This award is named after Rev. Elder John H. Hose, one of the very first MCC clergy, serving at MCC Los Angeles, California, who became part of the very first Board of Elders, who was Treasurer of MCC and Vice-Moderator of MCC, and who contributed a great deal to MCC’s first Statement of Faith.
REVEREND JOHN FOWLER has given decades of faithful, consistent, dedicated ministry to MCC as a pastor and a denominational leader. His partnership with the Office of Emerging Ministries and the Office of Formation and Leadership Development has moved MCC to a new level of excellence and effectiveness. Rev. Fowler embodies caring and consistent leadership in Australia and New Zealand, sometimes in an upfront role and sometimes behind the scenes, yet always in a way that inspires.
This award is named after a pioneering lay leader, who, among many roles and offices she held, was a founder and mover of the pension plan for clergy in the US.
PJ DWYER is being honored for commitment to the LEAD program in Australia. Pj has been a model for lay leadership in MCC through the completion of the LEAD program and continued promotion of the program as the LEAD Coordinator for the Australasia Network.
Upon retiring from a three-year term on the Governing Board as Treasurer, LIZ BISORDI got to work immediately serving MCC Networks as a Network Facilitator and supporting and training Network Team Leaders. Liz also volunteers for the Office of Church Life and Health, consults with MCC churches, and gives generously of her time and resources to our denomination.
Nominees are selected by the Council of Elders in honor of outstanding contributions to the work embodying the MCC value of being and doing justice globally and locally from the perspective of faith.
ANN CRAIG is nominated for dedicated and passionate intersectional work for justice on behalf of MCC and beyond. Ann’s was founder of DignityUSA, Integrity, and Affirmation (UMC) chapters in the 1970’s in Richmond, VA. She co-founded the Gay-Straight Coalition at Yale Divinity School in the 1980’s and was national co-convenor of Affirmation in the 1990’s. She is the current co-spokesperson of Affirmation and was the first director of religion at GLAAD where she worked hard to bring MCC into the limelight of the LGBT faith movement. Her willingness to work in coalition with many diverse groups, and unstinting generosity of time and expertise, is inspiring.
LATISHIA JAMES represented MCC at the 2014 U.S. White House Policy Briefing for Emerging Young Leaders. MCC celebrates Latishia’s dedicated work as a reproductive/sexual justice and faith organizer, and the broad impact Latishia presents as a Mary Jane Patterson fellow at the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
This award is named for Bob Crocker who pioneered excellence in music ministry at MCC San Francisco and at MCC General Conference for many years.
JEREMIAH CUMMINGS has demonstrated excellence in music ministry in his local church and through his support of Leadership Mentoring Retreats and denominational events. Jeremiah is a model of healthy, open-hearted leadership in worship and ministry.
This award is named for a sermon still preached by Rev. Elder Freda Smith, an MCC pioneer and evangelist, the first woman ordained in MCC and elected an Elder. It is given to persons who have a passion for Evangelism and for sharing the vision and message of MCC in creative and innovative ways.
ANGEL COLLIE has authentically served and represented the denomination in so many ways – especially as a highly relational, inspirational, and unofficial ambassador for MCC around the globe. MCC celebrates Angel’s accomplishments, the new assignment at a prestigious university, and the continued intersectional work with TransFaith, Creating Change, and other many international justice organizations. In all things, Angel presents a refreshing embodiment of the gospel of Jesus, in the spirit of Purple Grass.
This award is named for Carlos Chavez and Jennifer Justice, whose commitment to Young Adult leadership and inclusion in MCC has changed the denomination forever. The awards are given each year to young adults who demonstrate MCC’s values, and who show promise of future leadership in MCC.
Rev. Caedmon Grace
REVEREND CAEDMON GRACE has demonstrated faithful service as a leader of the Creative Worship Service at Founders MCC and has been a bold representative of MCC at the 2015 Gay Christian Network Conference, consistently reaching out to encourage other young adults to become spiritual activists with MCC. MCC celebrates your ministry at Founders MCC and your commitment to the denomination.
KAREN HETTEL founded and chairs the “UPSTARTS” group of young adults at Open Circle MCC in The Villages, Florida, USA. She spearheaded the work to combine it with the Men’s Group in order to be more effective and include more members. The congregation recently elected her to the Board of Directors, and she serves as the Vice Moderator. Karen is excited about helping lead the church through this season of enormous change.
The Phoenix Awards is for those who have revived a church or ministry.
