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Rev Roland Stringfellow, MCC Detroit, listed in “16 faith leaders to watch”

Ministry Leader Spirituality and Engagement

MCCTorontoMetropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCC Toronto) has an extraordinary opportunity for a fulltime Ministry Leader Spirituality and Engagement.

MCC Toronto, established in 1973, is a progressive spiritual community, rooted in Christianity and originally founded to serve the needs of the LGBT community. Today our congregation is diverse: our heterosexual community has grown significantly; over 30 ethnic backgrounds are represented; over 20 countries reported as a place of birth; more than 20 different languages are spoken and we are home to a wide range of faith backgrounds, including individuals with no previous church history. On average, 600 people attend our worship services every Sunday. For people facing life’s challenges, a wide range of programs and support groups are offered. MCC Toronto also offers classes, seminars, retreats and workshops for spiritual and personal growth. MCC Toronto’s vision is to be a Bridge. We believe in the core values of Spirituality, Diversity and Advocacy.

Our rich and successful history of social justice has given us a unique position in Toronto, in Canada, and increasingly in the world. We led the battle for same-sex marriage in 2001. In August of 2011, we were invited to officiate at the state funeral of Jack Layton, a senior Canadian statesman, affirming our position as a progressive, inclusive faith community that is becoming a beacon for change in the world. More recently newly elected Toronto Mayor John Tory said “this church (MCC Toronto) is the epi-center of the protection of (Canadian) values.”

Reporting to the Executive Pastor, this position will further advance the vibrant paths of spiritual growth and opportunities for community engagement which lie at the heart of MCC Toronto’s past, present and future.

A continued focus of MCC Toronto is to increase the level of congregational connection, excitement and engagement such that congregants experience a sense of belonging; find multiple ways to connect and grow no matter where they are on their life or spiritual journey and combine their talents, time and resources in meaningful ways to transform lives, our community and the world.
The Ministry Leader of Spirituality and Engagement will develop, nurture and continuously improve the ways in which MCCT explores, expresses and experiences progressive spirituality, generous hospitality, welcome, inclusion and community.
Areas of Responsibility:

  • In collaboration with the Executive Pastor, develop annual goals and plan for spiritual programming, new comer connection , community development and engagement that:
    • aligns with MCC Toronto’s values, mission, vision and strategic plan
    • improves the ways in which MCCT explores, expresses and experiences progressive spirituality, generous hospitality, welcome, inclusion and community;
    • fosters meaningful relationships
    • helps MCCT become a church that thrives as attendees invite friends/acquaintances to worship
    • provides nurturing and leadership to ministry teams/leaders
    • increases the number of social, spiritual and connection opportunities for the congregation
  • Manage overall organization, design, and oversight of Spirituality and Engagement ministry.
  • Engage the congregation in visible ways to better understand the gifts, hopes and needs of individual congregants as well as the congregation as a whole;
  • Recruit, train, manage and support volunteers to lead social events and activities, facilitate education and social groups, evaluate and/or develop spirituality programs and curriculum;
  • Collaborate with MCCT team and ministry leaders to encourage and implement good group processes, community engagement practices and clarify volunteer needs;
  • Work with volunteer and staff leaders to plan and grow the Ministry.
  • Communicate the vision and purpose of the Spirituality and Engagement Ministry to the congregation.
  • Ensure that opportunities and events are effectively communicated to the congregation, staff, and volunteers.
  • Ensure Spirituality and Engagement Ministry: 1) is aligned to the vision/mission of MCC Toronto; 2) complies with all relevant laws, professional standards and MCC Toronto policies and procedures; 3) has clear mandates; 4) has adequate resources including staff support when required and 5) continues to deliver the intended programs and services.
  • Prepare and administer the overall ministry plan, budget, community framework and work with spiritual and social group and team leaders to create their own plans, budgets, etc..

Other Key Activities:

  • Participate in training and engages in practices to effectively use teams where applicable.
  • Participate in personal development in order to increase individual knowledge, skills and the modeling of key attributes.
  • Ensure that regular progress reports related to the goals, strategies and strategic initiatives are prepared for the Executive Pastor according to published timelines.
  • Ensure that key processes and procedures related to the Spirituality and Engagement Ministry are formally documented and reviewed on an annual basis.

Qualifications and Attributes:

  • Bachelor’s degree from four-year college or university.
  • Some formal training in theology, education and/or spirituality is highly desired.
  • Awareness of the uniqueness associated with non-profit environments.
  • Awareness of MCC Toronto’s role in the local community and recognition/acceptance of its value to the world as a whole.
  • Support of the beliefs, core values, mission and vision of this Church is required.
  • Demonstrated experience recruiting, training, supervising and working effectively with volunteers and teams is required.
  • Demonstrated experience with communications planning across various social media, websites, email and newsletters is highly desired.
  • Working knowledge of community development and engagement practices and progressive Christian spirituality required.
  • Solid knowledge of concerns and considerations of lay pastoral care a strong plus.
  • Extensive Self Leadership and Team Leadership Skills are required.
  • Extensive Conflict Management Skills are required.
  • Working knowledge of Office Computing Tools (Microsoft Office Suite) is required.
  • We need a “connector” with strong skills in team leadership, volunteer management, community transformation who will engage the congregation ad multiple the opportunities for community to flourish among our increasingly diverse, metropolitan congregation.

This position requires flexibility in work schedule to support events that occur outside of regular working hours. Must be willing to work regularly on Sundays and interact with congregants before and after Sunday worship services.

This is a tremendous opportunity to join an organization that plays a unique role in the local community, is passionate about its growing value to the world and helps individuals achieve their spiritual development goals. Compensation is commensurate with experience and includes an excellent benefits package.

Please send resume with cover letter stating salary expectations to smorris@mcctoronto.com no later than January 31, 2016.

Joy of Generosity

hearts“Extending generosity to ourselves and others gladdens our heart… and brings joy. ”
Christina Feldman

Stewardship in the Church

Stewardship is a churchy word, not used often in everyday language. In the church, stewardship has come to be synonymous with fundraising and pledge campaigns. In reality, stewardship means “taking care of” or “managing.” What we are called to take care of, to manage, is the ministry and mission God has given us as a community and as individuals. That certainly encompasses more than fundraising and pledge campaigns!

