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METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCHES WELCOMES NEW CDC GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF PrEP FOR HIV PREVENTION

Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) welcomes the May 14, 2014 announcement from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention.

(See http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/PrEPguidelines2014.pdf)

MCC is long tenured in the response to HIV as it was the first Christian denomination to minister to those with HIV/AIDS.  The CDC announcement is good news to our churches because it gives us an additional tool to reduce new HIV infections.

All methods of HIV prevention should still be applied in addition to this new scientifically proven method of taking a daily dosage of Truvadaas described in the guidelines under the direction of a medical professional with the required counseling.  However, MCC emphasizes that PrEP is not a substitute for condoms, but another option now available. No single intervention is completely protective in preventing HIV transmission. Clean syringe exchange for people who use drugs, widespread distribution of male and female condoms to populations at risk for HIV transmission, reducing the number of sexual partners, universal access to health services and anti-retroviral treatment, eliminating gender-based violence and gender inequality, age-appropriate sex education and repealing laws criminalizing people with HIV and sex workers and people most at risk for HIV transmission are interventions that we know will work.

PrEP is a medical advance that is the product of peer reviewed research and international scrutiny, and should be made universally available.

We still need a cure for AIDS and a vaccine for HIV. Recognizing that PrEP is not a cure or a vaccine for HIV, we now have evidence that it can reduce HIV infections among populations most at risk for HIV transmission.  While new HIV infections overall have declined somewhat worldwide, they are either not declining or increasing in populations most at risk for HIV such as gay men and men who have sex with men and transgender persons.

MCC and the Global Justice Institute call on the world’s medical community to marshal resources and make personal commitments to providing PrEP-inclusive medical care to all those at risk of HIV transmission including those who are incarcerated. We call on people of faith to do the work of justice, in the private and public sectors, by opposing all systems of domination and marginalization that make the use of PrEP necessary.  We will judge our work complete when the world fundamentally agrees on the sacredness of sexuality and no one abuses this fundamental freedom.

Click HERE to download information provided by MCC’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council on PrEP, andHERE for the CDC’s guide to how to talk with your doctor.  Click HERE for the Advisory Council’s information on PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).

This statement was prepared by the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council and the Moderator’s Public Policy Team,

Metropolitan Community Churches

Position Opening: Student Christian Movement (SCM)-USA National Organizer

World Student Christian Federation

WorldStudentChristianFederation

Student Christian Movement, USA

 

 

World Student Christian Federation

North America Regional Office
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 700
New York, NY 10115
phone +1-212-870-2470
fax      +1-212-870-3220
wscfna@gmail.com

 

Position Opening:  Student Christian Movement (SCM)-USA National Organizer

The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) and the Student Christian Movement- USA (SCM-USA) seek a dynamic, energetic organizer for the Student Christian Movement (USA), a progressive and social justice US national ecumenical movement.

Work location: Anywhere in the US, with a preference for New York City

The WSCF and SCM are building a national movement of progressive Christian students and young adults who engage in the work of peace, justice and global action, following  Jesus’  call to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release of the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.  (Luke 4:18)  The WSCF, through the SCM-USA, seeks to build local networks of engaged students on campuses and communities and provide opportunities for leadership training, Biblical and theological reflection, ecumenical engagement, mutual support and global action.  The SCM is a member of the WSCF which includes over one million members in 90 countries around the world.

The SCM-USA National Organizer will be responsible to

  • Plan the 2015 annual national Leadership Training Program to be held in the spring of 2015, which will include
    • Staff the Leadership Training Program’s PrepCom
    • Find, finalize and prepare conference location and venue and communicate with its staff
    • Connect current SCM groups and individuals in planning the national event
    • Develop conference program
    • Recruit participants
    • Prepare conference materials
    • Design and implement web-based publicity and communication, including work on a database and website.
    • Help with fundraising
  • Help implement and execute programmatic decisions by SCM-USA advisory board, WSCF North America Regional Committee and other SCM groups, including local activities and other regional or national programs
  • Facilitate the formation of new local chapters of the Student Christian Movement USA
  • Administer local seed grants disbursed to SCM chapters
  • Provide communication and support to the World Student Christian Federation, including the US Trustees of the WSCF and help connect US students to WSCF global events
  • Stimulate and facilitate the articulation of global analysis and theology for US students, as well as the development of new strategies aimed at making the SCM’s work more effective and relevant at local, national and global levels
  • Research and write grant proposals and help in fundraising strategies in conjunction with WSCF North America Regional Secretary, SCM-USA advisory board and the WSCF US Trustees.
  • Help maintain and expand SCM/WSCF website, social media  and database
  • Help Regional Secretary with administration of national office

