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“Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound That Saved a Soul Like Me.”

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“Amazing Grace! How Sweet the Sound
That Saved a Soul Like Me.”

 

“It is by grace that you have been saved, though faith – and even that is not of yourselves, but the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2: 8

Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I (Candace) sat between my Mom and Dad every Sunday for worship. There were always a few hymns that they both seemed to sing louder than others and “Amazing Grace!” was one of them. In fact, for me, one of the greatest gifts I know I have received from my parents, Sunday school teachers and ordinary members of that church is the knowledge that God’s grace is abundant and it is a gift.

While we do not like to talk about or maybe even think about sin (see previous newsletter on sin), Paul states, “…since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by God’s grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3: 24) It seems to me that we need to have a sense of our own sinfulness, our own separation from God, our own failure to hit the mark of love, in order to fully experience God’s grace.

The current MCC Statement of Faith reads in part: “Every person is justified by grace to God through faith in Jesus Christ. … Such grace is not earned, but is a pure gift from a God of pure love.”

But what is grace?

It’s sometimes too easy to picture grace as a knee-jerk reaction by God to sin.  The opening chapters of the Bible present a different story.  There, we see a God who acts graciously from the outset, and is not blindsided by human failure.

In Genesis 1:1, God has no need to create a world, but instead, created one simply for the pleasure and joy the creation would provide (Genesis 1:31), and to display God’s glory through it (see Psalm 19:1).  God has graciously made and sustains this natural environment where humanity and all creatures could flourish.  The sheer graciousness of the world we live in reminds us with every heartbeat and every new day that God’s grace towards us endures forever.

 

Detail from The Creation by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Detail from The Creation
by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni

 

For me (Candace), it is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves me and desires to be in relationship with me, a relationship that impacts every area of my life and my relationships with others. I will never forget the early evening many years ago when I was standing in line at a grocery store with my bread and milk. It was the line for folks who had only a few items, so it was over toward the end of the checkout lines. As I looked over all of the people in all of the other lines, I had this incredible experience of ‘knowing’ that God loved all of these other people as much as God loved me. It was like, using a good John Wesley phrase, ‘my heart was strangely warmed.’ This feeling came out of nowhere and it changed my life.

 

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
The Return of the Prodigal Son
by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 

 

The author of 1 John wrote: “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.” (I John 4:12) So, while grace is a gift, it is a gift that we live out as we love one another. God’s gift of grace is a gift of forgiveness. And we are called to live out that gift of forgiveness in all of our relationships. Not an easy thing to be sure.

I write this on the cusp of Good Friday. So I also know that whereas grace is a gift freely given, it is not a gift given without cost. It’s just that we don’t have to pay the cost: Jesus did that for me and for you on the cross. “Abba, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

As Christian LGBT people, we who have experienced God’s grace have a gift to share with the world. Just as the earth shook when the tomb was opened on Easter morning, so, too, can we shake the world with the Good News that God’s love and grace conquers sin and fear.

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Some Questions to Consider

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send your private reply to us through the MCC website. See links below.

This month, we’re particularly interested in the following questions:

  • Can you remember the time you realized that God’s love and grace were meant for you?
  • What was the experience like?
  • What impact has it had on your life?

You may also share your thoughts about the MCC Statement of Faith.

We want to hear from you!

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Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Your Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis is the Chair of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and Senior Pastor at King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, Florida (USA).

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand

 

 

Rev. Karl Hand, PhD, is pastor of CRAVE MCC in Sydney, Australia and a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith.

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Subscribe to the Commission’s newsletter by sending us a request: Statement of Faith Newsletter

 

Send a private message to the Commission.

 

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Eine Reflektion über die Frage wer wir sind und was wir sind

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Eine Reflektion über die Frage wer wir sind und was wir sind

by Rev. Dr. Karl Hand & Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert

 

Wir, die Metropolitan Community Church, denken gegenwärtig neu über unser Glaubensbekenntnis nach und betrachten es. Wir versuchen zu formulieren, was wirglauben. Jedoch: Wer ist dieses “wir” von dem wir da reden, wenn wir die Worte sagen: “Wir glauben”? Und was ist diese Kirche, die zusammenkommt um diese Worte zu sagen, wie auch immer sie klingen werden?


Das Glaubensbekenntnis zu betrachten und neu darüber nachzudenken ist daher auch eine Zeit, unsere Identität als Kirche zu betrachten und darüber nachzudenken. Es ist eine Zeit, in der wir vorsichtig sein wollen welche Worte wir benutzen, um unsere Identität zu beschreiben. Die Art und Weise wie wir über jemand oder etwas nachdenken – die Kirche und die Menschen – formt die die Realität in der wir leben. Wir haben vor vielen Jahren gelernt, als wir begannen inklusiv über Gender und Sexualität zu reden.


Neue Formen des Redens über unseren Glauben zu finden bedeutet auch zu fragen, wie wir über unsere Kirche reden und denken wollen. Durch diesen Newsletter versucht die Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis nicht, Antworten zu geben. Sondern wir wollen die Frage stellen:

Wer sind wir und was sind wir?

 

Das Wort Kirche ist die Übertragung des Hebräischen Wortes “qahal,Versammlung. Es wurde benutzt, um die Versammlung der befreiten Kinder Israels zu beschreiben, nachdem sie die Ägyptische Gefangenschaft hinter sich gelassen hatten. Im Evangelium nach Matthäus benutzt Jesus das griechische Wort ekklesia als Übersetzujng für qahal. Als die Apostel die Botschaft Jesu in der Welt verbreiteten, benutzen die Gemeinschaften die sich bildeten weiterhin das Wort ekklesia, oder die Lateinische Form ecclesia. Unsere Gemeinden im Ibero-amerikanischen Bereich benutzen immer noch die Worte iglesia undigreja.