Good StewardshipThe truth is that we need money to support the ministry and mission of the church, to live into the dream that God has for us, but we need even more than that. Everyone in our church community has gifts from God; our church community needs the gifts of everyone in the community. We usually talk about these gifts being time, talents, and treasure (which includes money). So, stewardship is about a lot more than money; it’s more about giving back in response to God’s giving to us to do God’s work of love in the world.

We don’t give to get something. We don’t give a certain amount and then expect God to give back like an investment banker. We don’t give out of guilt. We don’t give because we think God is going to sit on high and punish us if we don’t. We give out of gratitude. We give because God gave us life, abundant life, and God gave us love, unconditional love. There really is no way to thank God adequately for those great gifts, or the other gifts, but we can give of our gifts so that others can come to know and experience the fullness of life and love in God.

Growing in GenerosityStewardship is more than about money; and it’s more than about managing the money that the church already has. Stewardship is about learning together how to be generous like God is generous. It is about growing in the love of God and neighbor and in so doing, growing our own spirits. In this way, giving of ourselves and our gifts is about joy. It’s been said that “some money is sad money, some is happy money.” Giving to church is happy money because our ministry and mission from God is making a positive difference.

This is a continuous learning and growing process and not just once a year. To that end, it is strongly recommended that each church have a Stewardship Team to educate people about giving and how the giving of the church is changing lives all year around. However, it is true that the Pledge Campaign is a key element of a congregation learning and growing together. Following are some resources, some ideas and materials, that will help a Stewardship Team, together with the Pastor and Board, plan and implement a Pledge Campaign to help congregations experience the Joy of Generosity.
(These will have to be adapted for the context of each congregation.)

Joy of Generosity – Pledge Campaign

Components of a Pledge Campaign:

  • Board recruits, trains, and commissions Stewardship Team
  • Board sets goals for pledge campaign based on ministry objectives, not dollars
  • Stewardship Team sets the theme
  • Stewardship Team sets a timeline for implementation
  • Stewardship Teams plans and implements campaign
  • Stewardship Team communicates progress with Board, congregation, and Pastor
  • Pastor sets a culture of generosity; preaching, teaching, and celebrating generosity
  • Pastor promotes the campaign and incorporates campaign into worship

Steps of Pledge Campaign:

  1.  Stewardship Team is formed from responsible, active members who embody good stewardship and can set an example. The team needs people with different skill sets, including
    ○   a good understanding of finances,
    ○   someone with an attention to detail,
    ○   as well as someone creative.
    All team members must be spiritually mature members who can learn and teach.
  2. Stewardship Team is recognized publicly in written communications and in worship, as appropriate. The Board and Pastor show their support of the Stewardship Team.
  3. Stewardship Team meets and comes to an understanding of their purpose, their processes for proceeding, agrees on a theme, and develops a working timeline of planning and coordinating all activities and who is responsible for them. A good, well-thought out, well-executed pledge campaign will take more than two months.
  4. Stewardship Team gathers historic data of at least two years for giving and pledging patterns, as well as participation in worship and church activities, in volunteer roles, and in ways the congregation is impacting the community and the world. These patterns will help guide Team in reaching goals set by Board.
  5. Stewardship Teams seeks to discover ways the congregation is generous in sharing God’s love and build on those. Specific examples and stories will help with producing Pledge Campaign materials, so people will understand the mission and ministry they support with their gifts and how they are making a difference in the world.
  6. Stewardship Team works closely with Pastor to incorporate Pledge Campaign and the theme into a Worship Series. Be available to assist Pastor.
  7. Stewardship Team writes up a Pledge Publication, to include:
    ○   an introduction letter, with a summary of congregational generosity
    ○   list of Pledge Campaign activities – including Kickoff Party and Pledge Collection,
    ○   how to actually make a pledge,
    ○   who to contact for more information, and
    ○   a pledge form.
  8. Pledge Publication is sent out via mail and/or email about one month before Pledge Campaign Kickoff. Information and articles about the Joy of Generosity and the Pledge Campaign and are included in newsletters and announcements and hard copies of the Pledge Publication are made available.
  9. Stewardship Team plans and coordinate activities for Pledge Campaign, including:
    ○   a Pledge Campaign Kickoff Party,
    ○   scheduling any special guests, and
    ○   Pledge Collection.
  10. For Pledge Campaign Kickoff, a party immediately following worship to set the tone of joyous giving, and for Teams and Ministries to share ways for people to generously share their time and talents in support of the mission and ministry of the church is often effective. This party will take at least 3 to 4 months to plan well.
    ○   This could take the form of a Ministry Fair, with each Team or Ministry having a table or designated area to share what they do and how people can be involved.
    ○   Whatever form the Kickoff Party takes, it should include balloons and bright decorations. Food should also be a part of the Kickoff Party.
    ○   Make it festive! This is about the Joy of Generosity!
  11. On the second Sunday of the Pledge Campaign, or when appropriate, have an opportunity for organizations and agencies from the community to share how the generosity of the congregation and its ministry is making the community and the world better. Organizations will need at least 3 months to make themselves available.
    ○   This could take the form of a Poster Session and Exhibit, with organizations making materials available before and after worship about their work. They could also have the option to send someone to represent the organization and be available.
    ○   This should also include information and presentation of MCC work worldwide.
  12. The last Sunday of the Pledge Campaign is Pledge Collection Sunday. Make it easy for people to turn in pledges in confidence either before or during worship. Also, provide a way to continue to collect Pledge Cards throughout the year.
    ○   One way to ensure confidentiality is to provide envelopes.
    ○   A box could be made available for people to turn in Pledge Card ahead of time.
    ○   Or Pledge Cards could be collected either in special offering or as part of offering.
    ○   Make Pledge Cards available electronically if possible.
    ○   Emphasize that everyone had gifts that can be shared, so everyone can pledge.
    ○   Consider a ‘giveaway’ for those pledging: a pin, a bookmark, etc. It can be very simple, but is a symbol of all that’s been learned about generosity.
    ○ A special prayer of consecration should be prayed over the Pledge Cards.
  13. Ensure Pledge Cards are handled with care. Decide well ahead of time who will receive the Pledge Cards and ensure information is shared only as appropriate.
    ○   Whoever is responsible for keeping church records should receive addresses, emails, phone numbers, other contact info.
    ○   The Treasurer and/or other Board Member and/or whomever is designated to keep up with financial pledges should receive that information.
    ○   Team or Ministry Leaders should receive name and contact information for those interested in participating in their Team or Ministry.
    ■ **It is very important for these Team or Ministry Leaders to reach out as soon as possible to make contact and get people involved quickly.
  14. Pledge Campaign data –
    ○   percentage who pledged;
    ○   percentage of budget pledged;
    ○   services pledged, etc.
    should be tallied by the person responsible for doing so and shared with the Stewardship Team, the Board and the Pastor.
  15. Every person who pledged should receive a Thank You Letter within two weeks, signed by the Pastor, Board, and Stewardship Team.
  16. The Treasurer or designee should ensure that quarterly statements of giving and reminder of pledge. At least quarterly thank you letters should go out to all who give.

