From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 12 October 2012
Metropolitan Community Church Confirms Removal of Filipino Pastor
Officials of Metropolitan Community Churches released a decision on a request for an appeal which confirmed the removal of Ceejay Agbayani from being pastor of MCC Quezon City and de facto resignation of his credentials as an MCC clergy person.
After a series of meetings in the Philippines, Mr. Agbayani decided not to follow the recommendations of the supervising elder, which set in motion his removal from his position as pastor of MCC Quezon City and the de facto relinquishment of his credentials as MCC clergy.
The decision to confirm his relinquishment of his clergy credentials was based on the related guideline in the Metropolitan Community Churches bylaws, which states that when circumstances require it, an Elder “shall have the authority to interface with that church, to take appropriate measures.”
Media contact: Jason O’Neill, Communications Coordinator,
Help Us Recruit Candidates. . .for the Governing Board!!!
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson,
Moderator Metropolitan Community Churches
Today we are publishing information about the Board Charter and qualifications for service on the Governing Board. During the General Conference in Acapulco, we elected our first term of Governing Board members. Elections for the next terms will be held during the 2013 General Conference in Chicago.
Our Nominations Committee is excited about the prospect of many, excellent and diverse candidates, and would like your help to recruit potential nominees. Serving on the Governing Board is an opportunity for clergy and laity to labor together on a unified, global MCC Board. This Board partners with the Moderator and the Elders to facilitate tasks and to support the continuation of the momentum in ministry that we have been building. This Board also works with our leadership and staff to creatively develop the resources to keep us moving forward into the future. To date, the Board has expanded its reach and work through teams that have already grown to include people who are not on the Board itself, whose gifts are crucial to their work.
Click here to go to the Governing Board home page to learn more about the Board and their activities since Acapulco. I would like to re-introduce the Governing Board Nominating Committee Cathy Alexander (chair), Rev. Catherine Dearlove, and Rusty Hall who have a message for you as well.
Grace and Peace,
+ Rev. Nancy Wilson
Metropolitan Community Churches
We Need Your Help to Recruit for the Governing Board Candidates
Cathy Alexander_________Rev. Catherine Dearlove_________Rusty Hall
Greetings from your Governing Board Nominating Committee. We are looking forward to hearing from you and are asking your assistance to identify qualified candidates to apply for the Governing Board. We would like those who have a heart for governance, along with the skills and experience for this type of ministry to prayerfully consider assisting in recruiting qualified candidates for these critically important positions:
The bylaws state the qualifications for members of the Board. “Members of the Governing Board must be members in good standing within the Fellowship who, in the sole discretion of the UFMCC, have spiritual quality and leadership, are mature, have sound judgment, and have a proven record of accomplishment. Consideration will be given to elect members with diverse perspectives, core competencies, and complementary skills consistent with the required functions and responsibilities of the Governing Board.”
Click here to view the application for potential candidates.
Our deadline for the receipt of all applications is 5 pm EST, Monday, 1 November 2012. Thank you for your willingness to serve and for your passion for MCC’s ministry and future! See you in Chicago.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2012
CONTACT: Steve Roth, OutThink Partners
PHONE: 323-951-0059 EMAIL:
CONTACT: Erik Olvera, National Center for Lesbian Rights
(San Francisco) A coalition of more than 30 national religious leaders gathered by Gaylesta, a therapy association for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Faith Work Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and Convenor of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, have endorsed Senate Bill 1172, which will protect minors from damaging psychological abuse by licensed mental health professionals who falsely claim they can change their sexual orientation or gender expression. Authored by Senator Ted Lieu, SB 1172 is co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gaylesta, Mental Health America of Northern California, Lambda Legal, and the Courage Campaign.
“We applaud these religious leaders for taking a stand against these harmful and discredited practices and helping to protect LGBT youth,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.”
“We see the heartbreaking effects of this deceptive and dangerous psychological abuse and we know that, as religious leaders, we must say no. No to injury, no to suffering, no to the pain it causes. Our religious traditions call us to affirm the worth and dignity of all God’s children – these practices denigrate that which is sacred in all people and they must be stopped,” said Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Faith Work Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund and Convenor of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable.
“All children are created in the image of God, beloved just as they are. Subjecting minors to these potentially dangerous and discredited practices would be like handing your child a stone when they ask for bread,” said Patrick Evans, interim executive director of More Light Presbyterians. “It is important that people of faith speak out against these harmful methods and protect the vulnerable from coercive practices which declare them to be inferior in the sight of God. SB 1172 does exactly that.”