Qualifications

  • Passion for empowering students and encouraging leadership
  • A good grasp of the SCM’s ministry and “raison d’être”
  • Understanding of the political and theological orientation of the movement, including its social-justice work
  • Experience or exposure to the SCM’s work on a national or regional level and/or experience in an organization with similar objectives
  • Adequate understanding of the Christian Churches in the US; appreciation of the wider ecumenical movement in the US and internationally is an asset.
  • Ability to interpret the work and vision of the SCM to churches and ecumenical bodies and relevant organizations
  • Commitment to working in an social-justice framework
  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant field, or equivalent experience
  • Inter-faith experience is an asset.

The conference organizer will be supervised by the WSCF North America Regional Secretary, Luciano Kovacs, located at 475 Riverside Drive, New York City, and supported by SCM members and alumni.  Salary is $20/hour for an average of 18 hours a week.  No benefits.  Position begins immediately for a 12 month contract with the possibility of renewal and expansion of position.

The successful candidate will have the vision, passion and skills to help nurture the emergence of an ecumenical student Christian movement in the US; be committed to peace, social, economic and gender justice; and desire to work as part of an international community. SCM-USA  is LGBTQ affirming.

Deadlines for applications June 20. Estimated starting date for position, July 15.  Please submit cover letter, cv and contacts for three references and a short essay on your vision for a social justice, student-led grassroots ecumenical movement . For more information, contact Luciano Kovacs, wscfna@gmail.com

MCC Moderator Among Key Faith Leaders to Address Climate Change

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), which has ministries in over 40 countries.  Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with U.S. White House staff in 1979, and she served as a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

As the U.S. government rolled out its historic report on global climate change, it was announced that the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, would be part of a team of twenty-one top ecumenical and interfaith leaders to spearhead an effort to mobilize religious communities to address environmental concerns and to provide “how to” guidance and an extensive array of free resources to their networks.

The team launched Blessed Tomorrow (http://www.blessedtomorrow.org) on 7 May 2014, which brings together some of the United States’ preeminent religious leaders from the Evangelical, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant faiths who are personally dedicated to leading by example on stewardship within their organizations. This historic interfaith coalition of religious leaders will lead their faith communities to work toward climate solutions in their congregations, communities, and homes. MCC will continue to work globally on these issues that affect us all.

“I believe it is time that we look at our actions. God’s love will never change, but we have an eternal mandate to be in relationship to our natural environment and this paradise we call Earth,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “We hold the future of our children in our hands and can come together to bring in an era of cooperation never seen in the history of humankind to embody a blessed tomorrow.”

Metropolitan Community Churches was founded in 1968 and made history as the first church to perform same-gender marriages,” said Dr. Wilson. “MCC is known as ‘The Human Rights Church’ internationally and works worldwide to challenge discrimination based on race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Many MCC congregations around the globe are supporting a sustainable climate through their practices. The Blessed Tomorrow partnership will provide a rich interaction across lines of faith and tradition that will help everyone grow.”

Blessed Tomorrow emerged out of EcoAmerica MomentUs efforts to connect with business, health, faith, and other constituencies with mutually beneficial strategies to reduce the effects of climate change. Faith communities will expand the use of climate change solutions that align with their faith tradition and values. Blessed Tomorrow provides simple, proven resources faith leaders can use right away to empower their members and communities.

Central to this initiative is helping congregations create a Path to Positive plan, which will provide free resources to guide them to be better stewards of God’s creation, for the sake of the most vulnerable populations and future generations. Each congregation or ministry is encouraged and empowered to create their own Path to Positive: http://blessedtomorrow.org/path-to-positive. (Click on “Inspire Others” for resources.)

Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.