Some Other Considerations for Giving and Stewardship

  • Make it easy for people to give their money!
    • Setting up for credit card transactions is easier than ever with mobile credit card readers that simply attach to any smartphone. Many companies provide this service. There will be a small cost, but without it, some people may not take the opportunity to give.
    • More and more, people conduct financial transactions online. Many companies, including PayPal and EasyTithe, will provide services for allowing online payment. Again, there is usually a cost, but it will allow people to give who may not be able to be physically present at church activities.
  • Ensure transparency with how funds and resources are being used. Sharing regular, honest financial updates with the congregation will inspire confidence in giving.
  • Asking for the offering during worship should be focused on brief, positive messages of how the congregation’s generosity in ministry is making a difference in the world.
    • Here is one example.

Generosity brings Joy

Like a prayer: Suncoast MCC pastor Gina Durbin opens the doors and opens minds

Lenten Worship Resources 2016

Our theme for Lent 2016 is

Nurturing the Questions: Journey of Renewal

Flower in rocks“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

poet Rainer Maria Rilke

 

In Lent, we experience a holy season of preparation, preparing for the new life of Easter. Traditionally, this preparation has been about “giving up” something, about sacrificing pleasure. In recent years, there’s been a move to “take on” something, usually a new spiritual practice. These are indeed ways some people have found helpful in preparing for the new life of Easter.

But, what if we look at Lent as not just a season, but a journey? And not just any journey, but a journey of renewal? And, what if, on this journey of renewal, we not only ask, but encourage, love, nurture, the questions that are begging to be brought to life in us?

 

Questions such as:

How do I live into God’s mission? For me? For my community? For the world?

Does life have to seem so hard? Is it okay if that gets me down? How can I find hope?

Will we ever know why bad things happen? How can we respond faithfully when they do?

What does it mean to belong? For me? For others? For our community?

In the face of all our challenges, how can find faith to face the future in God?

Where is God? How does God move and work in the world?

Nutriendo las preguntas: Jornada de Renovación

Flower in rocks“Ten paciencia con todo lo que este sin resolver en tu corazón y trata de amar las preguntas mismas… el punto es vivir cada momento. Vive las preguntas ahora. Tal vez entonces, algún día lejano en el futuro, poco a poco, sin siquiera notarlo, vivirás tu camino en la respuesta.”

poeta Rainer Maria Rilke

 

En Cuaresma, experimentamos un tiempo santo de preparación, preparación para la vida nueva de la Pascua. Tradicionalmente, esta preparación ha sido sobre “abandonar” algo, sacrificar el placer. En los últimos años, hay surgido un movimiento por “asumir” algo, generalmente una nueva práctica espiritual. Estas son de hecho formas que algunas personas han encontrado útiles en la preparación para la vida nueva de la Pascua.
Pero, ¿qué pasa si nos fijamos en Cuaresma no solo como una temporada, sino como una jornada? ¿Y no cualquier jornada, sino un camino de renovación? Y, ¿qué pasa si, en este camino de renovación, no sólo pedimos, sino animamos, amamos, nutrimos, las preguntas que están pidiendo ser vividas en nuestras vidas?

 

Preguntas tales como:

¿Cómo vivo la misión de Dios? ¿Para mi? ¿Para mi comunidad? ¿Para el mundo?

¿La vida tiene que parecer tan difícil? ¿Está bien si me deprime? ¿Cómo puedo encontrar esperanza?

¿Sabremos algún día por qué suceden cosas malas? ¿Cómo podemos responder fielmente cuando suceden?

¿Qué significa pertenecer? ¿Para mi? ¿Para los demás? ¿Para nuestra comunidad?

Frente a todos nuestros desafíos, ¿Cómo puedo encontrar fe para afrontar el futuro en Dios?

¿Dónde está Dios? ¿De qué forma Dios se mueve y actúa en el mundo?


First Sunday in Lent  February 14, 2016

Nurturing Questions of Meaning and Purpose

Primer Domingo de Cuaresma, 14 de febrero de 2016

Nutriendo las Preguntas de Significado y Propósito

Second Sunday in Lent  February 21, 2016

Nurturing Questions of Lamentation and Doubt

Segundo Domingo de Cuaresma, 21 de Febrero de 2016

Nutriendo las Preguntas de Lamentación y Duda

Third Sunday in Lent  February 28, 2016

Nurturing Questions of Suffering and Evil

Tercer Domingo de Cuaresma 2016

Nutriendo las Preguntas: Jornada de Renovación

Fourth Sunday in Lent  March 6, 2016

Nurturing Questions of Belonging and Community

Cuarto Domingo de Cuaresma 2016 Recursos Litúrgicos

Nutriendo las preguntas: Jornada de Renovación

Fifth Sunday in Lent  March 13, 2016

Nurturing Questions of Fear and Faith

Quinto Domingo de Cuaresma 2016

Nutriendo las Preguntas: Jornada de Renovación

Palm Sunday March 20, 2016

Nurturing Questions of Where and How God Works


 

A Christmas Message from MCC’s Council of Elders

Peace dove
“Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you
news of great joy, a joy to be shared
by all people . . . .
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace
among those with whom God is pleased.”
(The angels at the birth of Christ in Luke’s Gospel.)

Dear friends,

As we write to you this Christmas Season, many are afraid and there is little peace on earth among any of God’s children.

The year we will shortly close will have seen almost 300 identifiable terrorist attacks, sometimes by individuals and sometimes by organized groups; sometimes by suicide bombers as young as 10 years old.

Unless you become like a little child
you cannot enter the reign of heaven,
Jesus will tell his followers.

What makes a parent sacrifice a child to such violence? Perhaps a better question is, what makes parents and children alike lose all hope for the future?

