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Kwanzaa 2014


kwanzaa Candles
Photo Credit: Kwanzaa Guide
kwanzaa Yenu Iwe Na Heri

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt


Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African-Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.

This year we will focus on proverbs new and old.

Proverbs are the distilled genius of cultures. They identify and dignify a culture, bringing life into wisdom and wisdom into life. The purpose of African proverbs, just like any others, is to give people a sense of what’s right and wrong and teach them how to behave in a society. Proverbs have many uses in African societies. They may express an eternal truth. They may be a warning against foolish acts or a guide to good conduct. They may also bring special meaning to certain situations and may even solve particular problems. All of them, share common ground because they are here to teach us the same values and to help us have judgment. Even though some proverbs might seem as though they have absolutely nothing in common, in the end, they are all trying to achieve the aforementioned purpose. Both the “individual psychology” and the “community” code of conduct talk about how individuals or groups should act toward each other are expressed in proverbs. African proverbs express the wisdom of the African people and are a key to understanding the ways of life in the past, present and future.

Note: Each of the seven principles, is accompanied by a proverb and its explanation. It is paired with a short documentary related to the principle and proverb. It is our hope that the film will spark conversation at your gathering.

kwanzaa Umoja

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Unity : Umoja (oo–MO–jah)

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Proverb: There is strength in unity, but weakness in division.
Proverb Explanation: Unity is strength, division is weakness.

Massacre at Murambi

05:10 min | Documentary | Director: Sam Kauffmann | Producer: Sam Kauffmann
During the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, a newly built secondary school on a hill named Murambi was the site of one of the world’s most horrifying mass murders. This film informs us about the events that took place at Murambi and explores the link between Rwanda and Darfur, Sudan.

kwannzaa Kujichagulia

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Proverb: If you borrow someone’s legs, you will go where they direct you.
Proverb Explanation: If one is too heavily indebted to someone, one will lose one’s independence.

What Does It Mean To Be An African American Woman Who Loves Hip Hop?
8:01 min | Documentary | Directed By Briana Noble & Free Spirit Media |
Exploring the hip-hop community through the lens of an African-American woman.


kwanzaa Ujima

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)

To build and maintain our community together and make our sibling’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Proverb: A bundle cannot be fastened with one hand.
Proverb Explanation: No person is completely self-sufficient. We have need of each other.

I Am Sean Bell
10:36 min | Documentary | Director: Stacey Muhammad | Producer: Stacey Muhammad
When I chose to do the Sean Bell film, I was extremely disturbed by the verdict and wanted to hear from the children, particularly young black boys, about their thoughts, fears and concerns regarding violence against black men. Most of the topics that interest me are those that give a voice to those often unheard populations of people, who indeed have stories to tell and victories to celebrate.

kwanzaa Ujamaa

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Proverb: A bird builds with the feathers of others.
Proverb Explanation: No one can be totally self-sufficient.

A Loud Color

6:34 min | Documentary | Director: Brent Joseph | Producer: Brent Joseph

This film follows Louis Harding as he rebuilds the community center he opened just one month before Hurricane Katrina hit and destroyed his work. Despite the setback, 72-year-old Harding refuses to give up on his mission to combat poverty in New Orleans. He discusses the importance of history, heroes and self-esteem in the black community and explains why making his dream a reality is more important now than ever before.

kwanzaa Nia

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Proverb: The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.
Proverb Explanation: The destruction of the community nation starts in the home. Therefore, develop strong and productive families.

A Girl Like Me by Kiri Davis

07:08 min | Youth Documentary | Director: Kiri Davis | Producer: Reel Works Teen Filmmaking

Color is more than skin deep for young African-American women struggling to define themselves. Kiri explores the way racial stereotypes influence the self-image of African American young women and children. Davis interviews teenage black women about their experience with racialized standards of beauty, and replicates the Kenneth Clark Doll Test, to show how black girls and boys to this day associate whiteness with beauty and virtue and blackness with ugliness and vice. Running Time 7:15 minutes

kwansaa Kuumba

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Proverb: To stumble is not to fall, but to go forward faster.
Proverb Explanation: Mistakes are a part of the learning and creative process. If you learn from your mistakes, you will achieve at a faster pace.

The Apollos

06:00 min | Documentary | Director: Nick Parker, Jazmin Jones | Producer: Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC)

The Apollos is about the struggle of a high school senior class to pass a bill making Martin Luther King’s birthday a nationally recognized holiday. The idea behind The Apollos came from us wanting to increase youth involvement in social issues, so we decided to use a powerful example. By combining the different interviews into one powerful story we created a non-traditional hybrid interview style to show the union of new and old ideas working towards the same goal. Hopefully today’s youth will learn from The Apollos and flex that metaphoric bicep in today’s adult run society. We want youth around the world to know they too are world citizens and have a voice. USE IT!

kwanzaa Imani

Photo Credit: dasugahoneyicedt

Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Proverb: Hope is the pillar of the world.
Proverb Explanation: Hope is a stronghold in a world of fluctuating circumstances.

Still Standing

07:44 min | Documentary | Producer: The Educational Video Center’s Youth Organizers Television (YO-TV) Program

Still Standing is an intimate portrayal of the challenges faced by Hurricane Katrina survivors six months after the storm. Ms. Gertrude, a determined New Orleans homeowner and grandmother, travels regularly from temporary housing in Houston, TX to what remains of her home. Caught in the midst of a real-estate frenzy without insurance money or federal assistance, Ms. Gertrude fights for the right to rebuild. Her story reveals familiar issues in urban American communities: the neglect of poor and minority neighborhoods, the inadequacy of public assistance to provide long-term solutions, and the struggles necessary to make positive change.

kwanzaa candle graphic
Photo Credit: Our Heritage Magazine

Kwanzaa Nguzo Saba
Photo Credit: Dickson University

The Symbols of Kwanzaa:
Greetings, Gifts, Decorations:

kwanzaa Symbols
Photo Credit: ourthings

The Celebration:
The Day of Meditation:
Kwanzaa crafts:

2014 Kwanzaa Bingo
2014 Kwanzaa Bingo
2014 Kwanzaa Bingo.pdf
Date Updated: 3 October 2014
2014 Kwanzaa Coloring Book
2014 Kwanzaa Coloring Book
2014 Kwanzaa Coloring book.pdf
Date Updated: 3 October 2014

Online Learning Center Programming Coordinator – 1 Year Contractor Position

The MCC Office of Formation and Leadership Development (OFLD) is seeking an Online Learning Center Programming Coordinator for a new contract position to perform as required and mutually agreed the following services:


A. Take the lead on identifying topics and presenters for online courses and webinars;

B. Advise the OFLD ont he potential for virtual technology for leadership development, training, care and connection, and spiritual development;

C. Function as a project manager for webinars offered by the OFLD;

D. Interface with all MCC offices to identify topics and presenters for online offerings;

E. Follow up with presenters to determine availability;

F. Coordinate scheduling and keep the Master Calender for the Online Learning Center; and

G. Provide occasional technical support and trainig for OFLD webinars.


This position will be accountable to the Director of the OFLD for the length of the contract, starting 1 November 2014 and ending 31 December 2015.

Application deadline is October 17th

This contract position is not a hired staff position and therefore is not eligible for employment benefits. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please send a resume and cover letter to

2014 Native American History Month

Native-American-History-Month[image source:]

The Office of Emerging Ministries is charged with edifying our congregations, spiritual communities and new works into inclusive communities. Towards that effort, one of my responsibilities is to provide our movement with resources and information regarding diverse non-dominant populations who are threads in the fabric of MCC. It is my belief that the more we know about other peoples and cultures, the less we fear them.