Metropolitan Community Churches Celebrate Marriage Equality in Idaho, USA

Today, along with fair-minded people of faith around the world, Metropolitan Community Churches celebrate Marriage Equality in the state of Idaho, USA. Every picture and video we see and every story we hear of committed same-sex couples and allies celebrating, fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.

On Tuesday evening, May 13, 2014, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale issued a ruling that struck down Idaho’s 2006 constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Her ruling will take effect on Friday, May 16, 2014, at 9:00 AM. Although Idaho Governor Butch Otter has requested a stay of the order and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden plans to do the same today, no court action on those requests has occurred.

Marriage Equality is important to Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). The Rev. Elder Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, performed the first same-sex wedding ever in the United States in 1968, according to Time Magazine. Rev. Perry continued his marriage equality work throughout his ministry as Founder and Moderator of MCC. “MCC’s commitment to the work for Marriage Equality continues today, not only in the United States, but all over the world. We will not rest until full Marriage Equality is established,” says The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality and Relational Issues for the Global Justice Institute.

Marriage Equality is becoming the law of the land in many places. “We look forward to its full implementation in Idaho, all over the United States and around the world.” said MCC Moderator The Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, “When it comes to Marriage Equality, justice is raining down like water.”

Once again, hearty congratulations and blessings to the people of Idaho.

Prepared by The Moderator’s Public Policy Team and the Global Justice Institute
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director

LGBT Pride Month 2014

lgbtpridemonth2014

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.

truetubePhoto Credit TrueTube Co. UK

 

The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the world the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events.

PenguiconPhoto Credit Penguicon

Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.

WorldPride
JOIN US IN TORONTO IN 2014 FOR WORLDPRIDE!

WorldPride 2014 Toronto (WP14TO), presented by Pride Toronto, is shaping up to be one of the biggest international events of our times. These ten days of queer celebration will turn streets into parades, parks into parties and strangers into friends..

This will be an international celebration incorporating activism, education, and the history and culture of global LGBTTIQQ2SA communities. Highlighting Canada’s continued progress in human rights, WP14TO also celebrates the diversity and dynamism of Toronto, one of the world’s most progressive and liveable cities.

Toronto will be the first WorldPride celebration ever held in North America, and the 4th such festival in the world. WorldPride brings people together from around the world to honour our past, celebrate the present, and inspire a better future for LGBTTIQQ2SA communities everywhere.

OFFICIAL EVENTS

  • Opening Ceremony – June 20
  • WorldPride Gala and Awards – June 25
  • WorldPride Human Rights Conference – June 25-27
  • IGM Human Rights Reception – June 26
  • Trans March – June 27
  • Dyke March – June 28
  • WorldPride Parade – June 29
  • Streetfair and Arts & Culture Festival – June 27-29
  • Closing Ceremony – June 29

Celebrating Marriage Equality – Globally

The first laws enabling same-sex marriage in modern times were enacted during the first decade of the 21st century. As of 29 March 2014, sixteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uruguay) and several sub-national jurisdictions (parts of Mexico and the United States) allow same-sex couples to marry. Polls in various countries show that there is rising support for legally recognizing same-sex marriage across race, ethnicity, age, religion, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status.

globe
click for enlarged image

 X Marriage open to same-sex couples (ring = individual cases)
Recognized when performed in certain other jurisdictions (ring = individual cases)
Government/court announced intention to recognize
Federal recognition of marriages at the state level
Civil unions
Unregistered cohabitation
Same-sex unions not legally recognized
Regional outline: Traditional same-sex marriage which is not considered homosexual
(Colours higher in the list override those lower down.)
Photo Credit: Kwamikagami

Calendars
Photo Credit Wikipedia

International Pride Calendars

Worldwide Gay Events & Pride Calendar

June Gay Pride Calendar 2014

A Worldwide List of Gay Pride Events Held in June

Gay Pride Calendar

International gay events 2014/2015

 

Pride Month Resources

US Library of Congress

Amnesty International

Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network GLSEN  and Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network GLSEN Educators

Advocates for Youth

Campus Pride

Center for Positive Aging

 

Global (June events)

Scotland

Our Story

Pride Scotia

Canada

Senior Pride Network

World Pride
Brent Hawkes

Brent Hawkes World Pride honoree

Argentina

El 28 de Junio se conmemora mundialmente el día del Orgullo LGBT, este año el festejo se basa en la ampliación de derechos del matrimonio igualitario. En Argentina se prepara un evento reconociendo el compromiso por la igualdad y la no discriminación de referentes artísticos, deportivos, periodísticos, políticos e institucionales.

