As we reflect on nearly 50 years of MCC Ministry, I invite you to reflect on how we all participate in building God’s vision for the world. Your generosity allows MCC to impact and transform the lives of those in our communities and beyond.
We are thankful for everything you do for the church, and simply put, without your kindness and generosity we could not be part of the work God has given us to do. It is that time when I ask once again for your prayers and consideration of our Anniversary Sunday. These funds help support the programs and ministries of our church.
We have set a lofty goal of $250,000 to go towards Emerging Ministries and other vital MCC programs. The Anniversary Sunday campaign is one integral component of reaching this goal over the course of the upcoming year. I know that by working hand in hand, we can and will succeed!
Grace and Peace,
Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, spoke out today in response to the secret meeting between the Pope and Kim Davis, the county clerk who denied marriage licenses in defiance of a ruling by the Supreme Court for equality under the law for all couples.
“As an LGBTQ faith leader who was at the White House last week to welcome the Pope, I am so disappointed and incredulous,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC. “We politely urged Pope Francis to say out loud that LGBTQ people in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the USA have a right to life. Instead, in a secret meeting with Kim Davis, that is now public, he encouraged a woman who symbolizes contempt for the human and spiritual rights of LGBTQ people in this country.”
“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.'”
“Pope Francis, we so appreciate your advocacy for the poor. We are poor. We love your stand on climate care. We care! But, Pope Francis, do you care about LGBTQ lives? We are dying to know.”
The New Republic headline declared, “Pope Francis Won’t Save the Planet.” Maybe not, but we can! It is time to stop unchecked climate change. The life you save could be your own.
Pope Francis may be the best known and the most beloved planetary leader ever. His flock is over one billion strong, and they represent about half of all Christians. Catholics and Protestants alike are inspired by his dedication to the poor, and belief in the full humanity of prisoners and immigrants. His outspoken encyclical on climate care, his willingness to meet with sex-abuse victims, and to clean up the Vatican bank are all historic expressions of accountability as well as compassion.
The trip to the United States by the Pope is timed perfectly for a lead-up to the United Nations Sustainable Development meeting, which is considering a plan to eliminate hunger and poverty in 15 years. We can do it if we choose. But will we?
Climate is central to any such efforts. Sea levels are rising, violent storms are increasing, and poor people are literally at the brink of being swept away. Even middle class survivors of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina will tell you that everything you own can be swept away in a day, and you awaken to face poverty and homelessness.
The Pope is awake. A Reuters article in July quoted Pope Francis who said, “Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.”
Churches and institutions of higher education are beginning to take this moral imperative seriously. There are people of good will who are making changes, and there are decent people whose highest priority is to protect investment portfolios–not the planet.
Fossil fuel investments do not look good on their own merits. The signs are everywhere if you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Carmakers are shifting to plug-in cars as fast as they can create them. Oil companies have been drilling fast and furious, and decimating communities with impunity with a boom-and-bust mentality in places like the Dakotas. Today, with plummeting prices, it’s time to get out of oil and coal.
Right now, there is a growing movement of universities and religious institutions todivest from fossil fuel. In denominational settings, the arguments against fossil fuel divestment echo the arguments against divesting from South Africa at the height of Apartheid: “You will hurt the people who are most vulnerable.” “We need to stay invested so we can be at the table to change policies.” “You don’t know enough about investing to tell us how to invest.”
Today, personal choices about energy use and energy investments have a political impact. Our choices impact our neighbors; they impact the world.
A church colleague of mine announced on Facebook recently, “I am off the grid!” Did it cost money? Sure! It was an investment–a good one. Between solar panels and a plug-in car, one person divested herself in major ways from fossil fuels. You can be sure she will support legislation in her denomination to divest.
As the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, I have asked our Creation Care Team to urge our members and congregations to commit to the Paris Pledge, and reduce their carbon emissions 50 percent by the year 2030. If the world makes this pledge, we can keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius and avoid tragic environmental consequences.
May we stand together with faith communities around the globe to practice what we preach. We also need to CHANGE what we preach.
In his papal encyclical, “On Care For Our Common Home,” Pope Francis upends the belief that people can exploit, decimate, and despoil our environment based on Genesis 1:28, where God gave humankind dominion over the earth and all creatures.Dominion thinking gave birth to movements that idolize unrestricted use of private property and melds American nationalism with beliefs that Christians will rule the world.
Pope Francis’ challenge to dominion thinking is grounded in scripture, as well. In the introduction of the encyclical, he repeatedly quotes his predecessor pontiffs to remind readers that many Popes and saints expressed love for God’s earth. In the section on dominion, Pope Francis quotes no one but scripture and breaks new ground. This is a new interpretation, a life-saving interpretation. The excerpt from paragraph 67 of thepapal encyclical, “On Care for Our Common Home,” says:
“We are not God. … We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. …Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. …God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: ‘The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me.’ (Leviticus 25:23)”
When I read this dramatic shift in understanding our place in creation, I realize there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Blessed Tomorrow is a coalition of faith leaders who are working with the congregations and with national leaders to mobilize all people of faith to address climate change.
Those of us in the United States have a bigger responsibility. We represent 5 percent of the world’s population, and we use 25 percent of the world’s energy. How do we reduce our consumption by 50 percent? Here are 50 ideas, and here is a Blessed Tomorrow Action Workbook for congregations.