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Es gibt viele Möglichkeiten, über die Realität, die Natur und die Struktur der Kirche zu reden. Da gibt es die Kategorien der akademischen Theologie, die von der ecclesia militans redet, also der kämpfenden, streitenden Kirche hier auf Erden, die aus vielen verschiedenen Arten von Menschen gebildet wird, von uns, die wir “allzumal Sünder” sind, aber auch alle Heilige. Die selbe Theologie spricht von der ecclesia triumphans, die schon in der Freude und im Jubel der Gegenwart der Liebe Gottes existiert, geliebt und gerettet. Da gibt es die Sprache der Bibel, die die Kirche als Leib Christi sieht, oder, wie wir manchmal im Gottesdienst sagen, als die “Hände und Füße Christi” Wir sind Schwestern und Brüder, mit einer gemeinsamen Aufgabe.


MCC ist nicht die Universelle Kirche, oder die “eine, wahre” Kirche. Wir sind nur ein Teil davon. Aber, wenn wir jede Woche auf der ganzen Welt in den Ortsgemeinden zusammenkommen und wenn wir zusammenkommen auf Netzwerktreffen und Konferenzen, dann sind wir ein Manifestation dieser Realität.

 

Einige Arten der Rede über uns selbst sind die Namen die uns gegeben worden sind, oder die wir uns selber gegeben haben im Laufe unserer Geschichte: Die Kirche für Homosexuelle, die Kirche mit AIDS, eine Menschenrechtskirche, eine Kirche für alle. Heute versuchen wir “MCC zu sein”.

 

Es gibt Möglichkeiten über die Kirche als die Organisation zu reden, in der wir leben: Einige werden da an die Ortsgemeinde denken, oder die Gemeinden in denen wir Gottesdienst feiern, uns freuen, miteinander trauern. Wir sind aber auch eine weltweite Kirche, die die Grenzen von Sprache, Kultur, Ländern und Hautfarben überbrückt. Einige sehen uns als eine Bewegung von unten, die weit von diesen alten Bildern und Konzepten entfernt it. Sind wir das alles, oder keines, oder mehr?


Wir haben auch eine wichtige Tradition und Grundidee: dass dies eine Kirche ist, die auf dem Priester und Priesterinnentum aller Glaubenden besteht, dass wir Gleiche sind auf der Reise des Glaubens. “Hier ist weder Jude noch Grieche, weder Sklave noch Freier, weder männlich noch weiblich, denn ihr seid alle eines in Christus Jesus.” (Galater 3,28).

 

Die Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis will von Euch, den Menschen die die Gemeinde bilden und sie leben, hören, was Ihr denkt, wer und was wir sind. Auf diese Art und Weise wollen wir beginnen zu verstehen, was wir meinen, wenn wir sagen: “Wir glauben….”

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Einige Gedanken zum Nachdenken.

Wir würden gerne von Euren Erfahrungen hören.   Schließt Euch der Diskussion auf unserer Facebook Seite an oder schickt uns eure privaten Antworten durch die MCC Webseite. …. 

Diesen Monat interessieren wir uns besonders für die folgenden Fragen.

  • Was ist MCC für Dich? Wie erlebst du sie? Vor Ort? Oder breiter?
  • Welche Worte, Sätze oder Bilder tauchen in Deinen Gedanken auf, um Metropolitan Community Church zu beschreiben?

Danke, dass Ihr Teil dieses Gedankenaustausches seid. Wir freuen uns darauf, diesen Dialog fortzuführen.

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Eure Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand ist ein Mitglied der Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC und ist Senior Pfarrer von Crave MCC in New South Wales (Australien).

 

 

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert ist ein Mitglied der Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC und ein Mitglied des Theologie Teams der MCC.

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Bestellt den Newsletter der Arbeitsgruppe

 

Schicke eine private Nachricht an die Arbeitsgruppe.

 

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What’s Up With Sin? (We Don’t Like Sin)

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What’s Up With Sin? (We Don’t Like Sin)

 

This month’s newsletter is co-written by a guest contributor
from the MCC Theologies Team, Kelby Harrison.

When the Commission of the MCC Statement of Faith first met, we sent out a survey to Friends and Members of MCC to ask for your thoughts about a revised MCC Statement of Faith. You may wish to read the full report on your responses.

In one question we asked:

What topics do you feel strongly SHOULD NOT be included
in a revised MCC Statement of Faith?

chart

Thirty-six percent (36%) of respondents told us that the topic of sin should not be included in MCC’s revised Statement of Faith.

This opposition to sin makes perfect sense. The word and the concept of sin have been used against LGBT people, egregiously, sometimes to the point of death. And still in a religion based on a personal relationship with God, we need ways to articulate and account for feeling distant in that relationship. We need language that strengthens our spiritual resolve, not language that has been used to crush our spirits and our love.

Looking at the world around us, it’s clear that things aren’t always great. MCC congregations often have a disproportionate number of people who have suffered greatly. Sometimes this is due to our sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, though not always. Many are unemployed or under-employed, feel alone in dealing with chronic illness, or lack many things that others take for granted. Closer to home, I (Bryce) am very much aware of my own shortcomings: an almost compulsive need to go it alone, shortness of temper, a tendency to medicate my feelings with food… What about these things?

Shying completely away from discussion of sin can be harmful. How can we speak prophetically or practice social justice without being able to name systemic inequalities such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, ageism, and heterosexism? How can we be healed if we refuse to admit our own shortcomings?

Perhaps part of the difference in opinion is our definition of sin. The Greek understanding of sin (hamartia) was missing the mark. This idea is more complicated than it seems at first glance.