Mexico

El Día Internacional del Orgullo LGBT (Lesbiana, Gay, Bisexual y Transgénero), también conocido como Día Internacional del Orgullo Gay, es una serie de eventos que cada año los colectivos homosexuales celebran de forma pública para instar por la tolerancia y la igualdad de los gays, lesbianas, bisexuales y transexuales.  clic aquí

Spain

Madrid clic aquí

Calendars
Photo Credit Wikipedia

 

Celebrate Canada 2014

canadaday2014

canadadayfireworks
Photo Credit PEI

Celebrate Canada is an eleven-day celebration that takes place from June 21 to July 1.

Take advantage of Celebrate Canada activities to get together in your communities, to discover and appreciate the wealth and diversity of Canadian society, and show your love of Canada and your pride in being Canadian!

National Aboriginal Day on June 21

In cooperation with national Aboriginal organizations, the Government of Canada designated June 21 National Aboriginal Day. This date was chosen because it corresponds to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and because for generations, many Aboriginal groups have celebrated their culture and heritage at this time of year.

National Aboriginal Day is a wonderful opportunity to become better acquainted with the cultural diversity of Inuit, Métis and First Nations peoples, discover the unique accomplishments of Aboriginal peoples in fields as varied as agriculture, the environment and the arts, and celebrate their significant contribution to Canadian society.

Share in the celebration! National Aboriginal Day website

National Aboriginal Day / La Journée nationale des Autochtones / – June 21

On June 21st, Canadians from all walks of life are invited to participate in the many National Aboriginal Day events that will be taking place from coast to coast to coast.

  • Proclaimed by the Governor General in 1996, National Aboriginal Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the unique achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in fields as diverse as agriculture, the environment, business and the arts. ( Terminology, First Nations – 500 Nations, Métis, Inuit )
  • In cooperation with Aboriginal organizations, the Government of Canada chose June 21st for National Aboriginal Day because it is also the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. For generations, many Aboriginal peoples have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day.
  • The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal peoples: Indians (First Nations), Inuit and Métis. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

zenniePhoto Credit ©iStockphoto.com/zennie

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24

Saint-Jean-Baptiste
Photo credit Eagleonline

La Saint-Jean, la Fête Nationale du Québec, St. Jean Baptiste DayPhoto credit Eagleonline

All across Canada, French Canadians express their cultural pride and rich heritage through colourful parades and lively parties on June 24 marking Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

These festivities combine the ancient rites of the summer solstice – a period of light and hope – with the traditional celebration in honour of the Patron Saint of French Canadians.

Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27

celebratecanada
Photo Credit Market Square

Photo Credit Market Square
On November 13, 2002, the Government of Canada, by Royal Proclamation, designated June 27 of each year as Canadian Multiculturalism Day.

Canadian Multiculturalism Day is an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and our commitment to democracy, equality and mutual respect and to appreciate the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities to Canadian society.

Canada Day on July 1

Canada Day is an opportunity to gather in our communities, from coast to coast to coast, and to proudly celebrate all we have in common. It is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, which were born in the audacious vision and shared values of our ancestors, and which are voiced in nearly all of the languages of the world through the contribution of new Canadians.

Canada Day is a time to celebrate the heritage passed down to us through the works of our authors, poets, artists and performers. It is a time to rejoice in the discoveries of our scientific researchers, in the success of our entrepreneurs, and to commemorate our history – a history in which each new chapter reveals itself to be more touching, more fascinating than the last. (History of the Day)
Photo Credit

 

Vintage greeting card design for Canada Day.Photo Credit

Note: Any mention of summer in this article refers to summer in the northern hemisphere

 

Young Adults Gathering

YA Gathering 2014 Ad for HomepageRegistration is now open for the Young Adult Gathering in July!! The rate is $50.00USD. Register today! Click here to register 

Led by young adults, this Young Adult Retreat will be an experience of meeting and connecting with your peers, having spirited discussions, and working on strategies for empowering our young adults in their home churches and in MCC’s around the world. The retreat will take place July 17-July 20th in St. Louis, MO. The event will begin at approximately 7:00pm on the 17th and will end at approximately 12:00pm on the 20th. This retreat is intended for only those 18-35 years in age.

