September 2, 1925 – September 22, 2015
“Father McNeill remained steadfast and clear in his faith. He was a joyous lover, friend, and compassionate teacher and counselor.”
Father John J. McNeill, renowned Catholic and author of The Church and the Homosexual, died September 22, 2015, with his partner of 45 years at his bedside.
“It does not feel like an accident that Father John McNeill died this week during the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States,” said Global MCC Moderator Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “Forty of Father McNeil’s 90 years, four decades were dedicated to being a Jesuit priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis is also a Jesuit.
“The Jesuits are renowned for their scholarly rigor and compassionate leadership. It was this scholarly and compassionate approach that shone forth when Father McNeill published The Church and the Homosexual in 1976. He gave hope and healing to a generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Catholics who struggled to reconcile faith and sexuality.
“It is amazing how much hope Pope Francis gave to the LGBTQ world when he simply asked, ‘Who am I to judge?’ Today, the Pope could say to LGBTQ Roman Catholics, and to those who knew and loved Father McNeill, ‘I grieve with you.'”
John McNeill fought the good fight. Ordained a Jesuit priest in 1959, he began to minister to gay and lesbian Catholics in the 1970s and helped birth DignityUSA in 1974. His 1976 book, The Church and the Homosexual, gave the movement great hope. After a whirlwind of public engagements, including coming out on the TODAY show, the Vatican silenced him. He obeyed the public silence for nine years, but kept up his ministry of counseling and retreats. This was not enough for Cardinal Ratzinger; he ordered Father McNeill to stop all ministry to LGBTQ people. When he refused, John McNeill was expelled from his beloved Jesuit community.
“Despite this persecution, he remained steadfast and clear in his faith,” Dr. Wilson said. “He was a joyous lover, friend, and compassionate teacher and counselor.
“I met Father McNeill in 1974, as he was founding DignityUSA in New York. I followed his writings and was interviewed for Brendan Fay’s video biography,Taking a Chance on God. Father McNeill was the most gentle and pastoral of prophets.
“At Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church, I often worshipped with John and his beloved Charlie Chiarelli. Besides the God who created him, he loved Charlie most of all. Their profound witness changed the church and the world.
“John was personally encouraging to me as both a pastor and Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. Like many Roman Catholics and the faithful from all denominations, MCC became home for John and Charlie – the place that will not turn you away. He had a profound ecumenical spirit and gave his all to our movement.
“When I first heard the news that John was in hospice care, I remembered that it took 350 Years for the Vatican to admit Galileo was right, the Earth does orbit the Sun. Will it take 350 years for the Vatican to admit Father John McNeill was right, that God loves LGBTQ people? I hope not.
“We lost a great leader this week, when Father John McNeil went to God, but we had him for a lifetime and his life made a difference. He will never be forgotten,” Dr. Wilson said.
Gifts in honor of Father John McNeill can be sent to Sunshine Cathedral MCC for the John J. McNeill Legacy Fund.
Pope Francis, when you arrived for the first time in the United States, it was my privilege to be among the throngs of people welcoming you to our home. It was so gratifying to know you would be visiting a prison, and addressing the U.S. Congress, and the United Nations on Climate Care. Your challenges to people of faith to address the needs of the poor inspire me to say YES to you as a Pope of the people.
Your encyclical, LAUDATO SI’: On Care for Our Common Home, will help the world of faith and civil society face our climate crisis caused by human beings. Your passionate insistence on facing the facts, with faith and courage, is truly a miracle of our time. Your work to galvanize people of all faiths to shift away from a fossil fuel dependent world could literally save us.
Read the full article on Huffington Post.
to become a Pacesetter Church.
Today in the Philippines, there are three MCC churches and one Emerging Church. More people are saying “Yes” with three MCCers in seminary right now, each with a vision for creating new churches in the very near future.