A sinner must have knowledge of moral righteousness, a target if you will, and have knowledge of its bull’s-eye. Over the history of Christianity that target along with its bull’s-eye has often been referred to as God’s law.

At some points in their history, our Jewish siblings conceived of sin as largely communal, with one member able to pollute the whole group. Christians have often emphasized personal sin-our salvation was in our own hands. Although among those of the Holiness movement, communal sin still has an important role.

Since early Christianity, the concept of “sin” has developed into many targets, most hanging on a backdrop (in the Western tradition) of “original sin.” Are we to understand sin as vice; as brokenness from God, ourselves, or others; as willful disobedience of God? Is sin dependent on our intentions, weakness to temptation, or just inevitable in life? Is our ultimate relationship to God dependent upon God’s grace or embedded in our deeds?

Contemporary Christian theologians have articulated modern sins: racism, social injustice, debt, even un-medicated depression. Marriage equality has been denounced as sin.

The theological stigma of the LGBTQ community is so often that of “sinner.” How do we choose to reclaim our belovedness and grace in the face of this? How do we still understand our moral shortcomings in Christian terms?

The current MCC Statement of Faith includes the following words:

We are saved from loneliness, despair and degradation through God’s gift of grace…
We further commend the community of the faithful to a life of prayer; to seek genuine forgiveness for unkind, thoughtless and unloving acts; and to a committed life of Christian service.

Perhaps this is a place from which to continue our conversation.
The MCC Theologies Team has also created a new chapter for our Holy Conversations 2 resource that we invite you to use with others in your local MCC to talk about sin.

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Some Questions to Consider

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send your private reply to us through the MCC website. See links below.

 

This month, we’re particularly interested in the following questions:

  •  Read through quote above from the current MCC Statement of Faith. What thoughts and feelings do you have about the current formulation?
  • When have you felt shamed by the language of sin? Does this language hold any positive value for you?
  • We invite you to use the Holy Conversation on sin that we’ve linked to below. Are there any observations from your group’s discussion that (maintaining personal confidentiality) you would care to share with the Commission?

You may also share your thoughts about the MCC Statement of Faith.
We want to hear from you!

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Additional Resources
The MCC Theologies Team has developed a new chapter in the popular Holy Conversations series for congregations and small groups to explore the topic of Sin. Follow these thinks:

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Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Your Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith

 

Rev. Dr. Kelby Harrison

Reverend Kelby Harrison, PhD, is a member of the MCC Theologies Team.

Bryce

 

 

Bryce E. Rich is a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and the Chair of the MCC Theologies Team.

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Subscribe to the Commission’s newsletter by sending us a request: Statement of Faith Newsletter

 

Send a private message to the Commission.

 

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Uma reflexão sobre a mesa aberta

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Uma reflexão sobre a mesa aberta
por Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis & Bryce E. Rich

 

Tem um ano desde que a Comissão sobre Declaração do Estatuto de Fé da ICM começou o seu trabalho. Mais uma vez, nós gostariamos de convidar a grande comunidade da ICM a continuar nossa discussão. Para este fim, nós estaremos compartilhando alguns dos nossos pensamentos iniciais sobre vários tópicos que temos discutido entre nós, incluindo a Mesa Aberta, nossos pensamentos sobre Jesus, a missão especial da ICM dentro da Igreja e nosso papel como mordomos da criação de Deus.

 

Este mês, temos discutido as práticas da ICM oferecendo uma Mesa Aberta nos cultos de adoração. Esta tem sido nossa prática desde 6 de Outubro de 1968, quando o Rev. Elder Troy Perry realizou o primeiro culto da ICM na sua casa. Em resposta a este convite que foi publicado na revista The Advocate, 12 pessoas de várias tradições religiosas se reuniram naquele dia. Embora a celebração da Santa Ceia não seja parte integral da tradição Pentencostal do Troy, pelo mover do Espirito, ele ofereceu o pão e o cálice para todos os presentes. As reuniões da ICM por todo o mundo tem feito dessa forma como um convite aberto a todos desde então.

 

Declarações de fé tradicionais sempre começam com declarações simples sobre Deus e nossos deveres como adoradores. Porém quando pensamos em nossas primeiras experiencias na ICM, o que vem em nossa mente é uma Mesa Aberta.

 

Nós acreditamos que Deus convida a todos e a todas para provar e ver. E nós temos visto a cura que ocorre quando participamos da Ceia do Senhor.

Rev. Elder Ken Martin feiert das Abendmahl bei der Weltkonferenz im Juli 2013
Rev. Bispo Ken Martin consagrando a Comunhão na XXV Conferência Geral em julho de 2013. (Foto por L. Brenner-Beckstead)

Em razão de termos vindo de tantas tradições religiosas, incluindo Católica, Batista, Pentecostal, Igrejas Livre, e tantas, tantas outras, estamos conscientes que as pessoas tem uma variedade de crenças sobre a Eucaristia. Nelas se incluem o memorial, a transubstanciação, consubstanciação e presença real. Entretando, no meio da nossa diferença, a Mesa Aberta tem sido o centro da adoração na ICM desde o início.

 

Muitos de nós sabemos a dor que é ser separado da comunhão em outras denominações. Com isto em mente, nossos fundadores decidiram oferecer a comunhão em todos os cultos. Incontáveis pessoas tem se reconectado com o amor de Deus pelo convite extendido a todas as pessoas. Algumas pessoas vem sozinhas, outras com seus parceiros, parceiras, e até mesmo em grupo de amigos.