We will spend time identifying who we are as a young adult group, working to serve others through a service project, discussing the future of MCC with MCC leadership and taking time for Spiritual Connection.

The host church for the retreat is MCC of Greater St. Louis in St. Louis, MO. MCC of Greater St. Louis has graciously agreed to host our retreat in July and will provide lunch and dinner for retreat attendees on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the retreat. We will end our gathering by attending the Sunday morning church service at MCC of Greater St. Louis.

Our hotel for the gathering is the Sheraton St. Louis City Center Hotel (400 South 14th St., St. Louis, MO 63103). The room rate is $99.00 (+ tax). CLICK HERE to reserve your room today.

To keep costs low and make this retreat as accessible as possible we have set the registration rate at $50 per person.

REGISTER HERE

MCC of Greater Saint Louis

1919 S. Broadway

St. Louis, MO 63109 USA

314.361.3221  |  www.mccgsl.org

 

*Proposed Schedule – times and locations subject to change

Thursday – July 17, 2014

5:00pm – 6:45pm – dinner and registration at MCC of Greater Saint Louis (dinner provided by the church)

7:00pm – 7:45pm – worship – praise service

8:00pm – 10:00pm – EMPOWER – Small Group Activities

10:00pm – 10:30pm – large group gathers back at MCC of Greater Saint Louis

 

Friday – July 18, 2014

8:30 – 9:30am – breakfast onsite at MCC of Greater Saint Louis

9:30am – 10:00am – morning spiritual reflection at MCC of Greater Saint Louis

10:00am – 10:15am – break

10:15am – 12:15pm – ENGAGE – large group activity

12:15pm – 1:15pm – lunch provided by MCC of Greater Saint Louis on-site

1:30pm – 2:30pm – ENGAGE – tools and resources for ministry

2:30pm – 3:30pm – workshop on Sexuality and Spirituality

3:30pm – 5:30pm – large group social activity

5:30pm – 6:30pm – dinner provided by MCC of Greater Saint Louis on-site

7:00pm – 8:00pm – worship – creative service with hands on experiences

FREE TIME and social time the rest of the evening

 

Saturday – July 19, 2014

8:30 – 9:30am – breakfast onsite at MCC of Greater Saint Louis

9:30am – 10:00am – morning spiritual reflection at MCC of Greater Saint Louis (Rachel Meyer Lead)

10:00am – 10:15am – break

10:15am – 12:15pm – EMBODY – create action plans

12:15pm – 1:15pm – lunch provided by MCC of Greater Saint Louis on-site

1:30pm – 4:30pm – service project community outreach (AmeriCorps)

4:30pm – 5:30pm – shower and clean up

5:30pm – 7:30pm – dinner and conversation – gather with MCC Leadership Rev. Mona West (in person),

Rev. Nancy Wilson (via skype) dinner provided by MCC of Greater Saint Louis on-site

8:00pm – 9:00pm – worship – Rev. Mona West will lead us in a service of blessing and communion

FREE TIME and social time the rest of the evening

 

Sunday – July 20, 2014

8:30 – 9:30am – breakfast onsite at MCC of Greater Saint Louis

9:30am – arrive at MCC of Greater Saint Louis for morning worship

10:30am – lead and participate in worship at MCC of Greater Saint Louis

12:00pm – closing prayer and pot-luck lunch

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force E-Learning Manager

799px-NGLTF_Logo.svg[1]

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country’s premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people, and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all.

About the Academy for Leadership and Action

The Academy works to develop leadership competencies in three focus areas:

  • The ability to win short-term victories for the LGBT community at the church house, the state house and the ballot box;
  • The ability to build an organization’s capacity to act, which includes the ability to raise money; manage staff, board members, and volunteers; and build long-term relationships with a broad cross-section of progressive movement leadership.
  • The ability to frame publicly LGBT issues within a broader progressive struggle for justice.

E-Learning Manager

Position location: Washington, D.C.