Profile: Maury Evans

MauryE1. When did you recognize your cultural heritage and sexual orientation? Feel free to share what that means/meant to you and how it influenced your growing up.

When I was in high School, I was at my Aunt’s house and her nail guy came over to give her a manicure. He was gay and Native American as well. After he left, my aunt said as Indian’s we are not to discriminate against gay people because in a community (tribal environment) every person had a purpose. This includes gay people. So as Natives, she said, we don’t discriminate against gay people. This was my first integration and awareness between my culture and being gay.

Growing up in an integrated house, my dad being Caucasian and my mom Native, I was introduced to both cultures. We lived closer to my Native American side of the family and they have always been very accepting of me and even as an Adult, that side of the family has met my partner Kirk and they have been very gracious.

On October 1st, Kirk and I will be married. That day is our 20th anniversary and the pastor of MCC Portland Nathan Meckley will be performing the marriage ceremony.

2. When did you find MCC? Please feel free to share your introduction story to MCC.

I first heard of MCC when I lived in Texas back in the 80’s. I have always gone to church but always put up with the negative rhetoric about gay people in the church. When I came out to myself, I wanted to find a church that I would feel comfortable. My gay friends at the time told me about MCC but it was not until later in life that I entered an MCC church. The first MCC that I went to was in my hometown of Ft. Collins, Colorado. It wasn’t till years later that I became a regular attender at MCC Portland.

When I first moved to Portland, OR, I had started a theatre company Raven Wind Players for Native American children. I wrote historical Native American plays and the Native kids in Portland rehearsed and performed. I did these through Church of the Four Winds (of which I became a board member) and also through the Vancouver, WA Title 9 Indian Education Program.

One of the little boys at Church of the Four Winds and who was in Raven Wind Players, needed a heart transplant but of course this was very expensive. So I decided to put together a concert to help raise money for medical expenses. This is when I met Mark C. Brown who is now at MCC Houston. We put together the concert and raised some money and out of this we created a Gospel trio called WE3. We did a couple more concerts as WE3 to help raise some funds for this little boy.

Through WE3, is how I came to MCC Portland. Since we billed ourselves as a Gay Gospel Trio, I thought it would be good to be based in church that celebrates ones faith and embraces the LGBT culture.

3. How have you been able to weave into the fabric of MCC your cultural heritage, if you celebrate same, or how you would like to, if you have not been able to as of yet.

At MCC Portland, we have not yet really embraced the Native culture but the church is open to it.

4. Is there a piece of poetry, prose, pictures, music that you would like to share with MCC that worship communities may incorporate into the life of their worship? If so, please provide it for the resource by attaching it or sending a link to it or where I can obtain it.

The past 3 years now, I have written Christmas Shows for MCC Portand as well as Resurrection MCC in Houston, Texas. This has been a great fund raiser for our church and it has been a blessing writing these shows along with my BFF Mark C. Brown.

5. Are there any resources you recommend that MCC read/listen to, etc. in order to broaden our cultural understanding of your cultural heritage?

Litany of Six Directions

(Source unknown; inspired by a traditional Native American blessing.)
Leader: We turn to the West for a blessing to the Spirit of Shalom, Peace: make us whole, make us holy, help us to love you and one another with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole being, we pray:
People: Empower us, Holy Spirit.
Leader: We turn to the North for a blessing to the Spirit of Integrity: give us your strength and the courage to endure all the problems we may face, we pray:
People: Empower us, Holy Spirit.
Leader: We turn to the East for a blessing, to the Spirit of Illumination: open our eyes to the sacredness of every living thing, we pray:
People: Empower us, Holy Spirit.
Leader: We turn to the South for a blessing, to the Spirit of Transformation: help us to grow in wisdom and grace and the goodness of the ages, we pray:
People: Empower us, Holy Spirit.
Leader: We look to the Heavens, to the Spirit of Openness: fill us with a breadth of vision to see that your love embraces all, we pray:
People: Empower us, Holy Spirit.
Leader: We touch the Earth for a blessing, and thereby touch the Spirit that lives among us and within us: help us to be more human and to praise you through the work of our hands, we pray:
People: Empower us, Holy Spirit.
Leader: Let us go from here blessed and renewed in the Spirit of Peace, in the Spirit of Integrity, in the Spirit of Illumination, in the Spirit of Transformation, with hopes lifted high to the heavens and with hearts loving the earth in the name of our loving, creating, nurturing God.
People: Amen!

Smudging Ceremony

(Source unknown)
The smudging ceremony is likened to a prayer of confession, as we purify our minds and hearts before we partake of Holy Communion. (Reach out for the smoke and draw it into your heart.)

One: Spirit of God, present in the East, the direction of the rising sun, we greet You and seek peace and light, wisdom and knowledge. You bring us the hope of a new day, hope that we can live in harmony with one another and with the whole community of life.

Many: Spirit of the East, awaken in us new hopes, new dreams; invigorate us to reach out and grasp the miracles that are given birth with each new dawn. may we not continue to live in darkness. We are grateful for these gifts, Creator God.

Spirit of God, present in the South, whence comes warmth, maturity, and growth, we greet You. We ask for the spirit of growth, of fertility, of gentleness. Give us seeds and rain that the flowers, trees, and fruits of the earth may grow. These are gifts offered to us from You, Creator God.

Spirit of the South, thaw and soften the coldness of our world. Draw us by the urgings of your warm breath to break through the soil of our own barrenness and fears. Give us the warmth of happy families and good friendships. We are grateful for Your gifts of food, Creator God.

Spirit of God, present in the West, home of the rain, purifying waters that sustain all living things, we greet You. We turn to You in praise of sunsets and in thanksgiving for the change of seasons. You give us a time to rest and recall with gladness all that has happened each day.

We greet you, Spirit of the West, for you cool our hot and tired bodies; refresh and bring laughter to our hearts. Guide us at the end of each day that, filled with your peace, we might rest securely in your great mystery of night until morning calls us forth again.

Spirit of God, present in the North, the place of cold and mighty winds, the white snows, teaching us strength and endurance, we greet You.

Teach us, Spirit of the North, in the solitude of winter, to wait in darkness with the sleeping earth, believing that we, like the earth, already hold within ourselves the seeds of new life. Help us to be faithful when the struggles of life are hard.

We greet You, Creator God, present in the heavens above where we receive darkness and light. You breathe into our nostrils the breath of life. You send us melody in the skies through Your winged creatures. The moon and stars influence the seasons of life, thereby insuring a balance harmony of all You have created.

We are grateful for these gifts, Creator God.

We greet You, Spirit God of the Earth. It is from You we came, as from a mother; You nourish us still and give us shelter.

For all the plant life and animal life, for nourishment provided for us by Mother Earth, we are grateful, Creator God. Teach us to use with care your gifts.

May we walk good paths, living on this earth as siblings should; rejoicing in one another’s blessing, living in harmony with all of Your creation and together with You, Creator God, always renewing the face of the earth. Amen.

Worship Resources

Additional Native American music and litanies can be found in Voices: Native American Hymns and Worship Resources (Nashville, TN: Discipleship Resources, 1992).

North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies videos posted on YouTube include discussions that can help a viewer understand Aboriginal culture.

The Story of the Algonquin: The Invisible Nation is a documentary film that tells the story of the Algonquin people in Quebec.