 

Na ICM King Of Peace, utilizamos a seguinte leitura uma vez ao mês como parte do nosso momento de comunhão. Nós convidamos você para que tome um tempo para ler e meditar:

 

Venha a esta mesa
Para encontrar com o Deus vivo
Amor indescritível e além da nossa imaginação
Mais perto que nossa própria respiração

Venha a esta mesa
Para encontrar o Cristo ressurreto
Carne da nossa carne, osso do nosso osso
Deus Conosco, encarnado na nossa vida

Venha a esta mesa
Para encontrar com o Espírito da vida
Interpretação da nossa busca por verdade e justiça
Inspirando dentro de nós um poder renovador

Venha para achar, reunir, sustentar
Um Deus vivo e amoroso
Se fez novo para nós no pão e no vinho

— Jan Berry in Bread for Tomorrow: Praying with the World’s Poor, ed. Janet Morley (London: SPCK/Christian Aid, 1992), pp. 93-94.

 

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Algumas questões a considerar

Queremos que nos contem as suas experiencias. Curta nossa página no facebook e participe da conversa ou nos mande sua resposta privada pelo site da ICM. Este mês estamos particularmente interessados nas seguintes questões:

  • A mesa aberta é uma pratica importante na sua experiência de adoração?
  • Você se lembra como se sentiu quando foi convidado a participar da Comunhão pela primeira vez na ICM?
  • Que palavras, frases, ou imagens vem a sua mente quando quando falamos da experiência da Mesa Aberta?

Você pode compartilhar também seus pensamento sobre a Declaração de Fé.

Queremos ouvir você!

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Obrigado por participar da nossa conversa. Esperamos continuar o diálogo.

Sua Comissão sobre Declaração de Fé da ICM

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis, Presidente da Comissão sobre a Declaração de Fé da ICM e Pastora da King of Peace MCC em St. Petersburg, Flórida (EUA).

Bryce E. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryce E. Rich é membro da Comissão sobre a Declaração de Fé da ICM e Presidente do Grupo de Teologias da ICM.

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Una reflexión sobre la pregunta Quién y Qué somos

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Una reflexión sobre la pregunta Quién y Qué somos 
Rev. Dr. Karl Hand y Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert

 

Nosotros, la Iglesia de la Comunidad Metropolitana, nos encontramos actualmente reflexionando y re-visionando nuestra declaración de Fe. Estamos tratando de redactar para nuestro tiempo lo que nosotros creemos. Así que, ¿quién se incluye en este “Nosotros” de quién hablamos, cuando decimos: “Nosotros creemos”? Y ¿Cuál es esta Iglesia que se reúne para decir estas palabras, de la forma en que podrían sonar? 

Revisando y re-pensando la declaración de fe es también un tiempo de re-visitar y repensar nuestra identidad como Iglesia. Es un tiempo en que deseamos ser cuidadosos con las palabras que utilicemos para describir nuestra identidad. La manera en que hablamos sobre algo o alguien – la Iglesia y las personas -da forma a la realidad en la cual vivimos. Aprendimos de primera mano cuando comenzamos a utilizar un lenguaje inclusivo al hablar sobre género y sexualidad hace varios años.

Encontrando nuevas formas de hablar sobre nuestra fe también significa preguntarnos como pensamos y hablamos sobre nuestra Iglesia. A través de nuestro boletín, la Comisión de la Declaración de Fe no buscamos dar respuestas, sino hacer preguntas:

¿Quiénes somos, y qué somos?

La palabra Iglesia es una traducción de la palabra hebrea, qahal o “asamblea,” la cual se utilizaba para referirse a las reuniones de hijos e hijas libres de Israel después de que se liberaron de la esclavitud en Egipto. En el Evangelio de Mateo, Jesús se refiere a la comunidad e personas que le siguen utilizando la palabra griega ekklesia, la cual traduce qahal. Cuando los apóstoles compartieron el mensaje de Jesus al mundo, las comunidades que formaron fueron designadas con la palabra ekklesia, o su equivalente en latín ecclesia. Nuestras iglesias iberoamericana continúan llamándose iglesia (en español) oigreja (en portugués).

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Hay muchas maneras de hablar sobre nuestra realidad, la naturaleza y estructura de la Iglesia. Existen algunas categorías de las academias teológicas que hablan sobre la Iglesia militante, la Iglesia que batalla y lucha aquí en la tierra, la cual está compuesta por todo tipo de personas, todas pecadoras, pero al mismo tiempo todas santas. Las mismas teologías también hablan sobre la Iglesia triunfante que está ya disfrutando de la alegría y el júbilo en la presencia del amor de Dios y de la redención. Existe un lenguaje en la Biblia que presenta a la Iglesia como Cuerpo de Cristo, o como algunas veces decimos en el culto: “Somos las manos y pies de Cristo”. Somos hermanas y hermanos, con una tarea común.

ICM no es la Iglesia universal, o la “única, verdadera” Iglesia – somos solo una parte del todo. Pero cuando nos reunimos cada semana en las congregaciones locales alrededor del mundo y cuando estamos juntas en nuestras redes y conferencias, somos una manifestación de esa realidad.

Algunas maneras de las que hablamos sobre la Iglesia, son los nombres que nos han dado o que nosotros mismos nos damos a través de nuestra historia: La Iglesia para gays, la Iglesia con SIDA, la Iglesia de los derechos humanos, la iglesia para todas las personas. Actualmente, estamos tratando de “Ser ICM”.
También hay otras formas de hablar de la Iglesia como una organización en la que vivimos: algunos piensan en nosotros como una Iglesia local, o congregaciones donde adoramos, celebramos y lloramos. También somos una organización mundial, Iglesia ecuménica que crea puentes de lenguaje, cultura, países y colores. Algunos nos ven como un movimiento con raíces que han mudado y han ido más allá de imágenes y conceptos. ¿Somos todo esto, o nada de esto, o más que esto?
 