Reports to: Leadership Programs Director

Snapshot of the Position: The E-Learning Manager is responsible for the successful growth and day-to-day management of the Task Force’s innovative Online Organizing Academy.

Strategic Outcomes of the Position:

  • Increase the availability, reach and breadth of Task Force training curriculum and resource materials  through utilizing e-learning / distance learning technologies.
  • Establish the Task Force as the organization leading innovative cutting-edge online training that’s continually fresh and relevant to the needs of the LGBT and Progressive movement.
  • Promote the Online Organizing Academy as a place for innovation, sharing tools, trading organizing  and change making strategies and successes, in short create a virtual community for our partners in  the movement.
  • Create and analyze real and robust data about who it is that we’re reaching and teaching so that we  can hold ourselves accountable and so that we can tailor our methods to meet the needs of our  students, volunteers, community leaders.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage the overall successful refinement and implementation of the OOA business plan, including managing the program budget by actively participating in the annual budgeting process and budget evaluation systems, coordinate and support a robust marketing and communication plan, manage capital purchases required to sustain effective technology, collaborate with the Task Force Development department to raise funds and support smart growth of the business plan, hire and work with necessary contractors;
  • Manage the growth of a robust learner community by creating systems to support individual learners and supervisors on how to maximize results in the OOA with learners and teams of learners, develop strategic opportunities for OOA learners to interact with each other and establish social media platforms to connect learners to one another and to advisors in the movement;
  • Manage an evaluation system to determine the overall program effectiveness;
  • Manage collaborative efforts to integrate the use of the OOA into programmatic work both in and outside of the Academy – for example, Finance and Admin, Winter Party Festival, Pink & Purple, and Creating Change, as well continue to grow the use of the OOA in Academy programming;
  • Manage the development and refinement of curriculum, resource materials, report tools and survey data. This includes expanding the use of e-documents, web video, podcasts, webinars and the like; tracking, building and maintaining a living archive of Academy curricula; and leading a team of instructional designers to build, film, edit and narrate key curricula into the Online Academy format.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Minimum of five years of experience leading the creation and execution of innovative training curriculum around various facets of grassroots organizing, advocacy, fundraising, or organizational development;
  • History of leading strong in-person training within a variety of training environments with a strong command of the components of adult learning theory;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skill; demonstrated ability to communicate with a wide and diverse set of audiences;
  • Ability and experience with conducting needs assessments from partners and stakeholders and using that data to provide appropriate support;
  • Demonstrated familiarity with software applications necessary for developing professionally produced training curriculum and materials;
  • Demonstrated ability to use social media and various technology platforms that engage and support a virtual community; and
  • Some experience contributing to the LGBT movement, as a volunteer or paid staff person.

At times, this position may require extensive travel – applicants should be willing to travel a minimum of 10 days per month.

COMPENSATION: Commensurate with experience. Provides excellent benefits — health, dental and vision insurance; annual and sick leave; 403(b) plan with employer contributions.

This position is part of our collective bargaining unit.

Please submit a cover letter and resume addressing your experience relevant to these responsibilities and qualifications and describing your interest in being a member of the Task Force staff. If possible, please submit the names, affiliations and contact information for three references. Applications submitted via e-mail for this position should be directed to hr@theTaskForce.org; please write “E-Learning Manager” in the subject line. No phone calls, please.

The Task Force is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, personal appearance, family responsibility, political affiliation or any other status protected by applicable law. Women, transgender people, veterans and people of color are encouraged to apply.

Lenten Meditation for Easter Sunday (20 April 2014)

Easter Sunday
(20 April 2014)
by Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson

Matthew 28: 1-10

Most Easters, for the last 42 or so, I have preached from the beloved story in John’s gospel. John’s account of Mary Magdalene in the garden — her intimate encounter with the Risen Jesus — is so personal and compelling that the lectionary always offers it as one of the readings.

Yet today, I am fascinated with Matthew’s gospel portion, which includes earthquakes in the account of the death of Jesus (Matthew 27: 51 and 54), as well as in the story of Jesus’ resurrection. In fact, Jesus’ resurrection is preceded and followed by accounts of tombs being opened by the quakes and many “saints” roaming about the city!