Whether we are talking about organized militant groups or young people searching for something to believe in and a cause to identify with, now more than ever, as believers, we need to hold firm to the foundation of our faith — the Prince of Peace who believed that renouncing the ways of violence could and would save the world, and that living a life of selfless service would do all our hearts good.

God is always with us always working for good, for healing, for peace on earth and goodwill among all and a justice that comes only when we are able to value all life equally. Now is the time to stand with the God of justice and peace.

In MCC, we know the fear, the pain, and the destruction that comes to lives told and shown that there is no place, no future for them. And we also know the healing and the hope rejecting those false premises and embracing the truth of God’s universal love brings. Our open tables have crossed many borders and left many others behind. Being radically inclusive has taught us how to celebrate the diversity of God’s creation and how to let go of fear. Maybe we are and can be the hope the world is looking for.

From Paris to Peshawar, New York to Maiduguri, Nigeria; what our world needs now is people who do not waiver in praying for peace, and who are willing to faithfully search for and engage the prophetic spirit of God — a spirit that led Joseph to let go of all he’d ever known for the sake of protecting God’s dream of peace and goodwill, and Magi to offer every good gift they could come up with to keep that dream alive; a spirit that led shepherds to follow a night-time vision in the hope of discovering the dawn of a new day; a spirit that led Jesus to wrestle with every temptation we have as human beings to engage the ways of domination and violence, but in the end choose to lay down his life so that we might take ours up.

This season of light and hope, join us in preaching peace and doing your best to live lives that model that of the Christ whose birth we will celebrate. Join us in doing your best to bring some healing and hope to the world. Talk to your neighbors of differing faith traditions, work together on projects that support the resettlement of refugees, offer safe space to the heavy laden, feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned; let the Prince of Peace be born in you.

We have no easy answers for what is happening in places like Syria, Palestine, North Africa, and the United States, to name a few. As followers of Jesus, however, we can hold to the hope that praying for peace to prevail and acting with generosity, compassion, non-violence, and integrity will bring greater goodwill.

May God bless us all,

Metropolitan Community Churches Council of Elders

Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, Convener; Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann,
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Elder Tony Freeman, Rev. Elder Darlene Garner,
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez, Elder Professor Nancy G. Maxwell,
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León, Rev. Elder Dr. Candace Shultis,
Rev. Elder Mona West, PhD

Advent Candles

Mensaje Navideño del Consejo de Obispos y Obispas de ICM

Peace dove

Não tenham medo. Estou lhes trazendo boas novas de grande alegria, que são para todo o povo…
– Glória a Deus nas maiores alturas do céu!
E paz na terra para as pessoas a quem ele quer bem!
(Os anjos no nascimento de Cristo no Evangelho de Lucas.)

Irmãs, irmãos,

Neste estacão de Natal quando lhes escrevemos, muitas pessoas têm medo e há pouca paz na terra entre os filhos e filhas de Deus.

O ano que estamos a concluir perto, terá visto quase 300 ataques terroristas identificáveis, às vezes pelos indivíduos e às vezes por grupos organizados; às vezes por bombistas suicidas tao os jovens como 10 anos de idade.

se vocês não mudarem de vida e não ficarem iguais às crianças,
nunca entrarão no Reino do Céu.

O que faz a um pai, a uma mãe, sacrificar uma criança a este tipo
de violência? Talvez a melhor pergunta é, o que faz com que pais e crianças perdem toda a esperança para o futuro?

Seja estamos a falar de grupos militantes organizados ou jovens à procura
de algo em que acreditar ou uma causa para identificar com; agora mais do que nunca, como crentes, devemos permanecer firmes sobre o fundamento da nossa fé – o príncipe de Paz, que acreditava que a renunciar a todas
as formas de violência poderia salvar o mundo e que vivendo uma vida
de serviço abnegado gera corações bondosos.

Deus está sempre com o seu povo, trabalhando sempre para o bem,
para a cura, para a paz na Terra ea boa vontade entre todos os povos; emerge em uma justiça que vem somente quando somos capazes
de valorizar toda a vida igualmente. Agora é o tempo para estar
com o Deus da justiça e da paz.

Na ICM, sabemos que o medo, a dor ea destruição que vem à vida
conta e mostra de que não há lugar, não há futuro para eles. E também conhecemos que a cura ea esperança vem rejeitando essas falsas premissas e abraçando a verdade do amor universal de Deus traz. Nossas mesas abertas cruzaram muitas fronteiras e deixando muitas coisas para trás.
Ser radicalmente inclusivo nos ensinou como celebrar a diversidade
da criação de Deus e como deixar ir o medo. Talvez nós somos
e pudermos ser, a esperança que o mundo está procurando.

De Paris para Peshawar, de Nova Iorque para Maiduguri, na Nigéria;
o que nosso mundo precisa agora é de pessoas que não deixam de orar
pela paz, e que estão dispostas a procurar por envolver o espírito profético de Deus – um Espírito que levou Joseph a deixar ir de tudo que ele já tinha conhecido pela questão de proteger o sonho de paz e boa vontade de Deus; que levo a os Magos para oferecer todo dom bom eles poderiam
dar para manter esse sonho vivo; um Espírito que levou os pastores
a seguir uma visão da noite na esperança de descobrir o amanhecer
de um novo dia; um Espírito que levou Jesus a lutar com todas as tentações que nós temos como seres humanos para envolvernos com as formas
de dominação e violência, mas no final ele opta por fixar a sua vida
para que nós pudéssemos levar a nossa vida em nas alturas.

Nesta época de luz e esperança, se juntar a nós em pregar a paz
e fazer o seu melhor esforço para viver a vida que o Cristo, cujo nascimento vamos comemorar, modelou. Junte-se a nós em fazer o seu melhor esforço para trazer um pouco de cura e esperança para o mundo. Converse com
seus vizinhos de diferentes tradições de fé, trabalhem juntos em projetos
que suportam a reinstalação de refugiados, oferecem espaço seguro
para os oprimidos, alimentem os famintos, visitem os doentes e presos; deixem que o Príncipe da Paz nasça em você.

Nós não temos respostas fáceis para o que está acontecendo em lugares como a Síria, Palestina, África do Norte e os Estados Unidos, para citar alguns. Como seguidores de Jesus, no entanto, podemos manter a esperança que a oração pela paz vai prevalecer e que agir com generosidade, compaixão, não-violência e integridade trará maior boa vontade.