También tenemos una tradición firme y unos valores esenciales, de que esta Iglesia está edificada sobre el Sacerdocio de Todos los Creyentes, de que todas las personas somos iguales en nuestra jornada de fe. “No hay más judío o gentil, ni esclavo ni libre, ni hombre ni mujer, ustedes son uno en Cristo Jesús” (Gálatas 3:28).
 
La Comisión sobre la Declaración de Fe de ICM quiere escuchar sobre lo que tú y las otras personas viven y hacen en ICM, pensando en lo que respecta a quién y qué somos. De esta manera, comenzaremos a comprender lo que significa, cuando decimos: “Nosotros creemos….”
 
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Algunas preguntas para tu consideración

Nos gustaría conocer sus experiencias. Participen de nuestra conversación en la página de Facebook, o escriban un mensaje a través del sitio web de ICM. Consultar los enlaces.

Este mes, estamos particularmente interesados en las siguientes preguntas:

  • ¿Qué es ICM para ti? ¿Cómo experimentas a ICM? ¿Localmente?¿Más ampliamente?
  • ¿Cuáles palabras, frases o imágenes vienen a tu mente para describir a la Iglesia de la Comunidad Metropolitana?

También puedes compartir tus pensamientos sobre la Declaración de Fe de ICM.
¡Queremos escucharte!

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Muchas gracias por ser parte de la conversación. Esperamos continuar este diálogo.

Su Comisión sobre la Declaración de Fe de ICM.

 

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand es miembro de la Comisión de la Declaración de Fe de ICM y Pastor de Crave MCC en New South Wales (Australia).

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert es miembro de la Comisión de la Declaración de Fe y del Equipo de Teologías de ICM.

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A Reflection on MCC Mission and Liturgy

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A Reflection on MCC Mission and Liturgy
by Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez & Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

In MCC, we are living a unique time of reflection, analysis, approach, transition and deep action, guided by the Spirit of God who continues calling us to “Be MCC” in the world. We came to be part of this family that is MCC from different and varied traditions, stories and histories, but no doubt with the strong conviction that the same mission holds us together: proclaiming the radically inclusive message of the Gospel.

Jesus, as he was leaving His disciples, gave them and us what we call the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19a) When we were founded, Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry declared that we preach a three-pronged gospel: Christian Salvation, Christian Community, and Christian Social Action.

Our current MCC Statement of Faith states, in part:

“Founded in the interest of offering a church home to all who confess and believe…The Church serves to bring all people to God through Christ. To this end, it shall arrange for regular services of worship, prayer, interpretation of Scriptures, and edification through the teaching and preaching of the Word.”

Mission and worship are at the heart of who we are. Those who have had the blessing to visit some of our local churches in various corners of the world can with certainty say that there is something deep that makes us MCC. But at the same time, each of our local congregations is unique. Even in one local church, there can be three types of worship services, each completely different from one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Altar

In our personal history, we all keep something within ourselves about how the Spirit inspired us in our first contact with MCC. Personally, I, H??ctor, can say that it was the richness of liturgy yet at the same time a sense of worship that is free, innovative, inclusive, and alive that captured my spirit and my excitement of wanting to be a part of MCC. Because my background is a Latin American tradition well rooted in Liberation Theology, I could experience, in the worship services of MCC, that same richness of the traditions of my communities as well as feel free to live into the manifestation of my faith. Faith and life, for me, are two faces of the same reality.

We also have a willingness and openness to transform our worship spaces for different activities. These might include sacred music, dance, drag and a whole host of endeavors only limited by our imaginations. Maybe we are so comfortable with this and it looks so normal to us, that we miss the opportunity to think about it.

Our worship is one part of our community life, and a manifestation of our mission for transformation and radical inclusion.

One of MCC’s greatest strengths is above all the living experience of the priesthood of all believers. In MCC, all persons can preside over worship and each can share from their own experience of faith.

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Some Questions to Consider

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send your private reply to us through the MCC website. See links below.

This month, we’re particularly interested in the following questions:

  • How does your experience with worship within MCC relate to your understanding of MCC’s mission?
  • Do you experience a connection with mission when you worship? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • Do you have a specific rite or liturgy used in worship in your experience of MCC that you would like to share?

You may also share your thoughts about the MCC Statement of Faith.
We want to hear from you!

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Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Your Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith

RevElderHector

Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez is a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith. He is also an Elder in MCC and leads the Iberoamerica ministry as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis is the Chair of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and Senior Pastor at King of Peace MCC in Saint Petersburg, Florida (USA).

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A Reflection on the Question of Who and What We Are

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A Reflection on the Question of Who and What We Are
by Rev. Dr. Karl Hand & Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert
 

We, the Metropolitan Community Church, are currently rethinking and revisiting ourstatement of Faith. We are trying to formulate for our time what we believe. Yet, who is this “We” we are talking about, when we say the words: “We believe”? And what is this Churchthat comes together to say those words, however they will sound? 

Revisiting and rethinking a statement of faith is also a time to revisit and rethink our identity as a church. It is a time when we wish to be careful about the words we use to describe our identity. The way we talk about something and someone — the church and the people –shapes the reality in which we live. We learned this first-hand when we began to use inclusive language to talk about gender and sexuality many years ago.

Finding new ways of talking about our faith also means asking how we think and talk about our church. Through our newsletter, the Commission on the Statement of Faith is not trying to give answers, but to ask the question: 

Who are we, and what are we?