Gospel Resources for Native Americans


Educational Resources

These resources can help congregations

    • lift up the concerns of Native American/Aboriginal people

    • encourage deeper understanding and appreciation for the richness of Native American/Aboriginal culture

    • enrich their celebration of Native American/Aboriginal Awareness Month

Hand in Hand: Helping Children Celebrate Diversity (Second Edition) This curriculum for children was originally developed and written by a multicultural team of RCA authors. The second edition has been revised to meet the learning needs of a wider age group (K-6) as it continues to address vital issues related to diversity and unity in the church. Order from Faith Alive Christian Resources: (800) 333-8300 or; or download a sample lesson from the book in PDF form.

reForming Relationships, a cross-Canada art tour, is inspired by God’s call to live as people of reconciliation. Through a dynamic artwork series by Cree artist Ovide Bighetty and through tour events, reForming Relationships creates space for listening, learning, dialogue, and building relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

The Blanket Exercise is a tool to help people understand why reconciliation is needed between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada and how to take steps toward reconciliation and new relationships.


Join faith leaders in taking action to advance environmental justice

Contact the EPA
LimerickPowerPlantThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued it’s first-ever Climate Power Plan.  The plan would cut carbon pollution from power plants by requiring operators to identify and utilize the best and cheapest ways to reduce pollution, especially from fossil fuels.  While some states have taken aggressive action to curb power plant emissions, the EPA proposal would create new national standards that elevate all states to the same level.  Under the plan, the EPA estimates that by 2030, the country’s power operators would emit 30% less carbon pollution than they did in 2005.
The EPA is requesting comments from the public on the plan.  MCC is joining with other faith groups to encourage people to offer their support for this plan. While it is not all that seek in  advancing creation care and environmental justice, it is a huge step forward.  Sojourners has established a portal to send your support directly to the EPA.  You may also submit public comments through the EPA’s website. Please do so by October 16th.


Support the People’s Climate March

Activists have organized the largest-ever gathering of people marching for climate justice, to take place on Sunday, September 21, 2014 in New York City.  This march is being held in advance of the September 23rd UN Summit on Climate Change.  The UN summit seeks to build international agreement ways to reduce global warming.   If you are in the DC area, groups are providing transportation to the march:


  • People's Climate March_0The DC Sierra Club is organizing a one-day bus trip from Union Station in Washington, DC
  • Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light has organized buses and hotel rooms

On Friday, September 19th at the Metropolitan Community Church of New York, MCC Presiding Moderator Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson will give an address on why LGBTQI people of faith care about climate change, “A Queer Response to Climate Change.” She will be joined by activist and queer performance artist Peterson Toscano.


If you cannot participate in person in the march or hear Moderator Wilson’s address, here are actions you can take:

  • Join the Global Climate Chorus around the world on 21 September at 1:00 pm (local time), when faith communities will be making prayerful, sacred sounds outdoors
  • Add a section to the Climate Ribbon
  • Share your thoughts through social media:
    • Facebook comments and pictures should use #climatechorus
    • Twitter tag @ourvoices2015 and hashtag #climatechorus
    • Email your photos or videos to

.  The plan would cut carbon pollution produced by power plants by requiring operators to identify and utilize utilize the best and cheapest ways to reduce pollution, especially from fossil fuels.  While some states have taken aggressive action to curb power plant emissions, the EPA proposal would create new national standards that elevate all states to the same level. Under the plan, the EPA estimates that by 2030, the country’s power operators would emit 30% less carbon pollution than it did in 2005.  .

This action alert was prepared by the Public Policy Team of 

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.  

For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at

2014 LGBT History Month


2014 Fellowship Sunday Campaign


Make your donation online today!

Sign up now as a Pacesetter to take up a special offering for Fellowship Sunday. Email with your church name, location, pastor name, planned offering date, and commitment to pray.

We’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating: We are stronger together! One of the ways we connect and grow together is through our Networks. I want to thank all of the Pacesetter churches that have already signed up to participate in the Fellowship Sunday Offering, some of whom have already taken up this offering. We would love to add your church’s name to the list, and it’s not too late! Your support of Fellowship Sunday will go towards continuing to resource and empower our Networks to better serve you, which will, in turn, further our capacity to grow stronger together. And thank you to all of the churches that have also committed to pray for the health and vitality of our churches and Fellowship!

Nancy Wilson FS vid screenshot

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson says she believes Networks are the glue that will hold MCC together and help us live up to the vision of our Strategic Plan. In the past year, we have seen the Networks help MCC live out its Strategic Plan in the area of global outreach and visibility.

One example: Network Leader Jochen Gewecke recently led the first Europe Network gathering with participants from eight European countries, the U.S., and Puerto Rico. This included participants from emerging groups and churches in Portugal, Italy, Finland, and Sweden, all of whom benefited from leadership training, fellowship, and networking to grow their churches. The Europe Network is also working with emerging groups and churches from the Netherlands, Spain, Romania, and Lithuania to expand and strengthen MCC’s presence throughout Europe.

Sign up now as a Pacesetter to take up a special offering for Fellowship Sunday. Email with your church name, location, pastor name, planned offering date, and commitment to pray.




Rev. Tony Freeman

Director of the Office of Church Life and Health

Tony Freeman (2014)



as of 10 November 2014

aChurch4Me MCC
Chicago, Illinois, USA – Rev. Jennie Kitch, Pastor
All God’s Children MCC
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA – Rev. DeWayne Davis, Pastor
Cornerstone MCC
Mobile, Alabama, USA – Rev. Sandy O’Steen, Pastor
Exodus MCC
Abilene, Texas, USA – Rev. Margaret Walker, Pastor
FirstCoast MCC
St. Augustine, Florida, USA – Rev. Ruth Jensen-Forbell, Pastor
Founders MCC Los Angeles
California, USA – Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, Pastor
Heartland MCC
Springfield, Illinois, USA – Rev. Gina Durbin, Interim Pastor
King of Peace MCC
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA – Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis, Pastor
Living Springs MCC
Bath, England – Rev. Kieren Bourne, Pastor
MCC Amarillo
Texas, USA – Rev. Bernie Barbour, Pastor
MCC Baton Rouge
Louisiana, USA – Rev. Keith Mozingo, Pastor
MCC Boston
Massachusetts, USA – Open pulpit
MCC Brighton
UK – Open pulpit
MCC Brisbane
Australia – Rev. Dr. Leigh R Neighbour, Pastor
MCC Charleston
South Carolina, USA – Rev. Lorraine Brock, Pastor
MCC Detroit
Michigan, USA – Rev. Roland Stringfellow, Pastor
MCC Good Shepherd
Western Sydney, Australia – Rev. Robert Clark, Pastor
MCC Key West
Florida, USA – Rev. Steve Torrence, Pastor
MCC Louisville
Kentucky, USA – Rev. Colleen Foley, Pastor
MCC of Albuquerque
New Mexico, USA – Rev. Judith Maynard, Pastor
MCC of Greater Saint Louis
Missouri, USA – Rev. Wes Mullins, Pastor
MCC of Hartford
Connecticut, USA – Rev. Aaron Miller, Pastor
MCC of New Orleans
Louisiana, USA – Rev. Alisan Rowland, Pastor
MCC of Northern Virginia
Fairfax, Virginia, USA – Rev. Danny Spears, Pastor
MCC of the Coachella Valley
Cathedral City, California, USA – Rev. Clinton Crawshaw, Pastor
MCC of the Quad Cities
Davenport, Iowa, USA – Rev. Rich Hendricks, Pastor
MCC of the Spirit
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA – Rev. Lori Rivera, Pastor
MCC of Topeka
Kansas, USA – Open pulpit
MCC Portland
Oregon, USA – Rev. Nathan Meckley, Pastor
MCC San Diego
California, USA – Rev. Dan Koeshall, Pastor
MCC Winston-Salem
North Carolina, USA – Rev. Ron LaRocque, Pastor
New Creation MCC
Columbus, Ohio, USA – Rev. Margaret Hawk, Pastor
New Life MCC
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA – Rev. Dawn Flynn, Pastor
New Light MCC
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA – Rev. Kelly Crenshaw & Rev. Sherry Miller, Transitional Co-Pastors
New Spirit MCC
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA – Rev. Joy Simpson, Pastor
Northern Lights MCC
Newcastle, UK – Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, Pastor
Open Arms MCC
Pahoa, Hawaii, USA – Rev. Dr. William Knight
Open Circle MCC
Oxford, Florida, USA – Rev. Carol Chambers, Pastor
Open Door MCC
Boyds, Maryland, USA – Rev. Miller Jen Hoffman
Resurrection MCC
Houston, Texas, USA – Rev. Troy Treash, Pastor
River of Life MCC
Dorchester, UK – Rev. Catherine Dearlove, Pastor
River of Life MCC
Kennewick, Washington, USA – Rev. Janet Pierce, Pastor
Shenandoah Valley MCC
Winchester, Virginia, USA – Rev. Gail Minnick, Pastor
Spirit of Hope MCC
Kansas City, Missouri, USA – Rev. Dr. Carol Trissell, Interim Pastor
St. John the Apostle MCC
Fort Myers, Florida, USA – Rev. Steve Filizzi, Pastor
SunCoast Cathedral MCC
Venice, Florida, USA – Rev. Dr. Sherry Kennedy, Pastor
Trinity MCC of Gainesville
Florida, USA – Rev. Kathy Beasley, Gap Pastor


