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Community Letter to Rotary Centre for the Arts

An Open Letter Regarding the RCA Renting Space to Praxis Church

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as of May 19, 2024 8:01 pm


We are writing to express our deep concern about the rental contract between Rotary Centre for the Arts (RCA) and Praxis Church. This contractual relationship has the potential to create an unsafe and unwelcome environment for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Praxis Church rents the theatre and most of the available rental space at the RCA every Sunday to hold two worship services and Sunday school.

Praxis Church’s website explicitly condemn homosexuality and same-sex marriage as well as the anti-trans statement “Any discrepancy between ones biological sex and gender identity is due to the effects of sin in the world.” These statements directly contradict this part of RCA’s mission statement, “By providing a welcoming and supportive environment, RCA facilitates the exploration of diverse artistic endeavours, fostering collaboration, dialogue, and understanding among individuals from all walks of life.” 

We believe that RCA’s mission and Praxis Church stated beliefs are incongruent. RCA values also state: “We connect innovative learning opportunities and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences. We embrace accessibility, openness, respect, and inclusivity, fostering interdisciplinary and intercultural connections.”

This creates a mixed message that could mislead 2SLGBTQIA+ community members into a false sense of security, potentially causing harm. The historical and ongoing trauma inflicted on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by faith-based discrimination, including ostracization, homelessness, and loss of loved ones, makes the message sent by hosting Praxis Church particularly concerning.

Our Concerns:

  1. Conflicting Mission and Values: The display of the Progress Pride flag at the RCA alongside the presence of a church holding anti-2SLGBTQIA+ beliefs sends a confusing message that belies RCA’s stated value of, “accessibility, openness, respect, and inclusivity, fostering interdisciplinary and intercultural connections”.
  2. Safety and Trauma: The 2SLGBTQIA+ community has a long history of suffering due to faith-based discrimination. Hosting Praxis Church risks triggering past traumas and creating a sense by 2SLGBTQIA+ patrons, volunteers, and staff of being unwelcome and unsafe. 
  3. Potential for Harm to LGBTQIA+ Youth at Home: Praxis Church’s statements, which combine beliefs about homosexuality, gender identity, and parental authority, can be used to justify discrimination against 2SLGBTQIA+ youth within their own families. The RCA hosting events for such a group, even unintentionally, risks lending legitimacy to these harmful views and potentially emboldening parents to enforce them at home. This can lead to a rejection of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth by their families, causing significant emotional distress and social isolation.
  4. Supporting Conversion Efforts: There is the potential for those who follow the Praxis Church doctrine on homosexuality and gender identity to try to persuade or coerce youth into conversion efforts which would contravene Bill C-4 that amended the criminal code to outlaw “conversion therapy”: Definition of conversion therapy: 320.‍101 – In sections 320.‍102 to 320.‍104, conversion therapy means a practice, treatment or service designed to:
    • change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual;
    • change a person’s gender identity to cisgender;
    • change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth;
    • repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour;
    • repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or
    • repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth.

We Call for Action:

We urge the RCA to uphold its mission and values by working within them to implement policies and practices that ensure a truly safe and welcoming space for all visitors, staff, and volunteers, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Transparency and Community Awareness:

In the spirit of transparency and community awareness, we believe it is crucial to inform the public about Praxis Church’s use of the RCA space. This empowers individuals to make informed choices about entering the facility. We also request the RCA inform its members and patrons of this situation and the conflict of values.

Together, we can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.

View our page with information on Okanagan faith-based organizations here.