Que Deus abençoe a todas as pessoas,

Conselhos de Bispos/Bispas das Igrejas da Comunidade Metropolitana

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderadora
Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Convocante; Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann,
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Tony Freeman, Rev. Darlene Garner,
Rev. Héctor Gutiérrez, Profesora Nancy G. Maxwell,
Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León, Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis,
Rev. Mona West, PhD

Advent Candles

Mensaje Navideño del Consejo de Obispos y Obispas de ICM

Peace dove
No tengan miedo, porque les traigo una buena noticia, que será motivo de gran alegría para todos…
¡Alaben a Dios en los cielos!
¡Que haya paz en la tierra para la gente que agrada a Dios!»
(Los ángeles en el nacimiento de Cristo en el Evangelio de Lucas.)

Hermanas, hermanos,

En esta temporada Navideña en que les escribimos, muchas personas tienen miedo y es poca la paz en la tierra entre los hijos e hijas Dios.

Durante este año que pronto concluiremos, hemos sido testigos de casi trescientos ataques terroristas identificables, a veces cometidos por personas individuales, otras por parte de grupos organizados; y otras por suicidas tan jóvenes como diez años de edad.

-Les aseguro que si ustedes no cambian y se vuelven como niños,
no entrarán en el reino de los cielos.

¿Qué hace que un padre/ una madre sacrifique a un niño en este tipo de violencia? Tal vez una mejor pregunta es, ¿por qué padres/madres
y niños/niñas por igual pierdan toda esperanza en el futuro?

Ya sea que estamos hablando de grupos militantes organizados o de jóvenes en busca de algo en que creer o una causa con la que identificarse, ahora más que nunca, como creyentes, tenemos que mantenernos firmes
en los fundamentos de nuestra fe – el Príncipe de la Paz, que creyó que renunciar a toda forma de violencia podría salvar al mundo, y que vivir
una vida de servicio desinteresado genera corazones bondadosos.

Dios siempre está con su pueblo, siempre trabaja para el bien,
para la curación, la paz en la tierra y por la buena voluntad entre todas
las personas; emerge en una justicia que viene solo cuando
somos capaces de valorar toda la vida por igual.
Ahora es el tiempo para estar con el Dios de la justicia y la paz.

En ICM, sabemos que el miedo, el dolor y la destrucción que viene a las vidas cuenta y muestra que no hay lugar, no hay futuro para ellos. Y también conocemos la sanación y la esperanza que emerge al rechazar esas falsas premisas y al abrazar la verdad del amor universal que Dios trae.
Nuestras mesas abiertas han cruzado muchas fronteras y han dejado
muchas cosas detrás. Ser una comunidad radicalmente inclusiva nos ha enseñado a celebrar la diversidad de la creación de Dios y a dejar ir el miedo. Tal vez somos y podemos ser la esperanza que el mundo está buscando.

De París a Peshawar, Nueva York a Maiduguri, Nigeria; lo que necesita nuestro mundo actual es gente que no renuncia a la oración por la paz,
y que están dispuestas a buscar e involucrar fielmente al Espíritu profético
de Dios – un Espíritu que llevó a José a dejar de lado todo lo que alguna
vez había conocido por proteger el sueño de paz y buena voluntad de Dios,
y que llevó a los Sabios a ofrecer toda buena dádiva que estaba a su alcance para mantener vivo ese sueño; un Espíritu que llevó a los pastores a seguir una visión nocturna con la esperanza de descubrir el amanecer de un nuevo día; un Espíritu que llevó a Jesús a luchar con todas las tentaciones
que tenemos como seres humanos para involucrarnos con las formas
de dominación y violencia, pero al final optó por dar su vida
para que nosotros y nosotras pudiéramos tener nuestra vida en lo alto.

Esta temporada de luz y esperanza, se une a nosotros y nosotras en la predicación de la paz y de hacer todo lo posible para vivir una vida que siga el modelo de la de Cristo, cuyo nacimiento celebraremos. Únase a nosotros y nosotras en hacer su mejor esfuerzo para traer un poco de sanación y esperanza al mundo. Hable con sus vecinos de diferentes tradiciones de fe, trabajen juntos en proyectos que apoyen el cobijo de los refugiados, ofrezcan un espacio seguro para aquellas personas agobiadas, alimenten al hambriento, visiten a los enfermos y encarcelados; permitan que el Príncipe de la Paz nazca en ustedes.

No tenemos respuestas fáciles para lo que está ocurriendo en lugares
como Siria, Palestina, África del Norte, y los Estados Unidos, por nombrar algunos. Sin embargo, como seguidores de Jesús, podemos mantener
la esperanza de que la oración por la paz prevalezca; actuando con generosidad, compasión, no violencia, y con integridad traeremos
una mayor buena voluntad.

Que Dios nos bendiga a todos y a todas,

Consejos de Obispos y Obispas de las Iglesias de la Comunidad Metropolitana

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderadora
Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Convocante; Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann,
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Tony Freeman, Rev. Darlene Garner,
Rev. Héctor Gutiérrez, Profesora Nancy G. Maxwell,
Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León, Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis,
Rev. Mona West, PhD

Advent Candles

Lambda Legal Legal Assistant

Midwest Regional Office, Chicago

Midwest Regional Office

Lambda Legal seeks a Legal Assistant for its Legal Department, in the Midwestern Regional Office in Chicago. The Legal Assistant will assist attorneys with legal research and drafting, preparation and filing of documents in state and federal court and administrative agencies, and working with clients to advance Lambda Legal’s cutting-edge impact litigation and advocacy. The Legal Assistant also will spend some time each month staffing the Legal Help Desk to respond to the public’s requests for help and/or information.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.  Founded in 1973 and headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Lambda Legal’s law reform, policy, and educational work encompasses a wide range of areas critically important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) people and those living with HIV, including federal and state constitutional law issues; fighting discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing based on gender identity, sexual orientation and HIV; advocacy on behalf of youth in schools or in foster care or juvenile justice systems; ensuring access to health care; challenging bias in the criminal justice system; obtaining legal respect for same-sex couples’ relationships; securing parent-child relationships; advocacy on behalf of LGBT immigrants and those with HIV; working to end LGBT harassment and violence, and related public policy advocacy. Lambda Legal has been involved in numerous landmark United States and state Supreme Court cases, includingObergefell v. Hodges, Lawrence v. Texas, Romer v. Evans, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, Bragdon v. Abbott, Glenn v. Brumby, In re Marriage Cases, Varnum v. Brien, Benitez v.  North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group, Fields v. Smith and Brandon v. County of Richardson. For more information about Lambda Legal, visit www.lambdalegal.org

Responsibilities: The Legal Assistant will be responsible for providing legal and administrative support to attorneys who work on an array of priorities within Lambda Legal’s mission. In addition to the production of legal briefs and cite-checking, the Legal Assistant will prepare other legal filings; perform legal and non-legal research; help ensure compliance with all applicable court rules, maintain case files and other organizational systems; draft correspondence; contact court personnel and other attorneys and advocates as necessary; assist in maintaining client relationships, and provide general administrative support to attorneys in the Legal Department. Finally, the Legal Assistant will also help staff the Legal Help Desk intake line, which involves initial pre-screening and information-gathering to identify potential clients, as well as helping callers locate resources.