Virtual Lecture Series – Queering Theologies

globe Webinar



Dr. Nancy Wilson
“MCC and the Dialectics of Decency and
15 September 2014
8 :00 p.m. EDT

Dr. Edgard Francisco Danielsen-Morales
“Queering Relationships”
23 September 2014
8:00 p.m. EDT

Dr. Genilma Boehler
“The Gold Pot: a queer method for theology”
7 October 2014
8:00 p.m. EST

Dr. Genilma Boehler
“The Queer God”
21 October 2014
8:00 p.m. EST

Dr. Theodore Jennings
“Beyond Marriage: A theology and ethic
of promiscuity”
3 November 2014
8:00 p.m. EST
(English and Spanish)

Dr. Kelby Harrison
“God the Lobster? Transcending the Limits of Theological Reason”
17 November 2014
8:00 p.m. EST;

Dr. Luis N. Rivera Pagán
“Queering God: Freeing God from Androcentric Homophobia”
10 December 2014
8 :00 p.m. EST –Puerto Rico 9 :00 p.m.

Queering Theologies

The Darlene Garner Institute for Iberoamerican Leadership Formation of the Metropolitan Community Churches and the Theologies Team of the Metropolitan Community Churches have coordinated a series of webinars for 2014 in memory of Argentinian theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid.

The webinars will be virtual encounters with theologians with theological proposals from an intertextual and displacement hermeneutics that allow participants to look at authoritative discourses of Christian traditions from gender perspectives and from the bodies as spaces for theological thinking and pastoral practices.

Prestigious theologians will present seven webinars of queering God’s talk. Participants will be able to access a live conference or watch it at a later time online. Lectures will be offered in Spanish, Portuguese, and English; papers will be accessible online in the same languages.

Marcella-Althaus-Reid“I have said elsewhere that theology is a sexual act, and therefore to reflect on the theologian, her vocation, role and risks means to take seriously the changing geographies of Christian Kneelings, and confessionary movements, and how they relate to positions of affection in Christian theology. In this way queering who the theologian is, and what is her role and vocation is a reflection on locations, closely linked to the locale’s events and spaces made of our concrete and sensual actions.”

on The Queer God

Marcella Althaus–Reid


RevNancy15 September 2014

The Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson was elected to the position of Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) in 2005, following the retirement of the Founder of MCC, Rev. Elder Troy Perry, and in July 2010, she was re-elected for a term of six years. She is only the second person, and the first woman to serve in that role since the founding of Metropolitan Community Churches.

Rev. Wilson obtained her B.A. from Allegheny College, her M.Div. from St. Cyril and Methodius Seminary and is a D.Min. from Episcopal Divinity School.

Rev. Wilson has been the official delegate of MCC to the World Council of Churches General Assemblies in Canberra, Australia (1991); Harare, Zimbabwe (1998); and Porto Alegre, Brazil (2006). In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Rev. Wilson to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Following President Obama’s re-election in 2013, Rev. Wilson gave a Scripture reading at the Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and was the first openly gay clergy member to participate.

Rev. Wilson’s recent published works include Outing the Bible: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Christian Scriptures (LifeJourney Press, 2013); Outing the Church: 40 Years in the Queer Christian Movement (LifeJourney Press, 2013); and Nossa Tribo: Gays, Deus, Jesus e a Bíblia (Metanoia, 2012). Rev. Wilson has been honored with the first “Lazarus Award” from the Presbyterian Church and was invited to preach at the Earl Lectures at Pacific School of Religion in 2002.

In May 2014, Rev. Wilson was one of four honorees to be recognized Intersections International for her humanitarian work in the area of social justice. And in honor of International Women’s Day in 2014, HuffPost selected Rev. Wilson as one of 50 “powerful religious leaders…making change in the world.”

Rev.-Dr.-Edgard-Francisco-Danielsen-Morales23 September 2014

Rev. Dr. Edgard Francisco Danielsen-Morales is Associate Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in the city of New York (MCCNY). His responsibilities at MCCNY cover a diverse range of opportunities for the development of the life of the congregation.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he began his spiritual journey drawing on two traditions: Baptist and Disciples of Christ churches (charismatic). Because of his sexual orientation, the congregation withdrew him from lay ministry. However, his spiritual journey did not stop but continues through the ministerial work in other organizations and communities. He has served in various leadership positions in and outside of MCC.

With vast experience in academia, Rev. Danielsen-Morales has served as a professor and dean at the University of Puerto Rico. He is currently a candidate for a degree in psychoanalysis at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He offers psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in Theodor Reik Clinical Center, two organizations in the city of New York.

Genilma-Boehler7 & 21 October 2014

Genilma Boehler has a degree in Theology from the Methodist University of São Paulo (1985), MA in Dogmatic Theology with a major in Missiology from the University of Our Lady of Assumption, Paraguay (2001), and MA in Religious Studies at the Methodist University of São Paulo (2003). She also has a PhD in Theology from the Graduate School of Theology (EST) in São Leopoldo, RS (2010).

Dr. Boehler currently teaches at the Latin American Biblical University, San José Costa Rica. She has experience as a university professor in the area of Theology, Philosophy, Anthropology, Humanities, Feminism and Gender focus on the following subjects: Systematic Theology, Latin American Theology, Feminist Theology, Queer Theology, Theology and Literature.

Dr. Boehler has experience with higher education and e-learning, research and university extension. Along with teaching, she has worked in social movements in several areas including rights of original nations, women, human rights, and sexual diversity.

