Summit 2021 - Summary Statement
The 2021 Canadian Religious Freedom Summit was convened on January 30, 2021. Over 1,400 people of different Christian traditions from across Canada registered to attend.

We stand strongly opposed to coercive and involuntary therapeutic practices carried out under the banner of “conversion therapy” and are thankful for the desire of parliamentarians from all parties to protect Canadians from such practices. Our concern is the framing of Bill C-6, which lacks precision and reaches far beyond its stated purpose. As it stands, the definition of “conversion therapy” in Bill C-6 does not align with definitions of the practice widely used by professional health organizations nor with common understandings of the term. The Bill’s definition is so broad that a range of non-therapeutic practices are at risk of being captured by it and criminalized. In particular, it could criminalize the teaching of a biblical vision for human sexuality in a range of contexts, including church, school and home.

Churches are called upon by millions of Canadians for guidance and comfort in connection with major life decisions and milestones, along with all the complex ethical questions they raise. Pastors and counsellors are regularly required to have sensitive conversations about sexuality and identity, discernment in relationships, restoration after infidelity, and much more besides. Because of the importance of these daily interactions for Canadians, we are alarmed that Bill C-6 allows little room for the freedoms needed for addressing sexuality in a faith context.

We are convinced that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people and that God’s design for human flourishing is life-giving. As a matter of conviction and conscience, millions of Canadian Christians hold to the historic Christian vision for human sexuality set out in the Bible – that God made us male and female and designed sexual intimacy for marriage between a man and a woman. Countless others within this diverse country hold similar convictions on sexuality. We do not expect that all will agree with a biblical perspective, but it is vitally important that we retain the freedom to express and discuss it within an open society such as ours. We want to continue to be able to share our faith with fellow Canadians, believing that this country is enriched by the witness and work of Christians in many spheres, but would be greatly impoverished if that witness were muted, restricted, or criminalized.

We believe that an unamended Bill C-6 would represent a landmark erosion of freedom of religion and freedom of expression in Canada. As Christians who love this country and her citizens and who seek to serve our communities in word and deed, that prospect is heartbreaking for us. We call upon the Parliament of Canada to amend this bill to make it clear that the label “conversion therapy” applies only to coercive, involuntary, and discredited therapeutic practices, and not to religious instruction, pastoral care, or conversations within families. Please do this with urgency and care in order to maintain our core freedoms of religion and expression, as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Summit 2021: "Conversion Therapy", Conversion, and the Gospel of Grace
Religious freedom is a cherished value of Canadians, enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Christians rely on this freedom to extend the life-transforming good news of Jesus Christ to our needy world. Cherishing this freedom, we must not take it for granted. Many recognize today that religious freedom is under increasing pressure in Canada – not least in the proposed federal Bill C-6, which calls into question the ability of pastors and counsellors (along with parents and educators) to freely communicate the Bible’s teaching on matters related to sexuality. This summit is an opportunity for evangelicals from across the nation to come together, to pray, to become properly informed, and to consider the road ahead. Please plan to join us online for this important and timely summit.
Our Mission: To protect and promote freedom for gospel ministry in Canada
Our mission is to protect and promote freedom for Gospel ministry in Canada. Our goals with this event are 1) to call believers to prayer, 2) to equip the church to respond to issues related to religions freedom, 3) to gather key leaders together to consider long-term strategy and 4) to raise awareness in the public square of the church’s concern and interest.
Location
Online (streaming link will be sent to registered attendees by email on the day of the event)
Date & Time
January 30, 2021
01:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST
02:30 PM - 5:30 PM NST
02:00 PM - 5:00 PM AST
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM CST
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM MST
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM PST
Participants
André Schutten
DIRECTOR OF LAW AND POLICY, ASSOCIATION FOR REFORMED POLITICAL ACTION
André is Director of Law and Public Policy and General Legal Counsel for ARPA Canada. Based in ARPA’s Ottawa office, he researches and writes on public policy, conducts regular analysis on the impact of different government bills and court judgments and acts as ARPA’s chief Parliamentary lobbyist. He lectures regularly on constitutional and legal issues. He also represents ARPA in various court interventions, having made arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada three times and three provincial courts of appeal. 
Deacon Andrew Bennett
PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CRFI & FAITH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, Cardus
Dcn. Andrew works to promote religious freedom and the importance of public faith to our common life. He also leads Cardus's engagement with faith communities across Canada and Cardus's program of public theology. Dcn. Andrew is a Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) in Washington, DC. Dcn. Andrew also served as Canada's first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and led the Office of Religious Freedom defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada's foreign policy. 
Deina Warren
Associate Director of Legal Affairs, Canadian Centre for Christian Charities 
Deina Warren is Associate Director of Legal Affairs at the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities, where she advises on a broad range of charity, tax, and regulatory matters, religious freedom and human rights law. Deina lives with her family in the GTA. 
Colette Aikema
Associate Speaker, Faith Beyond Belief
Colette is a staff speaker at Faith Beyond Belief. Her dynamic talks focus on topics related to sexuality and apologetics. She has given talks throughout southern Alberta and as far as Ontario, and has written blogs, hosted podcasts and delivered workshops on pornography, sexuality, gender, abortion and apologetics online, at the university level, and at various high schools and conferences.
Having spent countless hours doing frontline Christian activism on the street, she continues to defend truth by preparing believers for everyday conversations about faith.