Betel ICM/MCC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, DC Marcos Luiz Oliveira da Costa, Pastoral Leader
For the leadership of your pastor, Board of Directors, and congregation in revitalizing one of MCC’s founding churches in Brazil after a time of change and uncertainty. Betel ICM/MCC’s faithfulness and growth in numbers and ministry is impressive.
Joy MCC, Orlando, Florida, USA; REVEREND Terri Steed Pierce
For the leadership of your pastor, Rev. Terri Steed Pierce, Board of Directors, and congregation in a commitment to rebuild and grow again! We are proud of your efforts and your success in re-framing the vision and mission of your church, and for a new day. Your leadership in the wider community and your commitment to excellence in ministry is inspiring.
The Distinguished Service Award is given for exemplary efforts that have positively impacted local churches and the MCC movement worldwide.
Rev. Steph Maxson
REVEREND STEPH MAXSON is being honored for faithful service as a pastor to Reconciliation MCC of Grand Rapids, her assistance to the Office of Church Life and Health, and in reaching out to Redeemer MCC in Flint, Michigan, USA, in their time of need and transition. MCC celebrates your years of dedicated service to the denomination.
Myke Abaya Sotero
MCC is grateful for MYKE ABAYA SOTERO’s faithful, excellent service to churches in the Philippines, especially MCC Baguio. Myke’s tireless example and commitment to justice, as a person of faith, serves as a model to emulate.
Rev. Rich Hendricks
REVEREND RICH HENDRICKS has demonstrated faithful pastoral leadership. Rev. Hendricks models what it is to take justice to heart through endless work for marriage equality and immigration reform.
Rev. Hendricks is inspiring as shown in the efforts to reach out to youth and encourage diversity and inclusion in MCC of the Quad Cities.
MCC celebrates SHERRILL PARMLEY for faithful, dedicated service to MCC, especially to the Elders, Senior Leadership Team, and Governing Board in providing extraordinary hospitality, delivered humbly and with joy. Sherrill has made a difference in the denomination.
Nominees are chosen by Rev. Elder Troy Perry, Founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, who selects an individual or group that has shown leadership in founding an MCC Church or Organization in a new country or region, or in the creation of a new ministry that impacts MCC’s future.
ANTONIO NEVAREZ has demonstrated vision and courage in founding COMAC in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, a social service organization that has been recognized by the Mexican government and provides HIV/AIDS prevention and referral services, support for queer youth, and seeks to meet the needs of a diverse community with excellence, love and justice. Additionally, COMAC now partners with MCC’s Global Justice Institute. Antonio is a lay leader and student in care.
Rev. David Zier and Rev. Margaret Hawk
MCC celebrates REVEREND DAVID ZIER AND REVEREND MARGARET HAWK for excellent work in taking the Network ministry to a new level, supporting a number of congregations in transition; and providing social, spiritual, and pastoral connection to all churches in the Network that includes Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. David and Margaret want to thank the wonderful CUSEN Network Team including Shannon Harper, Rev. Barry Christensen, Rev. Cathy Porter, and Beth Mink. Without them, this would not be possible.
Rev. Steve Torrence
REVEREND STEVE TORRENCE has served both Moderators in MCC, providing security at Conferences, and generously giving of time and resources whenever asked. Rev. Torrence is a police officer and chaplain, and models a breakthrough in community policing in his city. Rev. Torrence volunteers as the pastor of MCC Key West, and has helped the church rebound from challenges in the past several years. Additionally, he serves on the Global Justice Institute Board because its ministry and projects are among his passions.
This award is given to honor a church that embodies and models MCC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
RESURRECTION MCC intentionally creates an inclusive, diverse, and equitable faith community through engaging in the difficult yet transformational conversations relating to the full inclusion of all people. Through sermons, panel discussions, ministry offerings, awareness efforts, and support groups, Resurrection MCC makes room at The Table for those who are transgender/gender-nonconforming, heterosexual, over 50 years old, under 35 years old, women, people of African descent, and Latino; those who move through the world with mental and physical challenges; and those infected or affected by immunity disorders (HIV/AIDS, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, etc.), cancer (breast, cervical, ovarian, prostate, etc.), body image (obesity, anorexia, etc.), and addiction (overeaters, narcotics, sexual, etc.).