Dr.-Theodore-Jennings3 November 2014

Dr. Theodore Jennings is Professor of Biblical and Philosophical Theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary where he also started the program in Queer Studies in 1991. He has also taught at Emory University and at the Seminario Metodista de Mexico.

Dr. Jennings has written 20 books and scores of articles on liturgy, Bbible, theology and continental philosophy. Among those books there are four that deal with the relationship of the Bible to queer perspectives: The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament (2003, also translated into Korean and Spanish); Jacob’s Wound: Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel (2005); Plato or Paul: The Origin of Western Homophobia (2009) and most recently, An Ethic of Queer Sex: Principles and Improvisations (2014).

Dr. Jennings has lectured on homosexuality and Christian faith in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan. He has served as theological consultant to LGBT Solidarity in Human Rights in Korea and to Bisdak Pride in the Philippines. His work on Wesleyan theology has been published in Spanish and Portuguese.

In all of his work of teaching, writing, and lecturing, he is committed to the Gospel becoming good news for all who yearn for justice and generosity and joy and to exposing the powers of domination, division and death. In his early 70s he took up competitive running (including half marathons and a sprint triathalon) and enjoys figure drawing. He lives in Chicago with his wife of more than 40 years; they also share a home in Mexico.

Rev. Dr. Kelby Harrison

17 November 2014

Rev. Dr. Kelby Harrison was ordained as a minister with Metropolitan Community Church on 15 December 2013. After having completed her Ph.D. in Ethics, Gender and Sexuality from Northwestern University (2010); she was the post-doctoral fellow in Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, where she taught Christian ethics, philosophy of religion, and LGBT social ethics.

Rev. Harrison trained as a hospital chaplain at UCLA – Santa Monica Medical Center. Furthermore, she is the author of the book Sexual Deceit: The Ethics of Passing with Lexington Press and co-editor of the anthology, Passing/Out: Identity Veiled and Revealed with Ashgate Press.

Rev. Harrison is excited to participate in the theological future of MCC. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, and is the proud parent of two toy poodle pups: Anzu and Sakura.

Luis-N.-Rivera-Pagán10 December 2014

Luis N. Rivera Pagán is a retired professor of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, and Emeritus Professor of Ecumenical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey. However is difficult to imagine Dr. Pagán as a retired professor as he is continues to present at conferences and write academic papers.

Dr. Rivera-Pagán earned an M.Div. at Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico in 1966, S.T.M. (1967) and M.A. (1968) at Yale University. He earned his PhD in 1970, also at Yale, with the dissertation Unity and Truth: The Unity of God, Man, Jesus Christ, and the Church in Irenaeus, under Jaroslav Pelikan. Dr. Rivera-Pagán pursued post-doctoral studies at University of Tübingen, Germany.

During 1970 and 2003 Rivera-Pagán was Professor of Systematic Theology at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico and Professor of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico. Between 1999 and 2000, Rivera-Pagán was the John Alexander Mackay Visiting Professor on World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary. This position, held during his sabbatical year, led to his appointment in 2003 to the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary as the Henry Winters Luce Professor of Ecumenics and Mission. In June 2007 he retired with the status of Professor- emeritus.

Rivera-Pagán is a prolific author who wrote, co-authored, edited, and co-edited dozens of books, journal issues, chapters, articles, and reviews in books and journals.


To register for one or more lectures, follow this link:

For questions, please contact Rev. Ma


Bullying Prevention Awareness Month


Join with the International Bullying Prevention Association and Pacer in it advocacy for the cessation of bullying.

The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Traditionally held the first week in October, the event was expanded to include activities, education, and awareness building for the entire month.

The following resources provide additional information on bullying, electronic aggression, youth violence prevention, and safe schools.


Boston Public Schools Cyber Safety Campaign (All the resources on this website were developed entirely by students in the Boston Public Schools)
IKeepSafe (Faux Paw the web surfing cat)
Seattle MS Cyberbullying Curriculum
Cyberbullying Research Center
Bullying at School and Online

NetSmartz: NetSmartz Workshop is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline. The program is designed for children ages 5-17, parents and guardians, educators, and law enforcement. With resources such as videos, games, activity cards, and presentations.

Educational Development Center- Cyberbullying – Here you will find important information and tips for keeping children safe online, including how to teach digital citizenship—responsible and appropriate use of online media. Six interactive scenarios on this site will take you through different situations involving cyberbullying and digital citizenship, allowing you to hear real-life conversations between parents and youth, choose the paths they should take, and find the best outcomes.

bullyfreezoneNational Organizations and Bullying Resources

American School Counselor Association
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) See a Bully, Stop a Bully,Make a Difference Campaign
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Council on Chief State School Officers
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of Student Councils- Raising Student Voice and Participation Bullying Challenge (RSVP) Process
National Center for School Engagement
National Education Association- Bully-Free: It Starts with Me Campaign
National Parents and Teachers Association- Bullying: Connect for Respect
National School Boards Association- Families as Partners: Fostering Family Engagement for Healthy and Successful Students

Training – Webinars / Videos / Pecha Kuchas / Reports

Kognito Interactive
At-Risk for High School Educators: Identify and Refer Students in Mental Distress
“The 411 Bullying” Report from the Hamilton Fish Institute
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Free Webinars

Evidence-Based Program Databases

Blueprints Program Guidelines for cost-effective programs that meet the highest scientific standard of evidence for promoting youth behavior, education, emotional well-being, health, and positive relationships.
National Registry of Evidence-based Programs (NREPP)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention United States Department of Justice
Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Expert Panel United States Department of Education

Safe and Sound An Educational Leader’s Guide to Evidence-Based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
Bullying Programs , Curricula, Organizations

stopbullyingAnti-Defamation League Bullying Resources: Strategies and Resources for Educators

Bullying Prevention and Intervention Tips for Schools (PDF)
Ways to Address Bias and Bullying (PDF)
Misdirections in Bullying Prevention and Intervention
• Channing Bete
Bullying and Violence Prevention Resources
PATHS® (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) Program
• Character Education Partnership
Bullying Resources
Cable in the Classroom: A wide variety of cable TV programs, websites, and interactive multimedia is helping to spark imaginations, inspire creativity, and engage learners. And it’s all free, courtesy of the cable industry!
Cable in the Classroom Digital Citizenship: Digital Citizenship is a holistic and positive approach to helping children learn how to be safe and secure, as well as smart and effective participants in a digital world.
Cartoon Network- Stop Bullying: Speak Up Campaign

Early Childhood Bullying Prevention Bullying behaviors emerge in early childhood. All of us who interact with young children can take steps to teach them the skills they need to avoid bullying altogether. See a download guidance “Eyes on Bullying in Early Childhood”

Educational Development Center- Cyberbullying – Here you will find important information and tips for keeping children safe online, including how to teach digital citizenship—responsible and appropriate use of online media. Six interactive scenarios on this site will take you through different situations involving cyberbullying and digital citizenship, allowing you to hear real-life conversations between parents and youth, choose the paths they should take, and find the best outcomes.

Understanding the Roles of Early Education and Child Care Providers in Community-Wide Bullying Prevention Efforts (pdf)

Make Time to Listen-Take Time to Talk – Encourages parents and caregivers to spend at least 15 minutes a day listening and talking with their children to prevent youth violence. Provides interactive questions to start conversations with children about bullying and bullying prevention.

From Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. Parents can be role MODELS for your children
. Here is a guide for what we can all do to help keep our children “violence-free.” How you can Deal with Aggressive Behaviors. How to problem solve teasing that leads to intimidation, an example.

Thoughts from What to do if your pre-school child is being bullied.

nobulliesCenters For Disease Control (CDC)

Factsheet for Understanding Bullying
Youth Research and Bullying- What the research says
Uniform Defintions for Public Health
Measuring Bullying Victimization
Electronic Aggression Factsheet
Bullying and Sexual Violence
Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide
Bullying and Tourette’s Syndrome
Youth Violence
Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning
Bullying Resources
• Committee for Children
Second Step: Social and Emotional Skills for Early Learning
Second Step: Social and Emotional Skills for Kindergarten – Grade 5
Second Step: Middle School
Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program
Talking About Touching: A Personal Safety Program
Community Matters: Programs and services organized around a whole-school framework to improve school climate and reduce bullying related incidents.

Department of Education: Bullying Prevention Website

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Anti-bullying Resources
Ready, Set, Respect! – GLSEN’s Elementary School Toolkit
Kids Health: Educators Site Let’s Get Real: Young people tell their stories in their own words–and the results are heartbreaking, shocking, inspiring and poignant.

National School Climate Center – is an organization that helps schools integrate crucial social and emotional learning with academic instruction. In doing so, we enhance student performance, prevent drop outs, reduce physical violence, bullying, and develop healthy and positively engaged adults.

Olweus Bullying Prevention Programming Materials

Readiness Assessment
Core Components of the program
Definition of Bullying
The Bullying Circle

stopbullyingnowOlweus Bullying Prevention Supporting Materials – Curriculum

Class Meetings That Matter K-5
Class Meetings That Matter 6-8
Class Meetings That Matter 9-12
Cyberbullying Curriculum Grades 3-5
Cyberbullying Curriculum Grades 6-12
The Peaceful School Bus Program

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center

Educational Activities
Free Bullying Prevention Bookmarks
Information Handouts and Templates
Peer Advocacy
Sites for Teens and Kids

Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center Programs and services to address bullying from Dr. Elizabeth Englander are at this site.

Teaching Tolerance Thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools.

Understanding the Roles of School Administrators in Community-Wide Bullying Prevention Efforts (pdf) The National Center of Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) offers bullying prevention training toolkits filled with research-based, user friendly materials trainers can use for events and workshops. Each Training Toolkit includes a step-by-step facilitator’s guide, a customizable power point presentation, handouts, and feedback form. (see 3 toolkits School Buses, Classrooms and Dating Violence)
Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation’s School Buses
Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment in Our Nation’s Classrooms
Get Smart, Get Help, Get Safe- Preventing, Assessing, and Intervening in Teenage Dating Abuse – A Training for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel

Printable Resources

Electronic Aggression Brief Center for Disease Control

Bullying Fact Sheet Center for Disease Control

Facebook for Educators (PDF)
Facebook for School Counselors (PDF)
Facebook/Social Networking Guidance for Teachers (PDF)

Guidelines for Bullying Assemblies

Pennsylvania Bullying Prevention Toolkit: Resources for Parents, Educators and Professionals Serving Children, Youth and Families

Additional Federal or Partner Resources
Find Youth Info
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide



2014 Hispanic American Month

Hispanic Heritage Month Banner

The Office of Emerging Ministries is charged with edifying our congregations, spiritual communities and new works into inclusive communities. Towards that effort, one of my responsibilities is to provide our movement with resources and information regarding diverse non-dominant populations who are threads in the fabric of MCC. It is my belief that the more we know about other peoples and cultures, the less we fear them.Rev. Alejandro Escoto, Ministro para la Comunidad de Habla Hispana, La Iglesia Fundadora de la Comunidad Metropolitana Los Angeles, Minister of Spanish Speaking Ministries, Founder’s MCC,

  1. 9-Alejandro-Escoto1[1]When did you recognize your cultural heritage and sexual orientation? Feel free to share what that means/meant to you and how it influenced your growing up. I was raised in a culturally adherent and religious Mexican household and as such, there were clear distinctions between how men and women were to behave within the social and religious constructs. I did however, become aware of my sexual orientation at around the age of 5, although I did not have a full grasp or understanding of who I was until many years later. Part of the issues in respect to my sexuality was that being the first born male of my family, I had several social and cultural expectations that I had to abide by, which in defying them, went against the very core of my family. Additionally, I had no real positive gay role models that I could lean on so when I came out of the “closet” during High School, I battled with much confusion about who I was in within the context of family, culture and religion. The result was I came to believe that God has made a mistake with me and that I was a sin.
  2. When did you find MCC? Please feel free to share your introduction story to MCC. I attended MCC for the first time 1983 – I was 19 years old. JImmi “Papa” Irving was the individual who introduced to MCC. I still recall the marquis that read, “Jesus died for your sins, not your sexuality” – powerful then and I believe just as powerful now. Upon entering MCC, I felt overwhelmed and for many months, if not years, I cried, asking myself, “Could this be real?” “Could God really love me?” When I turned 21, I started to frequent the bars and I encountered yet another internal battle: my spirituality and the world around me that beckoned me – the result was giving in to many addictions. Ultimately, spirituality won over but not after a long arduous battle with myself and the God of my understanding. Additionally, I had to learn to forgive not only myself but also those who, by no fault of their own, had harmed me, because of the their own belief systems.
  3. How have you been able to weave into the fabric of MCC your cultural heritage, if you celebrate same, or how you would like to, if you have not been able to as of yet. Raised within a Mexican Roman Catholic Household, I was familiar with and comfortable with my Mexican culture however, I did stray from such beliefs as part of my growing pains. As I began to become more involved with MCC and subsequently, ICM, I started to honor my cultural heritage by becoming the worship leader and eventually, the Pastsor of the Spanish speaking service at Founders MCC Los Angeles – Iglesia Fundadora Metropolitana de la Comunidad Los Angeles. In honoring and celebrating my Mexican/Hispanic heritage, I honor such religious feasts such as “Day of the Dead” and “All Saints Day” in November, “Our Lady of Guadalupe” in December. And because ICM Fundadora Los Angeles is comprised of a variety of Hispanics from different parts of iberoamerica, we also also honor “El Cristo Negro de Esquipulas” (Guatemala) in January and “El Señor de los Milagros” (Peru) in October, to name a few.When asked why do I celebrate such religious feasts, I always respond by noting that as LGBT Hispanics, Our Blessed Mother was taken away from us and in honoring her feast day, we reclaim her as our Spiritual Mother. Additionally, she knows were are gay and like her son, she accepts us with open arms. In similar manner, when she accompanied her son to his cross, she also accompanies us while we die to old beliefs and are reborn in a spirit of acceptance, forgiveness and love. Such celebrations allow the cultural richness of Hispanic diversity to be expressed not only through color but also language and music.
  4. Is there a piece of poetry, prose, pictures, music that you would like to share with MCC that worship communities may incorporate into the life of their worship? If so, please provide it for the resource by attaching it or sending a link to it or where I can obtain it. La Iglesia Fundadora de la Comunidad Metropolitana Los Angeles is broadcast weekly live at 130pm on Sundays via ; I invite pastors and lay leaders who are thinking about reaching out to or expanding to the Hispanic Community to watch our services. Our service is an example of what can happen at any MCC that is seeking broaden it’s call.
  5. Are there any resources you recommend that MCC read/listen to, etc. in order to broaden our cultural understanding of your cultural heritage? The Office of Emerging Ministries has a wealth of resources as does La Iglesia Fundadora de la Comunidad Metropolitana Los Angeles. Feel free to email me for information.
Liturgy For The Celebration Of  Our Lady Of Guadalupe
Liturgy For The Celebration Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe
Liturgy for the Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe.docx
Date Updated: 2 September 2014