What you do every day makes a difference. How you drive, the settings on your water heater, how you wash and dry your clothes, all make a difference. Most importantly, how you think makes a difference. If you think you do not matter, you are part of the problem. If you shift your thinking to “everything counts,” you will know that every act of conservation–a light turned out, less aggressive driving, added insulation–reduces energy consumption.
The time is now. It is the only moment we have. Pope Francis is using his moment to help the world come to its senses. How about you?
Third Sunday of Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-20, Luke 3:14-20
Second Sunday of Advent
Baruch 1:5-9, Luke 1:68-79
First Sunday of Advent.
Jeremiah 33,14-16, Luke 21:25-36
The Office of Church Life and Health is very pleased to be able to offer some Advent Worship Resources for the upcoming Advent season starting November 29, 2015, as well as links to additional resources for other Holy Days occurring near or during Advent, including Transgender Day of Remembrance, World AIDS Day, Blue Christmas, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Kwanzaa.
Our theme this year is These Are the Days…
In this time of strife and struggle so prevalent in our world, when the very lives and dignity of people are so often threatened by the systems of oppression in the world, what does it mean for us who claim the Advent of the Christ Child?
How are we to respond faithfully to the ways that the presence of Christ is coming, has come, and is changing the world?
How can we not simply proclaim, but participate in the coming of Christ who is already at work in the world, working most often in the least likely way in the least likely people?
This Advent, we recognize These Are the Days… to:
For each Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve, a
is provided for each congregation to use and adapt.
La Oficina de Vida y Salud de la Iglesia, se complace en poder ofrecer los Recursos para los servicios litúrgicos del Adviento para el tiempo de Adviento que inicia el 29 de noviembre de 2015. Tenemos la intención de tener una base de datos con recursos litúrgicos para las celebraciones especiales como Día Mundial del Sida, Día de la Memoria Transgénero; si ustedes tienen liturgias para celebrar dichas memorias les pedimos que las compartan con nosotros.
Nuestro tema este año es Estos son los días…
En este tiempo de complicaciones y luchas tan frecuentes en nuestro mundo, cuando la propia vida y a dignidad de las personas están tan a menudo amenazadas por los sistemas de opresión del mundo, ¿qué significa para nosotras, como personas creyentes, el afirmar el advenimiento del Niño Jesús?
¿Cómo vamos a responder con fidelidad a las formas en que la presencia de Dios se acerca, ha llegado y está cambiando el mundo?
¿Cómo podemos no solo proclamar, sino participar en la venida de Cristo, en que Dios está obrando en el mundo, trabajando con mayor frecuencia en la forma menos probable con las personas más marginadas?
¿Cómo podemos no solo tener la experiencia, sino movernos con, el Espíritu de Dios para vivir más plenamente en el reino que es la Comunidad Amada, donde existe más que espacio suficiente, libertad, igualdad y justicia para todas las personas?
Este Adviento, reconocemos que Estos son los días... para:
Para cada Domingo de Adviento y la Noche Buena, una
Son ofrecidos para que cada congregación los utilice y los adapte.
Estos recursos fueron posibles gracias al esfuerzo y dedicación incansable del equipo formado por Rev. Wanda Floyd, Jeremiah Cummings, Janine McCarthy, Rev. Tania Guzman, y Rev. Pressley Sutherland, con ayuda adicional de Rev. Miller Hoffman, Rev. Angel Collie, y Rev. Vickey Gibbs. ¡Apreciamos mucho su disponibilidad a compartir sus cualidades!
We will be linking our prayer time each week to an action:
· 6th Smartie tubes to save for Toilet twinning (Smarites are a type of sweet in the UK. They come in a cardboard tube, which is great for collecting coins in. We aim to raise enough over the month, to twin at least one toilet in the church building – http://www.toilettwinning.org/
· 13th – Ideas for using less water or less fuel/energy
· 20th – Go for a walk in a green space and appreciate your environment. Take a carrier bag along with you and pick up litter
27th – Harvest collection for the People’s Kitchen and return of the Smartie tubes
Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston
In French we say “Mais Oui” (Yes!) and in English “May WE”
Throughout our history, Metropolitan Community Church has made a stand and courageously led on issues of our times, in particular those around social justice. It is that time again.
Climate change has already had a devastating impact on communities around the world, with dire effects on nature and creation, our siblings and neighbor. It is time to be the ‘good stewards’ that God has called us to be and to care for that which God has entrusted to our care. It is time.
Today, we say MAY WE be the ones to stand together with MCC leadership and other faith communities around the world in taking the Paris Pledge in the movement toward necessary and vital creation care. The time to act is now.
The Paris Pledge is a commitment, made individually and by our congregations, to reduce carbon emissions 50% by the year 2030. This will keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius and avoid tragic environmental consequences. MAY WE stand together with faith communities around the globe to practice what we preach.
When the U.N. Climate Change Conference convenes in Paris this December, the pledges will show that we commit to doing our part and, in turn, demand the same (or better) commitment from global leaders. MAY WE take the Pledge today, by visiting this link: http://www.parispledge.org/ where you will also find resources and actions you can take to save money while reducing carbon emissions.
Then, email: email@example.com and let us know you have taken the Pledge, so your congregation will be listed as a pledge-signer on the MCC website!
MAY WE join together (once again), to respond to God’s call in this restorative ministry — so we and future generations may not only survive but thrive. The “Garden” is where we started and it is to God’s garden that we are called to return. The time is now. MAY WE respond with a commitment to act and a promise to CARE.
MCC Creation Team Co-leads
Reverends Aaron Miller and Rich Hendricks
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.