Rev. Jackie Carter
REVEREND JACKIE CARTER is the Program Office for the Women’s Advisory Council for MCC globally. She pastors a church that has a commitment to those who are hungry. They feed 1,000 people per week and is the second largest food pantry in Kansas. The congregation, under Rev. Carter’s leadership, has been successful in reaching young adults. And her work on the front lines of marriage equality, in performing the first legal mass wedding in Kansas for same sex couples, resulted in excellent media attention, and then death threats. Rev. Carter is a fearless advocate for all who are marginalized.
This award is given to a church technology minister/ministry or a ministry group that demonstrates excellence in the use of technology to further the mission and vision of MCC through their church or organization.
Founders Technology Team/TV Broadcast Team
FOUNDERS MCC TECHNOLOGY TEAM/TV BROADCAST TEAMS: For pioneering and implementing the most far-reaching MCC technology ministry anywhere. For the investment of your creativity, passion, time, and resources to model best practices and a future vision for all of MCC. Many were blessed by your leadership in MCC’s first virtual Network Gathering. Lives have been changed because of your faithfulness!
In the Temple [Jesus] found people selling cattle, sheep and pigeons,
while moneychangers sat at their counters. Making a whip out of cords,
Jesus drove them all out of the Temple — even the cattle and sheep —
and overturned the tables of the moneychangers, scattering their coins.
Then he faced the pigeon sellers: ‘Take all this out of here!
Stop turning God’s house into a market!’
Now this is a Jesus with whom I can relate — I can identify with his unrestrained human emotions when he is faced with what institutionalized religion had done to “God’s house.” Jesus happens upon people selling animals, to be purchased for the purpose of sacrificing them to take away one’s sins. I wonder what is going through Jesus’ mind as he sat and made a whip out of cords. Was his mind racing with rage, were his hands shaking as he furiously wove and knotted the cords? Did he crack the cords on the ground, checking them for strength? Did Jesus, “The Prince of Peace,” actually use the whip to strike the peddlers and the animals?
Or did he calmly take some cords, relaxing in the shade of the high walls of the Temple, and knit the cords together in a whip, saying a silent prayer over each knot. Does he do so, knowing that in publicly challenging the Temple power structure, by clearing the Temple grounds, he will be sealing his fate? Surely in this calm reflective state, Jesus must realize he will be severely punished for the action he is about to take. As author Marcus Borg notes, “The centrality of Jesus’ conflict with the temple is pointed to by [the gospel of] Mark’s statement that it was the cause of Jesus’ arrest.”  [Mark 11:18]
As I ponder the possible scenarios of Jesus preparing for his less-than-gentle clearing of the Temple grounds, I am reminded of my own struggle with the notion that Jesus’ death was an act of atonement, a sacrifice necessary to cleanse away the original sin of Adam and Eve (or, according to other Biblical scholars, to atone for the sins of Israel). But in this scripture passage, Jesus is clearing the Temple grounds of animals that were being purchased and sacrificed (slaughtered on the altar) for the forgiveness of the purchaser’s sins. If it was this activity that led Jesus to use a whip, that led Jesus to destroy other’s possession, to scatter their money, to overturn their work stations, to confront them for turning God’s house into a market place — how does the idea that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, the perfect lamb, slaughtered for the forgiveness of others’ sins, make any sense? As theologian Cynthia Bourgeault points out, an interpretation that God required that his own son, Jesus, must die for the atonement of other’s sins “would turn God into a monster. How can Jesus, who is love, radiate a God who is primarily a monster? And how can Christians theoretically progressing on a path of love consent to live under such a reign of terror?” 
Rev. Dr. Bourgeault, however, provides insight that moved me past the image of a monster father killing his perfect son for the atonement of the sins of the clearly unworthy. She writes that Jesus didn’t die “for” human sins, but Jesus died “because of” human sins — the sins fueled by human ego. Jesus died “because of the sins” of the Temple authorities — their pride in their positions, their fear of losing power, their desire to maintain their personal wealth, their willingness to cooperate with a cruel regime in order to maintain their status and all that their privilege carried with it. It was these things that killed Jesus — the same things that account for some of the worst atrocities human beings have inflicted, and continue to inflict, upon each other.
It is in this very human Jesus, someone outraged at the serious moral corruption of the Temple authorities, with whom I can connect — not someone who is demanded to be a human sacrifice by his parent for the atonement of others’ sins. It is this very human Jesus, whose own unimaginable suffering and death can comfort us in our deepest despairs, as he gently whispers, “I know what you are suffering; I have suffered, too. I am with you in this crucifying situation.” 
It is these two images of Jesus — the Jesus appalled by the moral corruption of the power structure and the Jesus who is the gentle comforter — who calls us to “Be MCC,” speaking out against violations of human rights and providing comfort to the victims of these violations.