Celebración de la Cultura

Educators tell us that they strive to immerse their students in meaningful learning experiences that live well beyond knowledge of the subject. Hispanic Heritage Month provides plenty of meaningful opportunities to connect learning to the world we live in. Since 1968, Americans have annually celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15, though originally only for a week (until 1988). Significantly, this period coincides with Independence days for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile, as well as Columbus Day. This celebration recognizes the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens who come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

For inspiration, check out Latino Americans, a new three-part, six-hour documentary series on PBS, a first-of-its-kind to chronicle the rich and complex history of Latin Americans and their role shaping the United States over the last 500 years. Consider perusing the federal website for teachers offering a collection of related primary sources, lesson plans, research aids, and student activities from federal agencies. Smithsonian Education also hosts a dedicated webpage for Hispanic Heritage Month, including resources for teachers.

Carnival Celebrations

carnival mask photo credit Smithsonian

Students are introduced to the culture of Puerto Rico in this look at the annual Carnival—or, more specifically, at the masks worn by the revelers. This set of four lessons is divided into grades K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12. The youngest students build their vocabulary by describing the masks. Older students do research on similar Carnival celebrations around the U.S.

flagsphoto credit

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts on Sept. 15 and ends on Oct. 15, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite articles and resources in The Times that celebrate the contributions and cultures of Hispanic-Americans.
In curating our selection, we tried to emphasize both the famous alongside the not-so-famous. We were excited when we discovered inspiring neighborhood stories as much as coverage of nationally recognized leaders. So, below you will find both Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s seminal lecture “A Latina Judge’s Voice” and a video about what it means to be Garifuna in the United States.
Our intention is to help show, in ways large and small, how Hispanic-Americans have helped shape the United States and make it into the diverse and dynamic nation it is today.


Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

book listphoto credit beck center

1. Learn about famous Hispanic or Latino Americans. Research notable figures, past and present, and write short biographies or create visual presentations about their accomplishments, like a Glog. For inspiration, here is a short list of some important people covered in Times reporting:

Or for fun, students can challenge themselves with our Hispanic Heritage Crossword.

2. Explore cuisine or, better yet, prepare a meal. Check out one or more of the following New York Times sources to discover how Hispanic-Americans are helping to redefine what meals look like in the United States. You may even be inspired to plan and serve food together as a class.

3. Examine the diversity of Hispanic identity. What does it mean to be Hispanic? When it comes to identity, how do culture, ethnicity and race intersect? How are Hispanics portrayed and perceived in mass media? You might also reflect on your own heritage or examine why ethnic and racial categories, like Hispanic, are rejected by some. Below is a video about Garifunas, who are part African, part Caribbean and part Central American.

dailypaintersPicture credit daily painters

4. Travel to Latin America or your local Latino neighborhood. Research and create a travel itinerary that focuses on Hispanic heritage sites in your local community or elsewhere. Use New York Times Travel sources, Latin America Through a Lens and Miami: Hispanic Heritage Tour as your inspiration.

5. See Hispanic-American art. Watch the slide show from the Museo del Barrio’s “Testimonios: 100 Years of Popular Expression” exhibit or “Quiet Riot | The Art of Wilfredo Prieto.” Or read Rescuing the Stories Behind Latino Art, an article about a Houston museum’s creation of a digital archive to preserve the stories behind Latin American and Latino art. Or, get involved in the debate about whether there should be a National Latino Museum on the National Mall.

manyculturesonecommunityphoto credit smithsonian

6. Read literature by Hispanic-American writers. As a class, in book groups or independently, students can read works by Latino authors, like Isabel Allende, Sandra Cisneros and Oscar Hijuelos. In response to the literature, students can write their own book reviews, modeled after Times reviews, like this recent review of Junot Diaz’s latest short story collection, “This Is How You Lose Her.”


7. Listen to Latin music. Play music from South America, Central America and the Caribbean, and have students listen closely to the sounds they hear. Ask students, what emotions does the music evoke? How would they describe the rhythm, instruments and vocals? Then, follow with a discussion about how Latin music is influencing music all across the United States. Some related Times resources that can help enrich the discussion are:

8. View and discuss photography about the experience of Hispanic-Americans. Learn how one artist uses his work to explore Puerto Rican cultural identity. Or, view “Life on Both Sides of the Border,” a series of photographs about life for Mexicans on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, by Joseph Rodriguez.

9. Study how Latinos are reshaping the political landscape. Read any combination of the following New York Times resources and write expository essays on the shifting electorate and role of Latino voters.

for teachers

10. Or, follow your own interests. Have students learn more about the role of Hispanic-Americans using any of the resources above, Times Topics on Hispanic Americans or from additional subject areas below:








Prayers for Spanish Heritage Month

Oración para la Celebración del Mes de la Herencia Hispana

Dios Creador,
Te agradecemos por nuestra maravillosa diversidad, por nuestras culturas, nuestras tradiciones, nuestras lenguas, por todas las formas en que celebramos nuestra humanidad y adoramos tu divinidad. Valoramos a todas las gentes y es por esto que hoy celebramos el Mes de la Herencia Hispana. Que siempre recordemos en nuestras congregaciones el liderato, los maestros, las maestras, los teólogos y las teólogas que han sido parte de nuestra fe cristiana. Que siempre podamos escuchar las diversas voces que hablan de Tu amor, de Tu paz y de Tu justicia para todas las personas. Guíanos en nuevos caminos de entendimiento para que podamos construir una iglesia más inclusiva. En sus muchos nombres que oramos, Amén.

Prayer for Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Creator God,
We thank You for our wondrous diversity, for our cultures, traditions and languages, for all the ways we celebrate our humanity and praise Your divinity. We value all peoples, and in this time, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. May we remember in our churches the leaders, teachers, and theologians that have been part of our Christian faith tradition. May we continue to hear from diverse voices that speak the truth of God’s love, peace and justice for all peoples. Guide us in ways of new understandings to build a more inclusive church. In your many names, we pray. Amen.

Litany of a servant people – For Hispanic Heritage Month
By Rev. J. Manny Santiago, M.Div.

From north to south,

We come as one people to worship.

From east to west,

We come as one people to worship.

From every corner of the globe,

We come as one people to worship.

You called us to witness your love in this place,

We come as one people to worship.

You called us to build a new nation,

We come as one people to worship.

You called us to reconciliation,

We come as one people to worship.

You called us to create a new generation,

We come as one people to worship.

God created us and gave us the breath of life,

Blessed be God who called us to serve!

Christ called us and offers us newness of life,

Blessed be God who called us to serve!

The Spirit of Justice guides us in life,

Blessed be God who called us to serve!

For we are a joyous people,

We celebrate the presence of God in our midst.

For we are a hard-working people,

We celebrate the presence of God in our midst.

For we are a people with a call,

We celebrate the presence of God in our midst.

For we are a people who will never surrender,

We celebrate the presence of God in our midst.

For the presence of God is with this wandering and confessing people,

We celebrate the presence of God in our midst.

God Creator offers life abundant to God’s own people!


God Redeemer walks by our side!