“In our years of ministering to LGBT Catholics, we have seen the devastation wrought by this damaging psychological abuse, and know the years of legitimate therapy, prayer and reflection required to return victims to a healthy, whole identity,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA, an LGBT Catholic organization. “We know that we are blessed, whole, and healthy people, and SB 1172 removes the fear of psychological abuse for young people yearning for the freedom to love.”
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faith leaders who spoke in favor of SB 1172 see firsthand the deep psychological, emotional and spiritual effects of the damaging attempts to change the orientation of LGBT minors. They also feel that this is a moral issue, upon which they must take a firm stand, recognizing the intrinsic dignity and perfection of all LGBT youth.
The 32 religious organizations endorsing SB 1172 are:
The Taskforce’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable, an interfaith network of leaders from pro-LGBT faith, spiritual and religious organizations
A Wider Bridge, bridging the LGBTQ communities of Israel & North America
Believe Out Loud Network
Dignity USA (LGBT Catholics)
Dignity San Diego
Ecumenical Catholic Church
Faith in America
Glory to Glory Christian Church, United Church of Christ
Integrity USA (LGBT Episcopalians)
Institute for Judaism, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
Keshet, LGBT Jewish Network
Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice
First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta, GA
Metropolitan Community Church of the Valley
Metropolitan Community Church – New England Ministries
Metropolitan Community Church of Albuquerque
Metropolitan Community Church of Austin
Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge
Metropolitan Community Church of Central Texas
Metropolitan Community Church of Sarasota
Metropolitan Community Churches – Office of Church Life & Health
Metropolitan Community Churches – USA
Metropolitan Community Churches – Office of Emerging Ministries
More Light Presbyterians
Muslims for Progressive Values
New Ways Ministries (a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for LGBT Catholics)
Progressive Christians Uniting
Reconciling Ministries Network: United Methodists
Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation
Religious Institute Faithful Voices on Sexuality and Religion
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International
The faith leaders who have registered support for SB 1172 have sent letters to Governor Jerry Brown, urging him to sign the measure. Governor has until September 30th to sign or veto the bill or it will become law on January 1st, 2013.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 85 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.nclrights.org
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 6 July 2011
The Peninsula Metropolitan Community Church recently learned that Brandon Hamm, a volunteer minister, was arrested on 22 June 2012 on charges related to child pornography. Hamm was held, and on 26 June, charged with multiple felony counts of engaging in a lewd act with a minor through social media.
When the news reached The Peninsula MCC and leaders at the Metropolitan Community Churches, officials immediately followed pre-established procedures to respond to arrests or allegations by suspending Brandon Hamm’s license to be a minister within MCC until the investigation and legal proceedings are completed. All MCC ministers annually read and sign a code of conduct that explicitly prohibits “abuse or exploitation of minors.”
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, said, “Leaders, pastors and members of Metropolitan Community Churches are shocked by these allegations. We serve people across the world, and we are committed to creating safe sanctuary for all of our members and community participants. MCC leaders have taken appropriate initial actions and are monitoring developments. It is important to remember that an investigation is in process, and it is in the hands of police authorities. As always, we seek God’s guidance and pray for every person who is impacted.”
For contact: Ann Craig, MCC Media Coordinator .
THE FELLOWSHIP OF AFFIRMING MINISTRIES
THE GLOBAL JUSTICE INSTITUTE
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCHES
For Immediate Release: May 14, 2012
Ann Craig – MCC Communications
Jason O’Neill – MCC Communications
Three Faith Groups with Global Reach Add Voices of Support for President Obama’s Affirmation of Marriage for All Couples
Three organizations added their accolades to President Barack Obama for his affirmation of marriage for loving same-gender couples. The Global Justice Institute works in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America to support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families; the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries is a network of primarily African American congregations; and Metropolitan Community Churches has been performing marriages for same-gender couples for more than 40 years.
Metropolitan Community Churches
We are so proud of President Obama. He listened to committed couples; he listened to his daughters whose friends have same gender parents and he listened to the message of love in the Bible. He understands that two-tiered systems are never equal and affirmed his support for marriage for all loving couples. Through the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, President Obama heard faith leaders support marriage equality. He knows that pastors in the Metropolitan Community Churches around the world have performed thousands of marriages for loving same-gender couples for over forty years.