 Marcus Borg & N.T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus, 82 (1999).
 Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Jesus, 107 (2008).
 This idea of Jesus being with us in “this crucifying situation” comes from an interview with Fr. Richard Rohr, Editorial Reviews, Amazon.com Review, http://www.amazon.com/dp/
In a few days, the United States will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of one of the most famous events in Civil Rights History: the March from Selma to Montgomery. It was a painful and bloody moment in the struggle for racial equality, where activists of many faiths, backgrounds, and regions of the U.S. gathered to press government at every level for dignity, justice, and the right to live freely. Marchers were met with extreme violence that was broadcast around the country on television and in newspapers. Hate and violence were exposed for the world to see. While the segregated South died a legal death, racial discrimination is still a reality for far too many.
As people of faith whose movement was born out of discrimination and violence, MCC and the Global Justice Institute (GJI) know the harm injustice can do to a people. We stand in solidarity with all who live on the margins and stand in need of a more just and equitable society. We recognize that the movement for LGBT equality in the U.S. was rooted in the Civil Rights Movement. Hatred motivated people to bomb both the 16th Street Baptist Church and Founders MCCLA. Through the lens of faith, one cannot see a difference between charred bodies hanging from of a Louisiana lynching tree or the charred body framed in the window of a fire bombed Upstairs Lounge. We are united. And we seek to practice a faith that crosses lines of race, gender, gender expression, sexuality.
In this spirit, we extend an invitation for you to join us for the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. We invite all MCCers, friends, allies, and all people of faith to join us in Selma, Alabama, 5-9 March 2015.
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, who was raised in segregated Alabama, will lead a delegation from the Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches in participating in the commemoration of the march. The GJI/MCC delegation will take part in all the weekend’s activities, including the march across the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on Sunday 8 March.
Join us. And pray for justice.
For more information, please contact:
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
Executive Minister, Sunshine Cathedral MCC
Governing Board Member
MCC Global Justice Institute
As a former member of the White House Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Dr. Nancy Wilson was called on to engage MCC churches and members in this historic bi-partisan campaign.
“Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) around the world know what oppression is. This bipartisan legislation aimed at eliminating slavery and human trafficking around the globe is a powerful step,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC. “The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, reminds us that slavery and human trafficking touches all of us and must be stopped! MCC members are urged to spread the word on this freedom movement and to contact their congresspersons and urge them to support the legislation.”
“Today more than 27 million people, many of them women and children, suffer under forced labor and sexual servitude in over 165 countries around the world, including our own,” said Sen. Bob Corker. “As I have seen firsthand, the stark reality of modern slavery is unconscionable, demanding the United States and civilized world make a commitment to end it for good. Despite the pervasive nature of this horrific practice, modern slavery is a crime of opportunity that thrives where enforcement is weak, so raising the risk of prosecution can achieve significant results.”
“Human trafficking, in the form of forced labor and sexual exploitation, debt-bondage, involuntary servitude and the sale and exploitation of children – is one of the great moral challenges of our time,” said Sen. Robert Menendez. “We must end modern slavery in all its forms and U.S. leadership is critical in the effort to combat this grave injustice. Democrats and Republicans speak with one voice on this vital issue. I am proud to stand with Chairman Corker and look forward to the speedy passage of this legislation.”
Advocacy groups and faith-based institutions issued support for the effort, including the Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST), International Justice Mission (IJM), United Way Worldwide, Freedom House, Rotary International, and Circle of Friends, Inc., among others.
The introduction of the legislation coincides with the End It Movement’s push this week to raise awareness about modern slavery by encouraging supporters to mark their hands with a red “X.” The “Shine a Light on Slavery Day” will culminate on Friday, February 27. The act will charter a 501(c)(3) non-profit grant-making foundation in the District of Columbia to be known as “The End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation.”
The initiative will fund programs outside the United States that:
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual holiday occurring on March 31 dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. The holiday was founded by Michigan-based transgender activist Rachel Crandall in 2009 as a reaction to the lack of LGBT holidays celebrating transgender people, citing the frustration that the only well-known transgender-centered holiday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance which mourned the loss of transgender people to hate crimes, but did not acknowledge and celebrate living members of the transgender community.
From Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera (see below) to modern-day activists and “possibility models,” like Angel Collie, Rev. Norma Gann, Rev. Miller Hoffman, Rev. Jake Kopmeier, Zach McCallum, Rev. Aaron Miller, Rev. Maxwell Reay, Stacy Sanberg, Steve Sills, Rev. Mykal Slack, and Julie Walsh, our proud trans* siblings that serve as members of MCC Trans* Gender Non-Conforming Advisory Council, we pay tribute to all those who have boldly shared their stories, spoken out against discrimination, and smoothed the path toward equality and acceptance for all those who follow in their footsteps like, Rev. Brendan Boone, Rev. Emma Chatton, Dr. Colt Meyer, Monica Roberts and many others.
Remembering Sylvia Rivera
Sylvia Rivera, the Bronx-born Puerto Rican LGBTQ icon, is rumored to have started the infamous 1969 Stonewall Riots, yet she remains generally unknown. A tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights until her death in 2002, Rivera worked to ensure that change was constantly on the horizon for her community. Since 1960, New York City has been home to a thriving LGBTQ community and gay scene, despite harassment, arrests and assault.
Historians of the period believe that earlier foreign migration in the city injected new life into the already established gay scene, making it renowned. Greenwich Village, Times Square and the streets in neighboring areas became home to gay, working class and homeless youth. Among them was Rivera, a self-identified “queen,” who was raised by her Venezuelan grandmother until Rivera left home at age 11. Transforming from Ray Rivera to Sylvia Rivera, she began dressing in drag and prostituting herself on 42nd street.
“It was a hard era. There was always gay bashing on the drag queens. We had to live with it, but none of us was very happy about it,” Rivera said during a recorded interview.
Rivera and other “street queens” were constantly in danger of being arrested, mainly because of the fact that cross-dressing was illegal at the time. Raids of gay bars were common, and by the time she was 17-years-old, Rivera had already made countless trips to Riker’s Island. The arrests and harassment bred frustration, and Rivera craved a revolution.
On June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, an establishment that’s widely considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, that revolution came. When officers attempted to storm the Stonewall Inn, they quickly lost control, and the self-aware gay and transgender community reacted with riots and protest. Rivera was rumored to have thrown one of the first Molotov cocktails that evening, while others claim that she wasn’t at the Stonewall Inn at all.
The radical moment in history has been debated time and time again by historians, but one thing that’s evident is the whitening and “suburbanizing” of the Stonewall Inn Riots, leading to Rivera being dropped from historical texts related to Stonewall. However, what makes her involvement so profoundly important is that she represents working class, queer Latino and black street youth, who happened to be responsible for the more militant actions that took place that evening.
The homeless people living in Sheridan Square were non-white. They were predominately Puerto Rican/Latina and they were prominent and active. Their inclusion in the night’s riots helped make it what it was, and that contingent would go on to produce more fruitful actions.
The following year, Rivera and other activists organized the first Christopher Street Liberation march to commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion. That tradition became what’s presently known as the Gay Pride Parade. Rivera went on to do profound work in the transgender community, founding the Street Transvestite/Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), and organizing with the Black Panthers and the Young Lords to drive change in the queer community as well as other disenfranchised communities.
Sé ICM: Sé Cumplimiento
Durante muchos años creí que la Cuaresma era renunciar a ciertos alimentos o actividades durante cuarenta días. Mi punto de vista de la Cuaresma está cambiando. Se está convirtiendo en un tiempo de plantar semillas espirituales que empezarán a echar raíces y crecer. Mientras planto las semillas preveo el cumplimiento que viene durante la Pascua y Pentecostés. Estos cuarenta días están conectados a algo mucho más grande que una barra de chocolate pospuesta hasta la semana de Pascua. Mis anhelos más profundos son llegar hacia un propósito mayor y un cumplimiento duradero.
La historia de Sara y Abraham en Génesis 17:1-7,15-16 es una historia de cumplimiento. Sus semillas de pacto fiel abren el camino para un legado eterno. Dios cambio el nombre de Sarai a Sara y dijo: “le bendeciré, y se convertirá en Naciones; los gobernantes de los pueblos vendrán de ella” (Gén 17:16b, primera traducción igualitaria).
En el espíritu de Sara y Abraham, nuestra invitación cuaresmal es a abrirnos al cumplimiento dentro de nosotr@s mism@s y más allá de nosotr@s mism@s. La Cuaresma es un tiempo para la conexión de un pacto profundo con el Creador. Una manera de abordar esto es replantear la práctica espiritual de oración. En lugar de que sólo sea un deber en nuestra lista de Cuaresma, apreciarla como un movimiento a y con la oración. La historia de Jesús durante esta temporada describe las relaciones cada vez más profunda entre Jesús y sus seguidores. Es un movimiento a la vulnerabilidad compartida y un movimiento con la complejidad santa que colorea todas las relaciones que se atreven a ir más allá de la superficie.