God Sustainer labors with us!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Letanía de un pueblo siervo de Dios
Por: Rev. J. Manny Santiago, MDiv

Desde el norte hasta el sur,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Desde el este hasta el oeste,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Desde cada rincón de la Tierra,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Nos llamaste a testificar de tu amor en este lugar,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Nos llamaste a construir una nueva nación,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Nos llamaste a reconciliarnos,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Nos llamaste a crear una nueva generación,

Venimos como pueblo a adorarte.

Dios nos creó y nos dio aliento de vida,

Alabamos al Dios que nos ha llamado a servirle.

Cristo nos llamó y nos ofrece vida eterna,

Alabamos al Dios que nos ha llamado a servirle.

El Espíritu de Justicia nos guía,

Alabamos al Dios que nos ha llamado a servirle.

Porque somos un pueblo jubiloso,

Celebramos la presencia de Dios en medio nuestro.

Porque somos un pueblo trabajador,

Celebramos la presencia de Dios en medio nuestro.

Porque somos un pueblo llamado,

Celebramos la presencia de Dios en medio nuestro.

Porque somos un pueblo que no se rinde,

Celebramos la presencia de Dios en medio nuestro.

Porque somos un pueblo que lucha,

Celebramos la presencia de Dios en medio nuestro.

Porque la presencia de Dios está con este pueblo caminante y confesante,

Celebramos la presencia de Dios en medio nuestro.

¡Dios Creador ofrece vida a su pueblo!


¡Dios Redentor camina con su pueblo!


¡Dios Sustentado trabaja con su pueblo!

¡Aleluya! ¡Aleluya! ¡Aleluya!

Educational Digital Resources For 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month for your Children and Youth Ministry

¡Explore la historia y la cultura hispana! Use these featured resources to help your students deepen their appreciation for Hispanic history & culture while building their Spanish language skills:

Grades 3-6 | Media Gallery | Music
Invite students to explore the roots of salsa music with Chuck Vanderchuck as he investigates the instruments and rhythms that characterize this genre.

SciGirls en Español
Grades 4-6 | Video | Bilingual Activity
Use this bilingual activity to encourage classroom discussion around glaciers and the factors that cause them to melt.

What’s in a Name?
Grades 4-13+ | Lesson Plan | Hispanic History
Do your students know where states like California, Nevada, and Montana got their names? Use this lesson to introduce students to the story behind these – and other – North American states.

Digging at the Roots of Your Family Tree
Grades 4-13+ | Lesson Plan | Genealogy
In this activity, students reflect on their own ancestry by completing a family tree. Materials for this lesson are drawn from PBS’ newLatino Americans series.

Rebel: Loreta Velazquez
Grades 6-12 | Media Gallery | Women in History
Using the story of Loreta Velazquez, challenge students to consider how factors like gender and race have impacted their understanding of history.

Revolutionary Art
Grades 9-12 | Video | Visual Art and History
Explore the Mexican Muralist Movement with your high school students using this video segment from “The Storm that Swept Mexico.


Conference and Meeting Coordinator – UFMCC

Job Title: Conference and Meeting Coordinator
Department: Operations
Reports To: Director of Operations, Barbara Crabtree
FLSA Status: Exempt
Prepared By Barbara Crabtree
Prepared Date: 13 August 2014
Approved By: Barbara Crabtree
Job Duties, Responsibilities, Qualifications, and Requirements
Job Summary The Conference and Meeting Coordinator will develop, oversee, and implement MCC General Conference as well as other meetings, events and conferences.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • Plan and oversee the program for General Conference or other conferences/meetings, in accordance with MCC’s mission and goals.
  • Lead implementation of overall plans for General Conference or other conferences/meetings. Monitor progress, assure goals are met.
  • Oversee all conference logistics, including site selection and conference location logistics.
  • Oversee financial management of conferences/meetings, including budget development and planning according to MCC’s established policies and standards. Continually monitor the event’s finances and achieve budget and financial goals. Work closely with MCC’s Accounting Manager to track expenditures and report status.
  • Development and implement marketing, public relations and communications strategies to support goals and increase awareness among MCC adherents, partner organizations, and local community.
  • Ensure database(s) maintenance which include(s) participant information and mailing list.
  • Organize and establish meetings on regular basis with volunteers or other designated individuals to foster positive relationships and equip the volunteers or staff to carry out their responsibilities for the conference/meeting.
Marginal Duties Other MCC Staff duties may also be assigned, time and workload permitting.
Supervisory Responsibilities No supervision, but significant amounts of volunteer coordination is required.
 Qualifications – To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
Education And/Or Experience Bachelor’s degree or higher with education or experience in event planning, hospitality, and/or project management.In addition, the candidate must be a skilled user of computers for:

  • Word processing
  • Simple spreadsheets
  • PowerPoint
  • Email
  • Internet applications
  • Communication (i.e. Skype, Adobe Connect)
  • Social media
  • Databases
Written, Verbal, Interpersonal  Communication, Mathematical, and Reasoning Ability
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as conference reports and basic financial reports. Ability to create project plans, communicate them and manage them through execution. Ability to review and edit reports, including grammar and punctuation.
  • Generate correspondence according to needs of the job.
  • Effective verbal communications ability, interaction with clergy, congregants, MCC staff members, office directors, elders, members of the Governing Board, and donors and volunteers.
  • Ability to arrange travel by comparing options and making arrangements that meet the needs of the traveler while meeting budget.
  • Ability to independently organize time and meet job deadlines. Ability to assist team leaders and team members in meeting deadlines.
  • Ability to solve practical problems and follow instructions in revising documents to improve or update products produced in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form.
  • Ability to effectively communicate in an office environment in which much interaction occurs through phone, email, messaging, Skype, and virtual meetings.
 Physical Demands The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.While performing the duties of this job, the employee will need to complete the majority of tasks on a computer (PC or Mac), including reading typed and handwritten notes, receive email and messages, access Microsoft Office software (software provided), Facebook, Skype, Adobe Connect, and Google Drive. The employee will also need to be able to access internet in a home office. The employee will need to communicate with the Director of Operations and others as needed by cell phone, email, and other systems of communications as needed (i.e. Skype).
Work Environment The employee will work from a home office for the majority of the hours each week. Some travel is required, including international travel.  All travel will be planned and coordinated with the Director of Operations.
Skills Required
  • Strong and polished interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
  • Creativity, strategic and analytical thinking, with proven ability to manage multiple projects.
  • Developing and managing budgets
  • Recruiting, training, and leading volunteers.
  • Highly organized and able to work well with others
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office and Windows based computer application
  • Fluent in written and spoken English
  • Proficiency in additional languages is strongly preferred, specifically Spanish, Portuguese or German.
  • Effective use of Social Media in business applications
  • Marketing expertise is strongly preferred
Desirable Skills
  • Knowledge of MCC
  • Experience with MCC General Conference is a plus
Personal Characteristics
  • Leadership
  • Judgment and Ethics
  • High integrity
  • Team Player
  • Organized
  • Detail-oriented
  • Problem-solver
  • Creativity/Innovation
  • Oral and Written communications skills
  • Flexibility, including the ability to wear different ‘hats’
Other Important Information
  • Full-time, 37.5 hours/week, eligible for benefits based on the MCC Employee handbook
  • Location: home office, with occasional in-person meetings at the MCC Office in Sarasota, Florida
  • Relocation package is not available
  • Response needed by: August 29th, 2014
  • Please submit resume and cover letter to: Janine McCarthy