The word church is a translation of a Hebrew word, qahal or “assembly,” which was used to refer to the gathering of the liberated children of Israel after they had left slavery in Egypt. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus refers to the community of people who followed him using the Greek word ekklesia, which translates qahal. When the apostles spread the message of Jesus throughout the world, the communities that formed kept using the word ekklesia, or the Latin equivalent ecclesia. Our Ibero-American churches still say iglesia and igreja.

church

There are many ways to talk about the reality, the nature, and the structure of the church. There are categories of academic theologies that talk about the church militant, the struggling, fighting church here on earth, that is composed of all kinds of people, all of us sinners, but also all saints. The same theologies also talk about the church triumphant that is already in joy and jubilation in the presence of the love of God, beloved and redeemed. There is the language of the Bible that sees the church as the Body of Christ, or as we sometimes say in worship: “We are the Hands and Feet of Christ.” We are sisters and brothers, with a common task.

MCC isn’t the universal church, or the “one, true” church — we are only one part of it. But when we meet every week in local congregations around the world, and when we come together in our networks and conferences, we are a manifestation of that reality.

Some ways we talk about the church are the names we were given or have given ourselves through our history: The church for gays, the church with AIDS, a human rights church, a church for all. Today, we are trying to “Be MCC.”

There are also ways to talk about the church as the organisation we live in: Some think of us as the local church, or congregations where we worship, celebrate, and grieve. We are also a worldwide, ecumenical church that bridges the boundaries of language, culture, countries, and colours. Some see us as a grassroots movement that has moved away and beyond all those images and concepts. Are we all of these, or none, or more? 

We also have a firm tradition and core value, that this church is built on the Priesthood of all Believers, that we all are equals in our journey of faith. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

The Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith would like to hear what you, the people that live and make up this MCC, think concerning who and what we are. In this way, we will begin to understand what we mean, when we say: “We believe….”

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Some Questions to Consider

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send your private reply to us through the MCC website. See links below.

This month, we’re particularly interested in the following questions:

  • What is MCC for you? How do you experience it? Locally? More broadly?
  • What words, phrases, or images come to mind to describe Metropolitan Community Church?

You may also share your thoughts about the MCC Statement of Faith.
We want to hear from you!

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Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Your Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand

Rev. Dr. Karl Hand is a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and the Senior Pastor at Crave MCC in New South Wales (Australia).

 

 

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert is a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and a member of the MCC Theologies Team.

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Una Reflexión sobre la Mesa Abierta

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Una Reflexión sobre la Mesa Abierta 
Rev. Dr. Candace R. y Bryce E. Rich Shultis

 

Hace ya un año que la Comisión sobre la Declaración de Fe de ICM inició su labor. Una vez más queremos invitar a la gran comunidad de ICM a continuar con nuestra conversación. Con tal fin, compartiremos algunos de nuestros pensamientos preliminares sobre algunos temas que hemos estado dialogando entren nosotros, entre los que se incluyen, la Mesa Abierta; nuestras reflexiones sobre Jesús, la misión especial de ICM dentro de la Iglesia y nuestro papel de mayordomía en la creación de Dios.

Este mes estamos dialogando sobre la práctica de ICM ofreciendo la mesa abierta en los servicios de adoración. Esta ha sido nuestra práctica desde el 6 de octubre de 1968 cuando el Rev. Obispo D. Troy Perry ofreció el primer servicio de adoración en su hogar. En respuesta a la invitación que se publicó en la revista The Advocate,12 personas de varias tradiciones religiosas se reunieron aquel día. Aun cuando la celebración de la Santa Comunión no era una parte integral de la tradición Pentecostal de Troy, con la inspiración del Espíritu, ofreció el pan y la copa a todos los que estaban presentes. Las reuniones de ICM alrededor del mundo han continuado esta práctica de una invitación abierta desde entonces.

Las declaraciones de fe tradicionales, a menudo comienzan con nobles declaraciones sobre Dios o nuestra tarea como adoradores. Pero cuando pensamos en nuestras primeras experiencias en ICM, lo primero que viene a nuestra mente es la Mesa Abierta.

Creemos que Dios invita a todos a probar y ver. Y hemos visto la curación que ocurre cuando las personas participan en la Cena del Señor.

Rev. Elder Ken Martin feiert das Abendmahl bei der Weltkonferenz im Juli 2013
Rev. Obispo Ken Martin consagrando la comunión en la Conferencia General XXV en Julio de 2013. (foto de L. Brenner-Beckstead)

 

Debido a que procedemos de varias tradiciones religiosas, incluyendo católicos, bautistas, pentecostales, Iglesia Libre, y muchas, muchas otras; estamos conscientes de que las personas tienen una creencia muy variada entorno a la Eucaristía. Estas incluyen memorial, transustanciación, consubstanciación y presencia real. Independientemente, en medio de nuestras diferencias, la Mesa Abierta ha sido el centro de las celebraciones de ICM desde el principio mismo.

Muchas personas sabemos del dolor que causa el ser separado de la comunión en otras denominaciones. Con esto presente en nuestra mente, nuestros fundadores decidieron ofrecer la comunión en cada servicio de adoración. Innumerables individuos han entrado nuevamente en relación con el amor de Dios a través de la invitación ofrecida a todas las personas. Algunas personas vienen solas, otras con sus padres e incluso algunas en grupos de amigos.

En King of Peace MCC, utilizamos la siguiente lectura un domingo al mes como parte de nuestro servicio de comunión. Les invitamos a que tomen un tiempo para leerla y meditar en ella:

 

Ven a esta mesa
para encontrarte con el Dios vivo,
amor indescriptible más allá de nuestra imaginación
y aún más cerca que nuestra respiración.