La gente pregunta a Jesús y Jesús les pregunta. Jesús se involucra en relaciones que no son fáciles. Están marcadas por la tristeza, la decepción, el malentendido y la impaciencia. Sin embargo, sorpresa, la vulnerabilidad, la fidelidad y la misión compartida también emergen. Para aquellas personas que estén dispuestas a arriesgar, los giros, vueltas y paradas y arranques en última instancia conducen al cumplimiento de las relaciones y del propósito cumplido.
Transformación ocurre a través de las relaciones. La historia del ICM tiene muchas intersecciones con las historias de Sara, Abraham y Jesús. Desde nuestros inicios hemos tomado riesgos para plantar semillas en lugares que muchos considerarían infértiles. Compartimos el dolor y la decepción. El malentendido y la impaciencia, en ocasiones, han probado nuestras relaciones. Sin embargo nuestra vulnerabilidad, riesgo y persistencia también han sido una puerta a la alegría y a la celebración.
Be MCC: Be Fulfilled
For many years, I believed that Lent was about giving up certain foods or activities for forty days. My view of Lent is shifting. It is becoming a time to plant spiritual seeds that will begin to take root and grow. As I plant these seeds, I anticipate the coming fulfillment during Easter and Pentecost. These forty days are connected to something much bigger than a bar of chocolate postponed until Easter. My deepest longings reach towards a greater purpose and lasting fulfillment.
People question Jesus, and Jesus questions them. The relationships Jesus engages are not easy. They are marked by grief, disappointment, misunderstanding, and impatience. Yet surprise, vulnerability, faithfulness, and shared mission also emerge. For those willing to risk, the twists and turns and stops and starts ultimately lead to fulfilling relationships and fulfilled purpose.
Transformation happens through relationships. The story of MCC has many intersections with the stories of Sarah, Abraham, and Jesus. From our earliest days, we have taken risks to plant seeds in places many would consider infertile. We have shared grief and disappointment. Misunderstanding and impatience have, at times, tested our relationships. Yet our vulnerability, risk-taking, and persistence have also been a gateway to joy and celebration.
Dear MCC Leader:
We’re reaching out to you to ask for your congregation’s participation in MCC’s Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice! As we’ve seen in the past year, this work is more important now than ever before.
Your church’s participation in the Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice will accomplish amazing things in the lives of oppressed people and advance the cause of justice around the globe.
Beginning next week and continuing through Pentecost, I’ll share details of this year’s project with you and tell you about opportunities for your congregation to interact with representatives from the Global Justice Institute.
Last year, your generous Easter Offerings empowered the Global Justice Institute to work with grassroots organizations to:
|The Global Justice Institute joins with activists in Seoul to demand recognition of LGBTQ people.|
Our goals for accomplishments in for 2015 include but are not limited to:
|Celebrating our new partnership with
Humanitas in Costa Rica!
By signing on, your church will support this critical work accomplished through the Global Justice Institute at a time when the support is needed globally more than ever!
TO SIGN UP TODAY:
Write to Global Justice Institute executive director Rev. Pat Bumgardner at email@example.com and let us know that your church will collect a special, designated 2015 Easter offering.
In the coming weeks, we’ll send you the tools you need to get your congregation excited about the Easter Offering and the work of the Global Justice Institute!
What better time could there be than Easter for our shared offerings to bring hope and promise to our global siblings?
Can I count on your response this week?
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson
Metropolitan Community Churches
Queridas Personas Clérigas y Delegadas Laicas:
Nos encontramos emocionados de anunciar que siete nuevos Obispos y Obispas para servir por un período de 5 años comenzando el 1° de junio de este año.
El Consejo de Obispos y Obispas ha votado y aprobado los nombramientos, que aparecen más abajo y la Junta de Gobierno ha aprobado los nombramientos.
Hace varios años, cuando las Regiones se disolvieron y en anticipación a la transición de Moderador(a), comenzamos trabajando en un que nos ayudaría en clarificar el papel y responsabilidades de los miembros del Consejo de Obispos y Obispas. Anteriormente, Obispos y Obispas automáticamente pasaban a formar parte del personal a tiempo completo y como miembros del Equipo Directivo de Liderazgo. Actualmente Obispos y Obispas son voluntarios que, como Consejo junto con la Moderadora, ofrecen apoyo espiritual y pastoral, y liderazgo de las iglesias, pastores y personas de ICM.