Julia Beazley 
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, THE EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF CANADA
Julia Beazley has been with the EFC since 1999, working mainly on issues of domestic and global poverty, homelessness, prostitution, pornography and human trafficking. She moved from her previous position as policy analyst to director of public policy in January 2016.
Jojo Ruba
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAITH BEYOND BELIEF
Jojo equips Christians to be effective ambassadors for Christ for everyday conversations. He has spoken at venues that include Sunday morning services, secular debates at universities and morning chapels at Christian schools. Jojo earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa. He is executive director of Faith Beyond Belief, based in Calgary, AB, Canada.
Jonathan Griffiths
LEAD PASTOR, METROPOLITAN BIBLE CHURCH, OTTAWA 
Jonathan Griffiths serves as Lead Pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa, as a Council member of the Gospel Coalition Canada, and as Bible teacher for Encounter the Truth. Jonathan studied theology at Oxford and Cambridge universities and is the author of a number of academic and devotional books. He is passionately committed to bringing the good news of salvation in Jesus to Canadians.
Lorna Dueck (moderator)
Engagement consultant, Former CEO, Crossroads Christian Communications
Lorna Dueck has explored the intersection of journalism and Christianity for over 30 years and it has given her a fascinating journey into media management. In 2016, Lorna was appointed CEO of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., a leader in faith and values media and home to Canada’s longest running daily talk show 100 Huntley Street. 

Derek B.M Ross
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR &
GENERAL COUNSEL, Christian Legal Fellowship
Derek B.M. Ross, LL.B. (Western), LL.M. (Toronto), is the Executive Director & General Counsel for Christian Legal Fellowship, where he oversees all aspects of the organization's operations, education and training programs, publications, and advocacy. His litigation practice focuses on human rights and religious freedom, and he has acted for public interest interveners in a number of cases involving the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also appeared before legislative and Parliamentary committees to present on constitutional and legal issues. 
Don't miss out.
Register by January 30 . We look forward to seeing you there.
Schedule
1:00 - 1:05 PM EST
Opening Remarks and Prayer
1:05 - 1:25 PM EST
Jonathan Griffiths – Preaching the gospel, shepherding the flock
1:25 - 1:45 PM EST
André Schutten – Caesar is gnostic, and expects you to be too
1:45 - 2:05 PM EST
Deina Warren - Acts of charity: How charities can engage in the political arena
2:05 - 2:25 PM EST
Julia Beazley – Conversion therapy Bill C-6: Why Clarity is Essential 
2:25 - 2:45 PM EST
Legal and policy panel Q&A
2:45 - 2:50 PM EST
Break
2:50 - 3:10 PM EST
Andrew Bennett – Religious Freedom and Pastoral Accompaniment
3:10 - 3:30 PM EST
Colette Aikema – The face of conversion: How God redeemed my identity
3:30 - 3:50 PM EST
Jojo Ruba - Destroyer of the gods: What the early church can teach us about reaching a hostile culture
3:50 - 4:00 PM EST
Closing Remarks and Prayer
4:00 - 4:05 PM EST
Break for round table participants
4:05 - 4:45 PM EST
Leader Roundtable
Conference Location
This conference will be held online. A streaming link will be sent to your email on the day of the event.
Sponsors
News & Updates
Across Canada, in various provinces and municipalities and now in Parliament, laws have been proposed (and most have passed), outlawing “conversion therapy.” Christians should be concerned. As ARPA Canada explains in its policy report on conversion therapy, the devil is in the details: how one defines conversion therapy determines how good or bad such a ban would be.
Recently proposed updates to Bill C-6, which will outlaw conversion therapy, make the bill’s problematic definition worse.
ARPA Canada has shared concerns about the implications of Canadian Federal Bill C-6 – An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Conversion Therapy), which is currently being debated in parliament. A major flaw of conversion therapy bans is that they lump together body-affirming counselling with other out-dated, harmful forms of conversion therapy. ARPA staff have been holding meetings with MPs from all parties, but we need your help to let MPs know of our concerns.

The justice minister claims the bill does not mean what it says, but refuses to entertain a simple amendment that would put everyone's mind at ease

Canadians must challenge Ottawa’s vague Bill C-6 that sped through the Commons justice committee while we were all distracted by COVID, Iain Provan writes.


Despite broad support in the House, the proposed law to ban conversion therapy reaches too far

Contact Us
The Canadian Religious Freedom Summit is convened and facilitated by the Metropolitan Bible Church, Ottawa, with the gracious help and advice of the Summit’s sponsors.

Please use the following form to contact us.

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