Ven a esta mesa
para encontrarte con el Cristo resucitado
carne de nuestra carne, hueso de nuestros huesos,
Dios-con-nosotros, encarnado en nuestra vida.

Ven a esta mesa
para encontrarte con el espíritu que da vida,
interpretación de nuestra búsqueda de la verdad y la justicia,
inspirando dentro de nosotros un poder renovador.

Ven para encontrarte, reunirte, sostener
al Dios vivo y amoroso
hecho nuevo para nosotros en pan y vino.

 

Tomado de Jan Berry in Bread for Tomorrow: Praying with the World’s Poor, ed. Janet Morley (London: SPCK/Christian Aid, 1992), pp. 93-94.

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Algunas preguntas para tu consideración 

Queremos que nos cuenten sus experiencias. Únete a la conversación en nuestra página de Facebook o enviar su respuesta privada a través de la Página Web de ICM. Este mes estamos particularmente interesados en las siguientes preguntas:

  • ¿La Mesa Abierta es una parte importante en tu experiencia de adoración?
  • ¿Recuerdas cómo te sentiste la primera vez que te invitaron a la comunión en ICM?
  • ¿Qué palabras, frases o imágenes te vienen a la mente cuando piensas acerca de tus experiencias de la mesa abierta?

También nos pueden compartir sus pensamientos sobre la declaración de fe de ICM.

¡Queremos escucharte!

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Muchas gracias por ser parte de esta conversación. Esperamos continuar con este diálogo.

Su Comisión sobre la Declaración de Fe de ICM.

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis, Presidenta de la Comisión de la Declaración de Fe de ICM y Pastora en King of Peace MCC en St. Petersburg, Florida (USA).

 

Bryce E. Rich

Bryce E. Rich es miembro de la Comisión de la Declaración de Fe de ICM y Presidente del Equipo de Teologías de ICM.

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Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith News May 2015

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A Reflection on the Open Table
by Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis & Bryce E. Rich

It’s been a year since the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith began its work. Once again we’d like to invite the wider MCC community to continue our conversation. To that end, we will be sharing some of our preliminary thoughts on various topics we’ve been discussing amongst ourselves, including, the Open Table, our thoughts about Jesus, MCC’s unique mission within the Church, and our role as stewards of God’s creation.

This month we are discussing MCC’s practice of an open invitation to the table in worship. This has been our practice since 6 October 1968, when Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry held MCC’s first worship service in his home. In response to his invitation in The Advocate, 12 people from a variety of religious backgrounds gathered that day. Though the celebration of Holy Communion was not an integral part of Troy’s Pentecostal background, by the movement of the Spirit, he offered the bread and cup to all who were present. MCC gatherings around the world have continued this practice of an open invitation ever since.

Traditional statements of belief often begin with lofty statements about God or our task as worshipers. But when we think about our very first experiences in MCC, what comes to mind is the Open Table.

We believe that God invites everyone to taste and see. And we have seen the healing that takes place as people take part in the Lord’s Supper.

 

Rev. Elder Ken Martin feiert das Abendmahl bei der Weltkonferenz im Juli 2013
Rev. Elder Ken Martin consecrates communion at General Conference XXV in July 2013. (photo by L. Brenner-Beckstead)

 

Because we come from so many religious backgrounds, including Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Free Church, and many, many others, we are aware that people have varying beliefs about the Eucharist. These include memorialism, transubstantiation, consubstantiation, and real presence. However, in the midst of our differences, the Open Table has been the center of MCC worship from our very beginning.

 

Many of us know the pain of being turned away from the communion in other denominations. With this in mind, our founders decided to offer communion at every worship service.  Countless individuals have reconnected with God’s love through the invitation we extend to all people. People come alone, with their partners, and even in groups of friends.

 

At King of Peace MCC, we use the following reading once a month as a part of our communion service. We invite you to take a moment to read and reflect:

 

Come to this table
to meet the living God,
love indescribable and beyond our imagining
yet closer than our own breathing.

Come to this table
to meet the risen Christ
flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,
God-with-us, embodied in our living.

Come to this table
to meet the life-giving Spirit,
interpreting our search for truth and justice,
breathing into us renewing power.

Come to find, to meet, to hold
the living, loving God
made new for us in bread and wine.

— Jan Berry in Bread for Tomorrow: Praying with the World’s Poor, ed. Janet Morley (London: SPCK/Christian Aid, 1992), pp. 93-94.

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Some Questions to Consider

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Join the conversation on our Facebook page or send your private reply to us through the MCC website. See links below.

This month, we’re particularly interested in the following questions:

  • Is open table practice an important part of your worship experience?
  • Do you remember how you felt when you first were invited to communion at an MCC?
  • What words, phrases, or images come to mind as you think about your experiences of the Open Table?

You may also share your thoughts about the MCC Statement of Faith.
We want to hear from you!

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Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Your Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis

Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis is the Chair of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and Senior Pastor at King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, Florida (USA).

 

 

Bryce E. Rich

Bryce E. Rich is a member of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith and the Chair of the MCC Theologies Team.

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MCC Glaubensbekenntnis – Aktualisierung für Mai 2015

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Eine Betrachtung des Offenen Abendmahls

von Rev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis und Bryce E. Rich

 

Es ist nun ein Jahr her, dass die Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC ihre Arbeit aufgenommen hat. Wieder wollen wir die weitere MCC Gemeinschaft einladen, sich mit uns auszutauschen. Dafür wollen wir einige unserer vorläufigen Gedanken zu verschiedenen Themen darstellen. Diese Themen besprechen wir in unserer Gruppe: sie enthalten das Offene Abendmahl, unserer Gedanken über Jesus, die besondere Aufgabe der MCC innerhalb der Kirche und unsere Rolle als Bewahrerinnen und Bewahrer der Schöpfung Gottes.