Deseamos que el nombramiento de los nuevos Obispos y Obispas por un periodo de cinco años ofrezcan al Nuevo(a) Moderador(a) la capacidad de continuamente reconfigurar el Consejo para el bienestar de ICM, y con el tiempo, ofrecer a más personas la oportunidad de servir.
Cerca de sesenta personas nos fueron recomendadas de parte de los delegados(as) laicos(as) y clérigos(as) de ICM. Creemos que era una respuesta clara y saludable de nuestro pueblo.
Invitamos a doce personas para enviar sus solicitudes para ser Obispas, las que habían sido recomendadas en varias ocasiones por clérigos(as) y delegados(as) laicos(as). De esas doce personas, diez presentaron sus solicitudes y siete fueron nombradas como Obispas.
Confiamos que nuestros siete nombrados, tendrán un apoyo unánime de los Obispos y Obispas actuales, reuniendo los criterios sin excepción.
Trabajos arduamente, para balancear las muchas consideraciones de diversidad, con nuestro compromiso de elegir aquellas personas que nuestro pueblo había recomendado, y quienes fácilmente serían reconocidos como Obispos y Obispas.
Entre las personas nombradas, cuatro sirven como pastores o han servido como pastes en una Iglesia tipo programa o una Iglesia grande; uno es pastor de una Iglesia tamaño familia; una persona es laica; tres hombre (dos son cisgéneros, uno es un hombre trans); uno es bisexual. Los siete representan tres países y tres grupos de idiomas. Dos son parte del personal de la denominación.
Obispos y Obispas tienen un lugar especial e histórico en los corazones de ICM en todo el mundo y ofrecen liderazgo espiritual y pastoral para ICM global. Debido a que los Obispos y Obispas nombrados servirán en el Consejo de Obispos y Obispas, el cual es un cuerpo de discernimiento para el Moderador(a), los Estatutos de ICM requieren que la Conferencia General afirme la decisión de la Moderadora y del Consejo de Obispos y Obispas. No es una elección; sino una oportunidad para que las personas clérigas y delegadas laicas expresen su apoyo a nombre de todos los miembros de ICM en el mundo.
En un par de semanas, la Junta de Gobierno anunciará oficialmente un Foro de Negocios de la Conferencia General Especial, agendada para el 9 y 11 de abril, y una votación virtual el 6 y 7 de mayo. Marquen las fechas en sus calendarios y manténganse al tanto para más información.
Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann: Pastor de ICM Colonia, Alemania es el nominado más joven, en el rango de los 35 a 49 años. El Rev. Baumann será el primer Obispo Alemán y el primer Obispo No-conforme FTM Género Queer.
Rev. Tony Freeman: Fue Pastor de ICM San Diego; actualmente es parte del Equipo Directivo de Liderazgo y Director de la Oficina de Vida y Salud de la Iglesia. El Rev. Freeman sirvió en la Junta de Gobierno hasta el 2013.
Nancy Maxwell, J.D., LL.M.: Profesora de Derecho en la Universidad de Washburn y una de los tres líderes de nuestro Equipo LEAD que supervisa el programa a nivel global.Profesora Maxwell posee una considerable experiencia global e imparte cursos de derechos humanos y ley. Ella será la primera mujer laica en ser Obispa.
Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis: Fue Pastora de ICM Washington, D.C., y actualmente es Pastora de King of Peace ICM en St. Petersburg, Florida. La Rev. Shultis ha servido a la denominación en muchas capacidades, incluyendo a la Junta de Gobierno. Ella es la Presidenta de la Comisión sobre la Declaración de Fe de ICM.
¡Alégrense conmigo que hemos llegado a este lugar después de años de preparación! Por favor oren por los Obispos y Obispas nominados, por sus familias e Iglesias mientras transcurrimos estos tiempos juntos.
Rev. Dra. Nancy Wilson
Moderadora Global, Iglesias de la Comunidad Metropolitana
Amados/Amadas, en ustedes me complazco
Tú eres mi Hijo amado, en ti tengo complacencia.
…ni habrá más diluvio para destruir la tierra.