Earthquakes of the Bible
(Photo: icr.org)

The earthquake in Matthew 28:2 accompanies the appearance of an angel whose appearance reminds us of the Transfiguration, whose illumination is compared to “lightning” and “snow.” This is a fierce angel, reminiscent of the one who appeared to Daniel. Apocalypse all around.

It is very dramatic, perhaps the most cosmically dramatic of all the resurrection accounts. I was in Los Angeles recently and experienced a mild quake (4.4) while on the 6th floor of a hotel, reminding me of other more lethal earthquakes in my own past. The Northridge earthquake in 1994 killed over 100 people and damaged or destroyed over 80 churches, including the one owned by Founder’s MCC, where I was pastor at the time. In the aftermath, as part of my own healing from the trauma of that day, I learned that earthquakes are the way in which the earth’s surface is reshaped. The earth naturally heaves and spews lava and has done so long before humans tried to inhabit the most tectonically unstable places.

lava
(Photo: dinosaurtheory.com)

Earthquakes are a natural phenomenon, a sign of the “aliveness” of our planet, whose molten core erupts powerfully to the surface from time to time, rupturing ocean floors, sending tidal waves, and ripping open faults on the earth, many of them still unknown to us. Only dead planets have no earthquakes.

And even today, with all our scientific capabilities, we are not able to predict earthquakes with the kind of accuracy that we need. Especially in these days as climate change and pollution threaten the health of our planet as never before, the earth is not just something “acted upon” by us — rather, it is also an actor, a participant in the cosmic drama. The earth itself is full of surprises, then and now. So, why this connection of earthquakes to Jesus’ Resurrection? Here are some thoughts as we prepare for Easter this year The Resurrection was meant to be a shattering event, one that would shake the disciples and the power structures! It was not just a happy post-script, a reward for Jesus’ going through the violent crucifixion. Easter Sunday morning was not a Disney ending with the sweetness of birds singing; it was violent, and in its own way, shocking. It included the shaking of the foundations, something new that would alter every life it touched. The world, and reality, turning upside down. Love and justice triumphing over raw power and hatred. This was a cosmic event, bringing together heaven and earth, as the two worlds intersected. The earthquakes in Matthew’s story are a clue this resurrection of Jesus, and all it demands of us, is bigger than my world, my perceptions, or my capacity to fully understand. It is bigger than religion — my friend, Joshua DuBois, says, “Never do violence to Jesus in the service of religion.” To me, this means Jesus was, and is, bigger than religion, than any narrow container might hope to be. And containing or controlling Jesus does violence to him and to the God who was present in him (and in those earthquakes too!) As if we could control who Jesus wants to love, or use, or shake to the foundations!

Charles C. West quote
(Photo: izquotes.com)

Earthquakes change the direction of rivers sometimes (like the Mississippi centuries ago), the height of mountains, and the contours of earth and oceans. Jesus’ resurrection changed the direction of all who followed him and many who resisted him. How has God called you to places and directions you never expected?

Also, the phrase “have no fear,” or “do not be afraid,” appears four times in this story. Every time that word or phrase appears, especially in the gospels, it makes me laugh. Fear is a natural response to earthquakes of any kind, real or metaphorical — like when we are asked to believe the unbelievable, to do the unimaginable. When we celebrate Easter, we are invited to imagine the first ones who were so terrified. As I read Matthew’s account, Mary and Mary Magdalene were keeping vigil at the tomb early that morning, “as the first light of the new week dawned….” As they were there in quiet, pain-filled grief, “the earth reeled and rocked under their feet.” In front of their stunned gaze, an angel rolled the huge stone away, and it sounds like the guards were “slain” in the spirit. It is a tall order indeed to be told after that, “Do not be afraid!” Right! But the women left the tomb, “afraid yet filled with joy.” As they ran to tell the disciples, Jesus himself meets them, echoing the command to not be afraid.

Brene Brown quote
(Photo: oprah.com)

In this volatile, earthquake-ridden, complex world, there seems plenty of reason to be afraid, every day. The only question for us is, will we have to courage to leave an empty tomb — with our fears and our joy — help shake the foundations, and love the world that God so loved?

