A brave soul transitioned yesterday, 11 October 2011. In true Frank fashion, he left us on National Coming Out Day here in the U.S.
Rev. Troy Perry, Founder, remembers Dr. Kameny:
In 1969, I met Dr. Kameny, who was a hero in what we then called the “homophile” movement. I was impressed with his clear conviction that civil rights should be afforded to everyone. Through all the changes in history in the years since the 1950s, when he was outed and then became an activist, he continued the fight, and he was always a supporter of the ministry of MCC.
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, recalls:
Dr. Frank Kameny was a fearless pioneer for gay rights, in the days before Stonewall. I met Dr. Kameny when he and the late Barbara Gittings came to speak at Allegheny College, when I was 19 years old, over 40 years ago. Their courage astounded me, even as I struggled to understand how their story was my story.
I was still closeted then, even to myself, but their honest, open telling of their stories was the first clue I had that there were others like me. There are not adequate words to express the impact on my life of their visit to our small, liberal arts, religiously-connected school. I know that Dr. Kameny was the first publically open gay man that many of us ever met.
Dr. Kameny faced unbelievable discrimination, scorn, and opposition, but he became single-minded in his devotion to civil rights. He and others picketed the White House in 1965 and pushed to have the American Psychiatric Association stop labeling gay people as mentally ill. Along with Rev. Troy Perry, and a handful of others, his courage and determination changed the world for all of us.
Later I met Dr. Kameny again, as I became involved in the leadership of MCC. Though not a religious person, he was always very respectful of the role of MCC. ‘May his memory be for a blessing.’
All of the people in MCC around the world today owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Kameny, and together we mourn his passing.
October is upon us, and MCC congregations around the world are celebrating the 43rd anniversary of MCC’s founding!
Just today, I talked with our Founder, Rev. Troy Perry, on the eve of our anniversary, and he told me about his recent trip to the UK to visit our churches in Manchester, Glasgow and Bournemouth. He was so excited about speaking before the Scottish Youth Parliament and being interviewed by The Times of London for their Scottish edition. He was amazed as ever by the global reach of MCC into the hearts and lives of those who yearn for the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ!
As we observe this milestone, I’d like to call to mind four things today:
FIRST: If your church has not yet signed-up to receive a special, designated Fellowship Sunday Offering to support the work of MCC’s International Task Force, it’s not too late to participate! Simply choose a date to receive your anniversary offering, then write to me and let me know your church will be participating.
SECOND: If your church has already signed-up, remember to visit the 2011 Fellowship Sunday webpage for your online resources, including an anniversary prayer, a newsletter article, a bulletin insert and an anniversary press release.
THIRD: In addition to your gift to our Fellowship Sunday Offering Campaign, I invite you to click here to learn more about our International Task Force.
FOURTH: How shall we observe MCC’s 43rd anniversary? Celebrate joyfully! Thank God for those who paved the way for us, knowing that we are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses.” Remember the journey we’ve shared together. Pray for God’s wisdom upon our International Task Force, and ask God’s blessing upon MCC’s future. Lift your voice in song and praise, and lift up our brothers and sisters around the world. Give generously! Worship enthusiastically! Serve God passionately!
And let us exclaim with the Psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the House of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1)
With anniversary blessings,
Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Wilson
P. S. Remember, when you write to me at , I’ll add your church to the 2011 Fellowship Sunday Pacesetters List — churches that are leading the way in support of MCC’s growing and emerging international work.
Here’s How To Participate In The 2011 Fellowship Sunday Offering Campaign:
1. 2011 Pacesetter Churches agree to receive a special, voluntary offering as part of our denomination’s 43rd anniversary during October on a Sunday of your choosing. These offerings will support the important work of MCC’s International Task Force and strengthen MCC’s growing international ministry for decades to come.
2. Simply write to MCC’s Moderator, The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, at and let her know your church will participate in the 2011 Fellowship Sunday Offering Campaign.
3. When you write, be sure to include your church’s name and location, your pastor’s name, and the date you will receive your special Fellowship Sunday Offering.
4. As soon as we hear from you, we’ll add your church and pastor to our 2011 Fellowship Sunday Pacesetters list — recognizing their leadership in “setting the pace” for the future of MCC’s ministry to our world.
Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope.
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 29 September 2011
Metropolitan Community Church Leaders Respond to
Resignation of the Rev. Mark Bidwell
Top leaders of the Metropolitan Community Church expressed shock and sadness about recent events that the Rev. Mark Bidwell was in the company of Mr. Steven Fitch when Mr. Fitch apparently died of a drug overdose. Details of the September 21 events came to attention through a police report that became public on September 27.
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church, said, “We are deeply saddened whenever drug addiction impacts an individual or a community. No community across this country is immune from the scourge of illegal drugs, but when it hits close to home, we are reminded of the commitment we have to teach people about the harms of drug abuse and to be a place of spiritual healing for those who are recovering.”
Ms. Jackie Walker, member of MCC Detroit, said, “MCC national and local leaders are responding in every responsible and appropriate way to learn what happened and to care for the congregation. Our Elders are working with the church board and members and are offering assistance and pastoral care.”
Church officials received notice late on September 27 that Pastor Bidwell was with Mr. Fitch on September 21 when illegal drugs were allegedly in use. In less than a day, Rev. Bidwell was suspended from duties until all the facts could be ascertained. Rev. Bidwell has since resigned as pastor of MCC Detroit.
Rev. Wilson said, “MCC Detroit’s forty-year ministry is extraordinary. We have asked our whole denomination and partners in faith to pray for this congregation as they deal with the shock and pain from these events. We know that God is with them and will be with them as they face this crisis with courage and faith.”
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
Tearing Down Walls.
Building Up Hope.
Current BOP members: Jeremiah Nelson, Rev. Mark Bidwell, Rev. Carolyn Mobley,
Opportunity to Serve on the Board of Pensions, USA
Our MCC clergy are the lifeblood of our community. The MCC Pension Plan is one way we show them we care about their future. The Board of Pensions is an active board which not only oversees the clergy pension plan, but strives to improve and expand it as well.
We have 1 opening on our National Board, which carries a four-year term. The current opening is a non-clergy position. Investment knowledge, marketing, communication and/or technological skills would perfectly complement our Board make up. Please contact us for more information. The successful candidate will be appointed by the Governing Board and Moderator.
Our deadline to receive resumes/references is 5 October 2011. Please send to Devon Avery, President, UFMCC BOP: .
Help shape programming at Equality Forum 2012, April 30 to May 6, by sharing your suggestions with their Board.
The annual Equality Forum is the largest national and international LGBT civil rights summit. Equality Forum 2012 has no registration fee and all substantive programs are free. To learn more about Equality Forum, visit www.equalityforum.com.
Equality Forum wants to hear from you. If you would like to share your programming ideas click here and you will be directed to the Equality Forum’s programming submission page.
Equality Forum is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum presents annually the largest and premier national and international LGBT civil rights summit. More
www.equalityforum.com (215) 732-3378