Winnipeg has operated in Winnipeg and the surrounding communities for more than 65 years, and has existed to love and care for youth in the diverse and dynamic communities in which it serves.
We have recently received concerns from some members of the Indigenous and the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and we would like to respond by providing clarity around our mission, values, and posture.
We believe every person is given life by Creator God and therefore has an intrinsic value and purpose, and is loved by God. We believe that God has demonstrated this love most fully in the person, work, and values of Jesus. We see the hope and potential in every young person, and want youth to experience that hope and potential themselves. All young people are welcomed and valued at YFC regardless of religious belief, people group, or sexual orientation. At YFC Winnipeg, our mission is to make an opportunity available for every youth to be living fully in Christ. It is that love of Creator God we endeavour to share with young people by creating a welcoming environment where all youth can feel safe and valued. All opportunities to learn about Christianity and faith in Jesus are voluntary and optional.
As people of faith, we believe we have been called to the holy work of justice. Jesus taught us that our treatment of the most vulnerable reflects our relationship with Jesus. And we acknowledge that generational atrocities have been grotesquely committed in the name of God and church.
In 2017, YFC Winnipeg joined with other businesses, churches, and individuals to sign the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord, symbolising our commitment to learn and share in the continual work of reconciliation. As required by the Accord, YFC Winnipeg regularly submits reports demonstrating our efforts towards reconciliation. Some of this work has included hosting the Blanket Exercise, participating in Circles of Reconciliation, receiving training around Indigenous and Settler relations, as well as collaborating with other local Indigenous organizations. YFC Winnipeg also has an Indigenous Priorities Committee, which is composed of Indigenous and Non Indigenous YFC Winnipeg Staff, as well as an Indigenous Elder, who work together to recognize and act on recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (specifically TRC Commitment #59).
YFC Canada is committed to reconciliation and is working towards tangible steps as part of its national strategic plan to engage the TRC calls to action #58-61. YFC Canada has a group of indigenous leaders across Canada it engages as they work towards their goals around reconciliation. YFC Canada regularly promotes a variety of Indigenous-led learning opportunities, and encourages staff across Canada to engage fully in the process of learning and understanding so that movement toward reconciliation may be truthful and authentic.
As one of the long-serving youth ministries in Canada, we emphatically commit to, “walking in a good way,” and raising a generation of young people that are passionate about caring for one another.
We are committed to keeping an open posture that willingly listens to the concerns of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and other interest groups in our city, and will strive to respond in compassionate and appropriate ways. We value mutually respectful conversation. We are concerned that online and social media can easily be misunderstood. In our observation, social media does not generally promote dialogue, common understanding, and a constructive path forward, thus, we choose not to reply over social media. We invite any concerns to be brought to us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will respond in a timely manner.
Youth For Christ Winnipeg, Cliff Heide & Teresa Galashan (Lakota, Standing Rock)
Youth For Christ Winnipeg – Board of Directors, Larry Wilson (Peguis, First Nation)
Youth For Christ Canada, Tim Coles – National Director