  • Lenten Meditation for Easter Sunday (20 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Holy Saturday (19 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Good Friday (18 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Passion Sunday (13 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Palm Sunday (13 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Fifth Sunday (6 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Fourth Sunday (30 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Third Sunday (23 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Second Sunday (16 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the First Sunday (9 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Ash Wednesday (5 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Holy Saturday (19 April 2014)

    Holy Saturday
    (19 April 2014)
    by Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West

    “So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock.”

    Matthew 27:59-60

    The scene of the burial of Jesus is one of the most tender in all of scripture for me. Matthew’s gospel tells us it is Joseph of Arimethea who asks for Jesus’ body. In John’s gospel, Nicodemus is there too. His presence makes me believe that somehow he did understand Jesus when he had that nighttime conversation about being born again. And while scripture does not mention Mary the Mother of Jesus in the story of his burial, the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo has poignantly depicted in the Pieta the depth of tenderness between mother and son as Mary holds the broken body of Jesus.

    Vatican Pieta 1964
    (Photo: tnc3.org)

    With the shock and horror of the crucifixion still fresh in their memory, these friends and family of Jesus caress his broken body in their arms one last time before they release their loved one into the arms of the earth.

    These scenes are a prelude to Holy Saturday. While the movement of Palm Sunday has been one of entry, and the movement of Easter morning will be rising, the movement of Holy Saturday is one of descent. Jesus must descend from the cross into the depths of the earth before he will be raised on ‘the third day.’

    With Earth Day occurring two days after Easter, it is fitting to think about Holy Saturday as a ‘day of the earth.’ The Psalms attest to the glory of God in all of creation, and the apostle Paul reminds us that all of creation groans for redemption. Jesus’ descent into the arms of the earth indicates that salvation is a cosmic event.

    Wendy Wright, in her book The Rising, indicates that in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, “salvation is envisioned not primarily as the rescue of the individual sinner through the sacrifice on the cross but as the transfiguration of the entire world through the descending-ascending process of God becoming what we are and our becoming what God is.” (p. 108)

    Earth Day - Dana Gray
    (Art: Dana Gray)

    Holy Saturday invites us to move beyond a privatized understanding of salvation to consider our relationship to the earth. Part of my Lenten discipline this year was to slow down and be more present to the beauty of creation. I practiced this by taking long walks most of the days of Lent, and instead of seeing myself as an observer of nature, I imagined myself as a participant in the beautiful scenes — sort of like a Lectio Divina walk in nature! To my amazement and wonder, I experienced creation reaching out to me. It was as if the birds, the limbs on the trees, squirrels, and deer were all coming to meet me on my walk. I experienced myself as part of a great cosmic whole that emanates from God’s love and keeping (as Julian of Norwich would say).

    “For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.”

    1 Peter 4:6

    Scripture and tradition speak of another descent Jesus makes on Holy Saturday — his descent to Sheol, or Hades, to redeem the righteous dead. This ‘harrowing of hell,’ as it is often called, grows out of tradition in the Hebrew Bible, which indicates that in the messianic age God will vindicate all those who have died a righteous death. The iconography of Eastern Orthodox Christianity regarding this tradition depicts Jesus riding his cross down into the depths of the earth and bringing such figures as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and even the good thief on the cross up from the grave.

    Harrowing of Hell
    (Photo: calledtocommunion.com)

    Wendy Wright reflects, “The descent to the dead as it is elucidated in that tradition speaks symbolically to the length and breadth of divine compassion, to the extent of the redemptive promise….” (p.108)

    Not only is this descent a symbol of the depth of divine compassion, it also points to the corporate dimension of resurrection. It is tempting to think about resurrection as a one-time individual event, which guarantees eternal life. Holy Saturday reminds us that out of the depths of God’s compassion, new life is always happening, and we are invited to participate through our acts of compassion.

    The Apostle Paul reminds us that the same spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in each of us. So, this Easter Sunday, while we are singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” look for signs of resurrection in the faces of people around you.

  • Lenten Meditation for Easter Sunday (20 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Holy Saturday (19 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Good Friday (18 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Passion Sunday (13 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Palm Sunday (13 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Fifth Sunday (6 April 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Fourth Sunday (30 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Third Sunday (23 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the Second Sunday (16 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for the First Sunday (9 March 2014)
  • Lenten Meditation for Ash Wednesday (5 March 2014)