Diesen Monat besprechen wir die Tradition der offenen Einladung an den Tisch Gottes im Gottesdienst. Das tun wir seit dem 6. Oktober 1968 als Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry den ersten MCC Gottesdienst in seiner Wohnung abgehalten hat. Als Reaktion auf seine Einladung in “The Advocate” (eine überregionale Zeitschrift für Schwule in den USA, Anm. d. Übersetzers) kamen 12 Menschen von einer Reihe von religiösen Hintergründen an diesem Tag zusammen. Und obwohl die Feier des Heiligen Abendmahls nicht ein grundlegender Teil von Troys pfingst-kirchlichem Hintergrund war, bot er doch, bewegt vom heiligen Geist, allen Anwesenden Brot und den Kelch an. MCC Zusammenkünfte überall auf der Welt führen diese Tradition der offenen Einladung seither fort.

Traditionelle Glaubensbekenntnisse beginnen oft mit hochfliegenden Aussagen über Gott oder unsere Aufgabe als Anbetende. Aber wir gehen davon aus, dass das Erste, an das wir im Zusammenhang mit MCC denken, die Erfahrung der offenen Einladung ist.

Wir glauben, dass Gott alle einlädt, zu schmecken und zu sehen. Und wir haben die Heilung gesehen, die geschieht, wenn Menschen am Abendmahl teilnehmen.

 

Rev. Elder Ken Martin feiert das Abendmahl bei der Weltkonferenz im Juli 2013
Rev. Elder Ken Martin feiert das Abendmahl bei der Weltkonferenz im Juli 2013 ( Bild von L. Brenner-Beckstead)

 

Da wir von so vielen religiösen Hintergründen kommen, einschließlich katholisch, baptistsch, pfingstlich, freikirchlich und viele, viele mehr, ist uns bewusst, dass Menschen Verschiedenes über die Eucharistie glauben. Das schließt ein: das Erinnerungsmahl, Transsubstantiation, Konsubstantiation und Realpräsenz. Aber, in all unseren Unterschieden, ist doch die offene Einladung das Zentrum von MCC Gottesdienst seit unserem Anfang.

Viele von uns kennen den Schmerz, von der Abendmahlsgemeinschaft in anderen Konfessionen ausgeschlossen geworden zu sein. Mit dieser Erfahrung im Hintergrund beschlossen unsere Gründerinnen und Gründer dass wir in jedem Gottesdienst das Abendmahl anbieten. Unzählige Menschen haben wieder einen Zugang zu Gottes Liebe durch die Einladung bekommen, die wir an alle Menschen aussprechen. Menschen kommen alleine, mit ihren Partnern und Partnerinnen, oder sogar als Gruppe von Freundinnen und Freunden.

In King of Peace MCC benutzen wir einmal im Monat diese Lesung als Teil unserer Abendmahlsfeier. Wir laden ein, einen Moment lang diesen Text zu lesen und darüber nachzudenken.

Kommt an diesen Tisch
     Um den lebendigen Gott zu treffen
     Unbeschreibliche Liebe, jenseits unseres Träumens
     Und dennoch näher als der eigene Atem.

 

Kommt an diesen Tisch
     Um den auferstandenen Christus zu treffen
     Fleisch von unserem Fleisch, Knochen von unseren Knochen
     Gott-mit-uns, verkörpert in unserem Leben.

 

Kommt an diesen Tisch
     Um dem lebensgebenden Geist zu begegnen
     Die unsere Suche nach Wahrheit und Gerechtigkeit erklärt
     Die erneuernde Kraft in uns hineinatmet.

 

Kommt und findet, zu begegnen, zu halten
     Den lebenden, liebenden Gott
     Neu gemacht für uns in Brot und Wein.

 

-Jan Berry in Bread for Tomorrow: Praying with the World’s Poor, ed. Janet Morley (London: SPCK/Christian Aid, 1992), pp. 93-94.

 

-Übersetzung von Pfarrer Dr. Axel Schwaigert. (Ich habe mich entschlossen, die Einladung im Plural für eine Gruppe zu übersetzen. Man kann sie aber auch als Einladung an eine/einen Einzelne/n übersetzen und verstehen. Anm. d. Übersetzers)

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Einige Gedanken zum Nachdenken. 

 

Wir würden gerne von Euren Erfahrungen hören.   Schließt Euch der Diskussion auf unserer Facebook Seite an oder schickt uns eure privaten Antworten durch die MCC Webseite. …. Diesen Monat interessieren wir uns besonders für die folgenden Fragen.

  •  Ist das offene Abendmahl ein wichtiger Teil Eurer Gottesdiensterfahrung?
  • Erinnert Ihr Euch wie es sich angefühlt hat, zum ersten Mal zur Abendmahlsgemeinschaft in einer MCC eingeladen geworden zu sein?
  • Welche Worte, Formulierungen oder Bilder entstehen in Euren Gedanken, wenn ihr über Eure Erfahrung mit der offenen Einladung nachdenkt?
Ihr könnt uns auch gerne Eure Gedanken über das Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC mitteilen.

Wir wollen von Euch hören!

 

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Danke, dass Ihr Teil dieses Gedankenaustausches seid. Wir freuen uns darauf, diesen Dialog fortzuführen.

Eure Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC

 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. ShultisRev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis ist die Vorsitzende Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC und Senior Pastor an King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, Florida (USA).

 

Bryce E. Rich

Bryce E. Rich ist ein Mitglied der Arbeitsgruppe zum Glaubensbekenntnis der MCC und der Vorsitzende des Theologie Team der MCC.

 

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