Qualifications: Excellent oral and written communication skills. Motivated, detail-oriented, well-organized, self-starting, dependable, able to work well under pressure, a team player, computer-literate. Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, and internet research skills required. Prior legal secretarial or support work is highly desired, and a willingness to develop the specialized knowledge about the legal system and legal documents necessary to perform duties in a law office setting is essential. Familiarity with LexisNexis or Westlaw electronic court filing systems (including the federal judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system), Excel, Worksite and PowerPoint is helpful. Because of the focused and challenging nature of the work Lambda Legal does, a background in or familiarity with issues, legal or otherwise, important to the LGBT community and/or people with HIV will greatly strengthen an application. Ability to handle intake calls, often from people facing crises or significant problems, is critical; thus any experience with hotlines is helpful. Working at Lambda Legal requires a demonstrated awareness of and commitment to the concerns of the communities Lambda Legal represents. Fluency in Spanish is a must. A minimum two-year commitment is required.

Salary: Mid-30’s, DOE. Excellent employer-paid benefits package including medical, dental, life and long-term disability insurance, and generous employer contribution to retirement account. Generous vacation.

Application: The target start date for the position is January 4, 2016, though there is some flexibility, and the position is open until filled. Send resume, brief writing sample (five pages or less), and a letter or email explaining your interest in the position and how you learned of the job opening to:

Amy Shapiro, Legal Administrative Manager
Lambda Legal, Headquarters

120 Wall Street, 19th Fl.

New York, NY 10005
ashapiro@lambdalegal.org

Please include the words “Legal Assistant – MRO” on the subject line of the email or first line of the address of the envelope transmitting your application materials.

No calls please. Due to the high volume of applications, Lambda Legal will not accept phone calls about the position and does not notify applicants of status except when an interview is granted.

Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBT, HIV and allied communities, and is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, transgender and gender-nonconforming people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, and people living with disabilities, including HIV, are encouraged to apply.

World AIDS Day 2015

WAD2015

World AIDS Day Resources can be freely used by any MCC church or group

World AIDS Day, Tuesday 1 December 2015

Getting to Zero: The Time to Act is Now

World AIDS Day on 1 December brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.

Between 2011 – 2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths”. The World AIDS Campaign focus on “Zero AIDS related deaths” signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. It is a call to honor promises like the Abuja declaration and for African governments to at least hit targets for domestic spending on health and HIV.

 

Communal Prayer

One:           Listen, learn and live! Keep open to life’s changes. Be ready to be transformed by the power of love.

Many:         We are open to life’s changes. We are ready to be transformed by the power of love.

One:           Listen, learn and live! Take strength from each other, so that you may always be hopeful and have comfort, even in great loss.

Many:        We take strength from each other, so that we may always be hopeful and have comfort, even in great loss.

One:           Listen, learn and live! May the One who creates and sustains you be with you and bless you this day, and always, whoever you are and wherever you go.

Many:        The One who creates and sustains us is with us and blesses us this day, and always, whoever we are and wherever we go.

All:            Listen, learn and live! Amen!

 

Our Prayers

One: O God, we come before you this day with longing, with hungering, with tremendous need of your healing presence. We pray on behalf of ourselves, our loved ones, our community, and our world on this World AIDS Day and commit to “Getting to Zero” together.

Many:  Loving God, we receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:  For people who have tested HIV positive and endure tension-filled waiting; sometimes hopeful and optimistic, sometimes frozen with fear and despair …(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:  We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:   For groups of people who are viciously scapegoated as the cause of the spread of AIDS, and too often pronounced “non-innocent” sufferers of AIDS diseases because they are poor, or black, or Puerto Rican, or gay, or African, or a prostitute… (silent prayer); loving God,

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:     For the families of someone dying of AIDS that are torn apart and divided because of ignorance and prejudice, or that are rendered entirely invisible, not recognized as a “real family”… (silent prayer); loving God

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:     For people stricken by grief at the death of a loved one from AIDS…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:   For the sickness and indifference that infuses the fabric of our wealthy nation, tolerating policies that would cut funding or which supports price gauging of the necessary elixirs of health…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:    We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:     For the nations that are being decimated by the disease of AIDS and apathy…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:   For the people who continue to yell, “Enough,” give us strength for the struggle, and bring your justice now…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:    We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.


 

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding. Click here to find out the facts.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.

 

International Organizations working towards Getting To Zero.

The global theme for World AIDS Day from 2011-2015, as selected by the World AIDS Campaign, is “Getting to Zero.” Backed by the United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign focuses on the goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.

How exactly is the world affected by AIDS?

Here are some of the devastating effects of this disease.

Hispanicsandaids2009

Households

The most affected families are often those that do not have a lot of options for their means of living. With the death of males in the family due to AIDS, women and children are forced to provide their households the basic needs. This is a problem in countries that have many male-dominated industries – when the heads of the families get sick, women are forced to leave homes and work in industries such as carpentry or farming. In a lot of countries affected by AIDS, women are still viewed to be in charge of housework. Read more.

Act AWARE

Act Aware by supporting our campaigns!

 

NATNAT (National AIDS Trust)(UK) doesn’t just campaign on World AIDS Day – throughout the year we work on a range of issues affecting people living with HIV, including benefits, employment and human rights. We are committed to ensuring that the laws and policies affecting people living with HIV are fair, and we work to raise awareness of HIV and the importance of HIV education in the UK today.

To get involved in our campaigning, find out more here.

 Fact Sheets

World AIDS Day resources through the Global Ministries of the UCC and the DOC. http://www.globalministries.org/resources/special-days/aids-day/Daily Devotional for World AIDS Day throughout the season of Advent, available in English, Spanish and French http://advent.ecumenicaladvocacy.org/

Resources from MCC

by MCC HIV/AIDS Advisory Council

MCC World AIDS Day 2015 Resources
MCC World AIDS Day 2015 Resources
MCC-World-AIDS-Day-2015-Resources.pptx
Date Updated: 23 November 2015

PowerPoint Contents:W

Covenant Page 3
Praise the Source of Faith and Learning by Professor Thomas H. Troeger Pages 4-11
Statistical Data

  • The Numbers of People Living with HIV/AIDS
  • The Top Ten Countries with HIV
Pages 12-13
Recent Medical Developments Pages 14-18
HIV and Faith

  • HIV and Human Rights
  • HIV+ Faith Response
Pages 19-21
Case Study Pages 22-30
Stigma Pages 31-33
Pages What Would Jesus Do Pages 34-35
Good News Pages 36-39
Works Cited Page 40

 


International Worship Resources

The Maryknoll AIDS Task Force Prayer

handsclaspedGod of all compassion, comfort people who live with HIV. Spread over us all your quilt of mercy, love and peace.

Open our eyes to your presence reflected in their faces. Open our ears to your truth echoing in their hearts.

Give us the strength to weep with the grieving, to journey with the lonely, to be with the depressed.

May our love mirror your love for those who live in fear, who live under stress and who suffer rejection.

Loving God grant rest to those who have died and hope to all who live with HIV.

God of life, help us to find the cure now and help us to build a world in which no one dies alone and where everyone lives accepted, wanted, and loved.

Adapted from the Maryknoll sisters of the San Salvador Diocesan HIV/AIDS program and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

Prayer of Hope

(for use on World AIDS Day)

God of Hope
All of us are affected by HIV/AIDS.
At this time of Advent Hope,
As we prepare for the coming of your son into this world
We give thanks for signs of hope.
For growing understanding
For medical advances
For changing attitudes and behavior
For greater awareness and concern in your church.
God of Unity
Bind us together with strong ties of love
That this church community may be a place where
All can find acceptance,
May it be a place of welcome for all affected by HIV/AIDS.
May it be a place where care is given and received, especially
for affected children and youth,
Where stories are told and heard,
Where fear is overcome by love,
Where you are to be found. Amen.

Adapted from The Diakonia Council of Churches in South Africa

Prayers of Intercession: Halting the Spread of HIV/AIDS

Heavenly Creator, we give you thanks for those national leaders and governments who have given publicity to the crisis of HIV/AIDS and who are committed to halting its spread. Give your wisdom to all who are in positions of leadership that they may work effectively for the well-being of the people they serve. We ask this for the sake of him who came to bring good news to the poor, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Open our heart to all that brings sickness and pain to our siblings around the world. Give us the will to protest against inequalities that make all vulnerable to infection; to oppose violence and war that put lives at risk; and to combat ignorance and poverty which lead to the spread of disease. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you showed on earth your love for children. Guide by your Spirit all those who are entrusted with teaching children and young people about the spread of HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. Help teachers and health workers to present the facts clearly and lovingly, and to enable children to pass on that message to others. Amen.Prayer and Reflection to Support People Caring for Those With and Affected by HIV/AIDS

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest. Luke 10:2

Loving and caring God, thank you, for You call us to love and serve Your people. You call those who care for all affected and effected by HIV/AIDS to be healing balm in Your hurting world. You send us as compassion, to suffer with those who suffer. Day and night we labor to comfort Your people.

Yet, many times the comforters are depressed by the amount of suffering seen. And many times they are totally exhausted by the amount of work that must be done. They often neglect their own health and families in the HIV/AIDS struggle. O Lord, renew their strength. Amen.

From the Church World Service website, www.churchworldservice.org, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

A Prayer for Holistic Healing

Heal us from the bodily pains of HIV/AIDS that depletes our immunity, and leaves us open to opportunistic infections.All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from our broken hearts and grief that continues to pain our spirits and minds and leave us empty about the meaning of life.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from the psychological pains of HIV/AIDS that engulf us in fear and hopelessness and leads us to die before the virus kills.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from HIV/AIDS social stigma and discrimination that leads us to uncompassionate acts of isolation, and failure to provide quality care and prevention.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from unhealthy sexual relations that expose partners and spouses to HIV/AIDS infection and leaves them powerless to protect themselves.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from poverty that exposes millions to HIV/AIDS. Heal us from exploitative social structures that condemn many to poverty and expose them to infection.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from violence that spreads HIV/AIDS. Heal us from ethnic and civil wars. Heal us from domestic violence and the rape of children.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us, Amen.

From the Church World Service web site, www.churchworldservice.org, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

Prayer of Hope for Children

I pray of a world where the youth are free,
Free to play with each other without fear,
Free to touch, tickle and to embrace,
Free to be themselves and respected for that.

I pray for a world where the young blossom,
Where potential is harnessed and realized,
Where people’s efforts are rewarded,
And where one can fly to reach the sky.

I pray for a world without HIV/AIDS,
I dream of a kaleidoscope of youth,
Who sing a song of praise and not shed tears,
I dream of the fullness of life and no more death. Amen.

From the Church World Service web site, www.churchworldservice.org, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

Prayer for protection of girls

We are gathered together to affirm the humanity of the girl child. We celebrate the fact that the girl child was created in the image of God and is loved by God. We claim responsibility to protect the girl child and give her the opportunity to grow without fear of being abused by anyone. We pray for a safe environment that is created by all for the safety of the girl child. Amen.

From the Church World Service web site, www.churchworldservice.org, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

Prayers for Healing

(can be used on St. Luke’s Day, a day of healing, on October 18)

Let us pray for the needs of all those living with HIV/AIDS (especially ____________), that God’s never-failing love may enfold them; that all who care for them may be strengthened in that ministry; and that the church may be to them a place of refuge where Christ is made known.

Let us pray for recovery from sickness, that God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of the suffering, may mercifully hear our prayers and grant to ______________ healing power, that in Christ their sickness may be turned to health and our sorrow to joy.

Let us pray for those who serve in the professions of healing, that God may guide physicians and nurses and all those called to practice the arts of healing. Strengthen them by your spirit so that the health of all people may be promoted and Christ glorified.