Hace una semana los carnavales terminaron en los países de mayoría cristiana. El Carnaval es tiempo de extravagancia antes de la temporada austera de la Cuaresma. Durante carnaval los colores, la buena comida y el baile están fuera en las calles de muchas ciudades. Este año uno de los carnavales más famosos del mundo, Río de Janeiro, se vio ensombrecido por el asesinato de Claudia da Silva, de 25 años, una joven transgénero conocida Piu. Piu, era miembro de la famosa escuela de samba Beija-Flor (colibrí en portugués) fue asesinada en un país en donde cada 28 horas una persona gay, trans o bisexual es asesinada. La tortura y el asesinato de Piu fue publicada en los medios sociales. La muerte ocurrió cerca de una favela, Morro da Mina, controlada por señores de la droga. La mascarada, los colores y la danza no pueden ocultar la cruda realidad de la pobreza, las drogas y la violencia en Río de Janeiro.
Estamos viviendo en un mundo complicado donde la violencia, la desigualdad, el prejuicio y el odio están aumentando de manera escandalosa. Frente a esa realidad, nos preguntamos: ¿dónde está la esperanza?
El evangelio de Marcos fue escrito en una época de convulsión política y de inestabilidad social. La destrucción del templo de Jerusalén y la derrota de los movimientos de liberación de Israel por parte de estructura militar imperial de Roma, creó una gran crisis y todos se preguntan dónde estaba la esperanza. Al mismo tiempo, Jesús vivió en medio de la agitación social que produjo varios movimientos mesiánicos que pretendían dar respuesta a la falta de esperanza de sus tiempos. El tono apocalíptico de Marcos es un recordatorio de que la desesperanza terminará: “El tiempo se ha cumplido, y el reino de Dios está cerca”. Pero ¿dónde está ese reino? Probablemente Jesús sabía que se trataba de una pregunta difícil de responder, y tal vez por eso, antes de que comenzara su ministerio, se enfrentó al mal dentro de él en la soledad del desierto. La llamada de Jesús era para ayudar a la gente a descubrir el rostro de Dios en medio de la pobreza y la violencia y así desenmascarar las respuestas fáciles de las estructuras religiosas y políticas. Es muy interesante que en uno de sus primeros milagros de sanidad, un hombre con un espíritu inmundo en la sinagoga, Jesús no destruyó al espíritu, sino más bien lo silenció y le ordenó que saliera del hombre.
En el relato del Génesis descubrimos una historia asombrosa de Dios, en donde hace el siguiente compromiso: “ni habrá más diluvio para destruir la tierra.” Esto no es una promesa de un planeta protegido del mal, sino … tal vez es una promesa divina de controlar las respuestas fáciles de una imagen divina todopoderosa para en cambio hacer un llamado constante a todos nosotros/nosotras: ustedes son mis hijas / ustedes son mis hijos, los amados; en ustedes tengo complacencia….
Y la gente responde a ese llamado, como Aki Ra quien era muy pequeño cuando fue elegido por los jemeres rojos en Camboya para convertirse en un niño soldado. Él puso miles de minas y luchó por los jemeres rojos hasta 1983. Recibió entrenamiento remoción de minas con las Naciones Unidas y escuchó a su verdadera vocación: Tú eres mi Hijo amado; en ti tengo complacencia… Sin ningún tipo de herramientas de remoción de minas, comenzó ilegalmente a desactivar minas en las zonas en las que había luchado con nada más que un cuchillo consiguiendo con ello la prevención de muertes y lesiones graves de muchas personas, especialmente los niños.
Violada a la edad de seis años y huérfana a los nueve años, Betty Makoni de alguna manera se las arregló para mantenerse fuerte, sobrevivir y escuchar la voz: tú eres mi Hija amada; en ti tengo complacencia… En 1999 fundó la Red de Niñas como respuesta a la pandemia de abuso sexual infantil, en especial la de las niñas en Zimbabue. Su organización, está diseminada en 35 de los 58 distritos de Zimbabue. Hasta la fecha, Betty ha alcanzado a 7.000 (algunas estimaciones dicen que hasta 35.000) niñas víctimas de abuso, trabajo infantil, matrimonios forzados, trata de personas y asalto sexual.
Una investigación realizada en 2011 indica que el 90% de las travestis y transexuales que se prostituyen en las calles de Río de Janeiro les gustaría ser parte del mercado de trabajo formal… También ella escuchan la voz de Dios: ustedes son mis Hijas Amadas; en ustedes tengo complacencia… Así surge “Projeto Damas”. Quienes buscan preparar estas mujeres con competencias profesionales y técnicas; fortaleciendo su dignidad, para que puedan volver al mundo de al mercado de trabajo formal.