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Holy & homo-friendly

In search of affirming religious institutions

For those craving a religious fix over the holidays but without a regular place of worship, there are a number of homo-friendly institutions to choose from. Here are a few options; the list is by no means complete.

Metropolitan Community Church

Known to many as the big, gay church, the Metropolitan Community Church Of Toronto (115 Simpson St, 416-406-6228, Mcctoronto.com) is as queer-friendly as it gets. Services are held every Sunday morning at 9am and 11am. Sun, Dec 18 at 11am will be a children’s service. That evening at 7pm is a special candlelight service. The highlight of the holiday season at MCCT is the gorgeous Christmas Eve ceremony on Sat, Dec 24 at Roy Thompson Hall; tickets are $19.50 in advance (416-872-4255) or $25 at the door. Also check out the Christos MCC congregation (427 Bloor St W, 416-925-7924, Christosmcc.com).

The United Church Of Canada

There are at least six affirming United Churches in Toronto, the most well known of which is probably Trinity-St Paul’s (427 Bloor St W, 416-922-8435). This “affirming and justice-seeking” congregation worships Sunday mornings at 10:30am. Sun, Dec 18 will be a children’s Christmas pageant. That evening at 7pm there’ll be carols by candlelight. On Wed, Dec 21 at 7pm is a service of remembrance and reflection for people working through painful memories. Sat, Dec 24 at 7pm Trinity-St Paul’s will be holding a joint service with Bloor St United and at 10pm is a candlelight service. For a list of affirming United churches check out Affirmunited.ca.

Anglican Church Of Canada

The Church Of The Holy Trinity (10 Trinity Sq, 416-598-4521, Holytrinitytoronto.org) celebrates the Anglican tradition but, “[a]t the same time we are unafraid to challenge what we believe to be wrong.” Definitely queer-friendly. Regular services are Sundays at 9am and 10:30am. Holy Trinity is also offering up a nativity pageant every weekend between now and Christmas Eve, Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 4:30pm and 7:30pm (except for Sat, Dec 24 which is 4:30pm only) and Sundays at 4:30pm. Suggested donation is $5 for children and $15 for adults.

Also check out the local chapter of Integrity, the Anglican Church’s queer group, which will be holding a lessons and carols service on Mon, Dec 19 at 7:30pm at the Church Of The Redeemer (162 Bloor St W, 416-922-4948, The-redeemer.ca) and a holiday social on Wed, Dec 28 at a private home. Call (416) 323-0389 or check out Toronto.integritycanada.org for more info.

Unitarian Church

The First Unitarian Church Of Toronto (175 St Clair Ave W, 416-924-9655, First-unitariantoronto.org) is a Universalist Unitarian congregation, welcoming Christians and non-Christians alike. There will be carol singing on Sun, Dec 18 at noon, a Womyn’s Spirit Winter Solstice event on Wed, Dec 21 at 7pm and a candlelight Christmas Eve service on Sat, Dec 24 at 8pm.

Synagogues & Jewish temples

The Danforth Jewish Circle (416-825-7431, Djtoronto.com) is a “progressive alternative” community that isn’t affiliated with any particular movement within Judaism, and is welcoming of homos. Email info@djtoronto.com for info on upcoming Hanukah events. You can also check out the First Narayever Synagogue (187 Brunswick Ave, 416-927-0546, Narayever.com), which has a more complicated relationship to homosexuality but lots of queers who worship there.

The Wiccan Church Of Canada

Pagans are celebrating Yule this time of year. Part of the Odyssean tradition, the Toronto Temple of the WCC (109 Vaughan Rd, 416-656-6564, Wcc.on.-ca/toronto.html) hosts regular service Sunday evenings at 8pm. On Tue, Dec 13 at 8pm there’ll be a public class on Yule, then the Yule sabbat itself will be celebrated on Sun, Dec 18 at 8pm. Participants are requested to bring feast foods.