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
We hope everyone who felt that somehow being a person of faith conflicts with being an advocate for equality will take to heart the words of President Obama and find the courage to pray and reflect on the meaning of believing in a God who is defined as love. As a network of primarily African American churches that support same-gender-loving people and their families, we know the importance of equality before the law.
Global Justice Institute
We will not give up until Marriage Equality is the law, not only in North Carolina, but all across the United States and even the globe. President Obama’s evolution in thought and his courage in sharing his convictions give us all hope for the kind of changes globally that will guarantee freedom and equality for everyone. It is this conviction that gives us hope for a future where the world will live in peace with its God-given diversity.
You might be surprised to hear that Mike O’Neal, the Republican Speaker of the Kansas State House, is praying for President Obama.
Unfortunately, he’s praying for the president’s death. And he’s exploiting the Bible to do so, circulating an email that quotes Psalm 109: “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.” O’Neal said of the violent Psalm “At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president.”1
Sadly, it’s not unusual for Republican politicians to use hate-filled rhetoric when speaking about President Obama. But when they exploit religion to do so, people of faith have a moral responsibility to condemn it.
This isn’t even the first time Speaker O’Neal has disgraced his office with his personal behavior. He already got in trouble for forwarding a racist email calling the First Lady “Mrs. YoMama” and making fun of her appearance, which he half-heartedly apologized for only after being confronted with public outrage.
Speaker O’Neal’s juvenile racism and hateful attacks aren’t just a distasteful criticism of President Obama. By misusing scriptures that millions of Americans hold sacred, he’s insulting our faith and damaging our democracy.
We can usher Speaker O’Neal out of office by showing that people of faith across the country are outraged by his actions.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael, Jessica, Nick and the Faithful America Team
On November 19, 2011, Florida A&M University student Robert Champion Jr. was found unresponsive aboard a band bus after the school’s biggest game of the year. Police ruled the death a homicide from hazing; furthermore, the parents of Mr. Champion, a 26-year-old drum major in the university’s famed marching band, have recently revealed that Mr. Champion was gay. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s largest Black LGBT civil rights organization, is urging the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (CRS) and Civil Rights Division, in addition to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, to launch an immediate investigation into Mr. Champion’s death as a potential anti-gay hate crime. You can help by signing our petition.
The loss of Mr. Champion is an unfortunate reminder of the need for proactive measures that foster inclusive environments for all students, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity, and that address the severe issue of hazing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country—Florida A&M being one of the nation’s oldest and largest HBCUs.
Anti-gay violence is not only a civil rights issue; it is a Black issue. It is a Black issue because violence against gay and transgender individuals is disproportionately affecting our Black youth. The civil rights community can no longer stand on the sidelines while our sons and daughters continue to suffer in silence. Mr. Champion is one of our own and his death will not be in vain.
That is why I am calling on the Black and LGBT communities to join NBJC in demanding a fair and thorough investigation. Sign the petition and urge the Department of Justice to begin an investigation TODAY!
Be it hazing or hate crime, justice must be served.
– Sharon Lettman-Hicks
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
National Black Justice Coalition
We are all asked to sign a number of petitions each year in relation to various advocacy efforts. This petition for H.R. 998, the “Student Non-Discrimination Act, is extremely important for the welfare of LGBT youth across America. Please sign and share.
You can also send a note to your United States representative or senator at POPVOX.
Listen to the Rev. Pat Bumgardner, click on the link to view video.
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director and Board Chair of the Global Justice Institute, a nonprofit international human rights group, on the Obama administration’s new and unprecedented efforts to address the on-the-ground reality of daily life for oppressed sexual minorities in many parts of the world. She is also Senior Pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of New York. Learn more about the Global Justice Institute here:http://mccny.org/wordpress/resources/global-justice-institute/
To download this audio, click here:http://stateofbelief.com/audiofiles/State_of_Belief_121711_Pat_Bumgardner.mp3
To read the transcript, click here:http://stateofbelief.com/component/content/article/369
Listen to the entire December 17th, 2011 State of Belief Radio program here:http://stateofbelief.com/show-archive/368-december-17-2011
Hear Rev. Pat Bumgardner’s previous appearance on State of Belief Radio here: http://stateofbelief.com/show-archive/266-december-25-2010
Share your thoughts on this topic on our Facebook page here:http://www.facebook.com/StateofBelief