Let us pray for the ministry of family and friends. Give strength and gentleness, patience and faithfulness to family members and friends. Let their love be in you, and by their ministry of love let your love be made known.

Let us pray for all those who depend upon our prayers. Blessed Lord, we ask your loving care and protection for those who are sick in body, mind, or spirit and who desire our prayers. Take from them all fears and help them put their trust in you, that they may feel your strong arms around them. Amen.

Themes of Advent and HIV / AIDS

The traditional themes of the Sundays of Advent are hope, peace, joy and love. Many congregations light a candle each week and focus part of the liturgy on the concept for that week. Each of these words has unique meaning in a world where an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV or AIDS and an estimated 2.7 million more people are being infected with HIV annually.

Since World AIDS Day usually falls between the first and second Sundays in Advent, we will focus on the themes of hope and peace. If you are incorporating these themes into your preaching and/or your liturgy, consider asking yourself, at least on a Sunday close to December 1, how that theme relates to HIV and AIDS. Below are some reflections to get you started.

Hope

What does hope look like in an HIV+ world? What does hope look like for those in your community most affected by HIV and AIDS? For your outreach partners? For those in your own congregation who have been affected but have never been asked to share their stories or who are at risk for infection and don’t know it? Maybe it looks like:

Educating and Increasing Awareness

Educate all people, regardless of gender, age, race, or nationality on the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of HIV, as well as educating them about the hope after diagnosis, and the hope that undergirds preventative measures

Ask questions about HIV and AIDS in the places where your congregation already does outreach work, locally and globally.

Observe World AIDS Day with other people of faith in your community.

Commemorate World AIDS Day at your Sunday morning service of worship.

Advocating

Advocate for increased access to life-saving antiretroviral drugs.

Support targeted prevention efforts leading to changes in sexual behavior and a drop in new HIV infections.

Nurturing Acceptance

Create a “safe place” for persons who are HIV+ by asking your own congregation to share their stories about how HIV and AIDS have touched their lives.

Invite someone who is HIV+ to share their story with you and your congregation.

Taking Action

Pray for all those affected and effected by HIV and AIDS.

Honor a community organization who is working for the eradication of HIV/AIDS.


Resources from the United Methodist Church

Bible Study: Chicken & Biscuits and More: AIDS Ministry and Christian Hospitality

Christian hospitality is a key aspect of congregational ministry with people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones.

Sermon: “Where Is the Promise?” (Advent)

Christmases weren’t always this hard. There were so many things that John Matthew didn’t want to be reminded of. There was the fact that he never seemed to have enough money to be able to get the presents he wanted to give his friends…

Worship Resources: Be a Force for Change

Come, Holy Spirit, empower us today– convert us, move us, strengthen us to be a force for change from now on.

Worship Resources: God Cares About AIDS

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples about how God cares for all of creation, even small creatures like birds, and that God cares for humankind even more.

Worship Resources: Jesus, A Man Who Made a Difference

Jesus was a man who changed the world forever. He actively sought to bring healing to individuals and society. He stood with the crowd on a “level place”: he treated them as equals.

Poem: ‘Tis a Fearful Thing

Anonymous

Prayer: I Care About AIDS (An Affirmation)

Kathleen Wilder

Reflection: “This Is the Day” (AIDS Caregiving Journal)

Peter Braswell

Scripture Selections

Spiritual comfort in times of trial.

 

First MCC of Kansas in Wichita tired of vandalism, threats to staff [video]

We make baptism available to all…every child is a child of God

Global Moderator of MCC speaks out as Mormon leaders divide families
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, 
which has ministries around the world. Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation 
to meet with a sitting president in 1979. She was a member 
of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
 
 

“When Mormon officials announced that baptism would be withheld from children until they turned 18, when they would be required to reject their same-gender parents, I was shocked,” said Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. “Only days ago, a Mormon official stated that public officials would have to follow the law of the land which is marriage for all loving couples. I thought they were making progress.”

baptism

“Today, I want to invite all Mormons to Metropolitan Community Churches. We will baptize your children regardless of the gender of your spouse.  We will not ask your children to turn on you when they are 18 and to live with that dread all of their childhood years.

“Mormon LGBTQ people, their friends and families have heard the message loudly and clearly.  Over 1,000 Mormons have pledged to show up as many turn in their membership and officially resign from the Latter Day Saints.  They were told they must choose. They chose to turn away from their abusive mother, the church, and embrace their true families of love. It is the right choice, but heartbreaking, nonetheless.  An abusive parent also has a choice-get help!”

“MCC is ready to help!  On Saturday, November 14, we will stand with the Mormons who are resigning their membership in the LDS Church,” said Salt Lake MCC pastor, Rev. Cindy Solomon-Klebba. “Join us at 12:45 p.m. MST at the plaza in front of Farr’s Ice Cream at 50 East South Temple. The event begins at 1:00 p.m. MST at Temple Square. f you cannot attend, send a letter: http://www.mormonresignation.com/.

To worship at Metropolitan Community Church in Salt Lake City, write to Rev. Cindy Solomon-Klebba.”

Below is MCC’s current statement on our practice of Baptism:

Metropolitan Community Churches includes baptism as one of our sacraments. We make baptism available to all, members and non-members, in the same way we offer an open communion, because of our high value on radical welcome and inclusivity.

MCC has always baptized infants, in the way that most Christian churches do, and, for those parents who are from backgrounds that do not practice infant baptism, we provide a rite of blessing, or dedication, of infants.   Our eclectic ecclesiology and the ecumenical nature of our denomination encourage us to be bold in our welcome and flexible in our practice.

Our belief is that every person is a child of God. Among the many meanings of baptism in the Christian faith, one of the meanings is “welcome to the family,” the human family, the family of faith.  We are grateful for the gift of children, the blessing they are to our families and churches, and we acknowledge our sacred responsibility to them through baptism.

For decades, MCC churches, pastors and leaders have provided weddings, baptisms, funerals and memorials for people who were rejected by their own churches, or who had no church home in which to celebrate life passages. During the worst years of AIDS, we never asked, “What church do you belong to?”  We responded with love, acceptance, and an open heart and community, a reflection of our understanding of the nature and heart of God.

Over the decades, MCC churches have welcomed those from a Mormon background, including some of our earliest leaders.  Every Metropolitan Community Churches stands ready to baptize and bless the children of Mormon couples, and those from other denominations who do not accept same-sex couples and their families, such as Roman Catholics and those from conservative Christian denominations.