Danny Mbikayi
Stéfane Morin
Andreas Rutkauskas
Alison Beaumont
Brooklyn Bellmond
Vanessa Arcana
Sheila Tansey
Jeanne Rokosh
Mich Mohan
Carmen Klassen
Emmett MacMillen
Joa Lazarus
Nat ruin
Chas Moore
Christine Moore
Victoria Moore
Bailey Ennig
Delaine Coppock
Darrel Lewis
Wendy McLeish
Scott Elliott
Amanda Valoppi
Alanna Coady
Amanda Nevdoff
Douglas mathias
Julia Scott
Janice Roy
Nicole Ensing
Denise Kenney
Susan Haynes
Jacen Dennis
Brian K
Emily Myatt
Connor Charlesworth
Doug Skeggs
Debbie Hubbard
Raymond Bystrom
Carol Harvey
Dana Nease
Parker Neufeld
Beverley Ambler
Terry Bridges
Carolyn MacHardy
Joshua Keating
Deannie Zahara
Philip Jansen
Elana Bizovie
Lotte Jansen
Diane Oorebeek
Peter W Dawson
Saturday Sazaran
Ron Hole
Maureen Clayton
Waseem Sarwar
Lucy Snider
Craig Snider
Emma Lind
Kenton Warner
Rene Roy
Heather Musgrove
David Currier
Brent Forder
Matthew G Lount
Michele Rule
Frithjof Petscheleit
Cate Eales
Amanda Poon
Nicolle Williams
Jon Taylor
Lianne Caron
Julian Pino
Chris Pettypiece
Nina Gregoire
Gideon Dante
Nina B.
Rebecca Elechko
Yvette M Longstaff
Miranda G
Clare MacDonald
Phil Cadima
H. Douglas
Daniel Washbrook
Mary Willatt
Brittany Ojala
Elizabeth Flowers
Mason Campbell
Trina Haidenger
Amber Pamplin
Kristin Kowalko
Jill Barton
Glenna Cross
Janice Selbie
Franchesca Adriano
Maya Andres
Brian RG McKenzie
Christine Gifford
Katie Ward
Mitch White
Victoria W
Chad Hale
Kat Jones
Quentin Camber
Jan Brown
Dixie Beardmore
Anthony Zimmerman
Erynn Davis
Sarah Kobylka
Madeline French
Stephanie Beck
Colin Sherlow
Ben Butler
Simon Astle
Bradley Smith
Blaine Foster
Jordan hawk
Erik B
Diane Lingren
Valerie Teel
Vanessa Reid
Jenn Goulet, Footwerk Events.
Mieke Krus
Brendon Lenkart
Ali Wasiliew
Tammy Miller
Kelly Schwab
Carolyn Klassen
Catherine Woodyard
Madi Philibert
Samantha Trarback
Paige Bourgeois
Leslie Johal
Terri Adams
Jennifer L. Newman
Aura Rose
Oakley Pritchard
Kate Balfour
Adrian Smalley
Kaiden Klicper
Robert Belton
Susan Taylor
Holly Spencer
Patty Balfour
Jeff Irwin
Gayanne Pacholzuk
Fred Robillard
Sara-Jane Bennett
David Fowler
Dee Milton
Ben Neitsch
Helene Girardot
Whalemade Productions
Jillian Karpick
Kelvin Britten
Peter Diniz
Alex Short
Heather Stewart
Natalia Penuela
Lucy Fleming
Clare Fleming
David Geraghty
Hanner Chacon
Lorena Ordóñez
Shirley Chau, UBCO
Fiona Sherwood
Terry Short
Chelsea Jones
Garth Caron
Michelle Hewitt
Kirsteen McCulloch
Victor Enns
Cara Hills
Amanda Martin
Kirsten Vinge
Danielle Moore
Skylar Naiman
Kevin Saya-Moore
Kathleen Munn
Lea Paquet-Martel
Joanne Booth
Jo-Anne Ritchie
Tintina Tundra
Mackenzie Irving
Robert Choate
Claire R
Katrina Op de Beek
Pam Nicholas
Arthur Wong
Connor A.
Evan Sych
Brock Weston
Carmen Klassen
Audrey Kaake
Audrey Labrie
Audrey Labrie, Galerie d’art du Parc
Chantal R.
Tina Neff
Tristan Boisvert (Penticton Arts Council)
Brittany M
Elodie Dorsel
Joey W
Roya A
Michael Crawford
Jeffrey Simon
Jaime Kerr
Nicole L.
Francine Portelance
Mathilde Lessard
Marc-André Léveillé
Ben Willis
Kathy Currier
Mary McBride
Kelowna Pride Society
MKM Photography
Davina Kula
Candace Banks
Abigail Bos
Christopher Young
Denny Choboter
Rachel Adair
Sheldon Robillard
Colleen Cowman
Dana Hope
Keely Lowe
Heidi Starr
Rebecca Purdom
Darrien McWatters
Dee McWatters
Arianne Tubman
Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc.
Moozhan Ahmadzadegan
Lorna McParland
Jason Peil
Vicki Valks
Dara C
Dorothee Birker
Tracy Lundberg-Schimpf
Monica Kriese
Candylee Ross
Heidi Starr
Darcie Hodge
Wilbur Turner
Advocacy Canada