Also, in Helsinki, Finland, Tarja and Tuula, love the Vision, Mission and Core Values ofMCC. Both has extensive experience in ministry and Tarja is completing her steps to become MCC Clergy. Today they are working to form the first MCC church in Finland. They are translating, networking, and starting small group meetings.
Here is how you support MCC Emerging Ministries and say “Yes” to NEW MCC Churches!
New spiritual leaders are discovering MCC, receiving training, and stepping out in faith to start an MCC Emerging Church.
Grace and Peace,
DATE: 21 September 2015
MCC Moderator Speaks to Vatican Discomfort with Gay Bishop
and Activist Nun at the White House Welcome for the Pope
Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, spoke out in response to a “senior Vatican official” who said the Vatican was urging the White House to disinvite openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson and “Nuns on the Bus” leader, Sister Simone Campbell, from the event to welcome the Pope at the White House on Wednesday morning.
According to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed “senior Vatican official” said the White House should disinvite Bishop Robinson and Sister Simone because they might seek a photo op with Pope Francis that would imply approval of LGBTQ people or nuns who seek more leadership roles for women.
“As one of the LGBTQ faith leaders who will be at the White House on Wednesday morning to welcome the Pope, I want to let the Vatican and the world know that we will be present to offer hospitality and respect to Pope Francis,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC.
“Will we be pushing our way to the front? Perhaps we should. In the Bible, the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment was a social outcast who fought for her moment with Jesus. Although we know that the Pope is not Jesus, we know a word from Pope Francis about the right to life for LGBTQ people in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the USA could reduce hate, and save so many lives.
“As the Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, I speak for LGBTQ people around the world who are literally dying for the Pope to take the next step after his ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement and say, ‘LGBTQ people are created in the image of God and deserve to live without fear of prison, persecution, or execution.'”
|Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez|
Every day people are asking how they can Become MCC!
In May, a delegation from MCC visited Cuba for the first time. While there, Rev. Elders Troy Perry, Mona West, and Héctor Gutiérrez discovered allies and open doors. Just a few weeks ago, Rev. Gutiérrez completed a second visit to Cuba. He led a two-day retreat with 20 people outside of the city of Matanzas for Holy Conversations, with an emphasis on Spirituality and Sexuality.
Reflecting on the retreat, Rev. Gutiérrez said, “For many of them, it was like coming out of the closet. They were able to talk about God and Jesus from a perspective that was much more liberating and personal. With each story, each God moment, it was more clear for them the correct decision to take was to be MCC.”
Today we are so proud to announce there are three groups now forming to Become an MCC Emerging Church in the following Cuban cities: Matanzes, Santa Clara, and Cardenas. Please keep these cities and the leaders of these new groups in your prayers.
MCC 47th Anniversary Celebration.
to become a Pacesetter Church.
Prepare for this special celebration with wide variety of resources to share both in worship, on your church website, and in social media.
Grace and Peace,
DATE: September 21, 2015
During Washington D.C. visit, Pope Francis will be welcomed by religious and community leaders at a ceremony at the White house on Tuesday morning, including the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. Dr. Wilson then joins other national religious leaders who are part of “Blessed Tomorrow” to work on Climate Care and to build on Pope Francis’ Encyclical.
Wednesday, September 23, 8:15am – White House Reception
Thursday, September 24, 7:30 RSVP – National Cathedral DC Worship Service
Friday, September 25, 8:30 – 11:30am ET:
Religious leaders meet on climate care and to hear Pope’s UN Remarks
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and a host of prominent religious and community leaders
“The Pope and I agree on so much-mercy, forgiveness, care for the poor and climate care,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. “When it comes to his views where we disagree, like acceptance of LGBT people, women’s ordination, and women’s birth choices, perhaps I can borrow a line from him, ‘Who am I to judge?’ In the meantime, we will urge the Pope and the Vatican to catch up to Catholics in the pews who are more progressive than their leaders.”
September 23 – White house (red entrance)
September 24-25 – National Cathedral – 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC