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
World Student Christian Federation
North America Regional Office
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 700
New York, NY 10115
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
“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/
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.
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
|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.
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.
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.
|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|
|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
Photo Credit Wikipedia
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.
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
Madrid clic aquí
Photo Credit Wikipedia
|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!
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
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.
Photo Credit ©iStockphoto.com/zennie
Photo credit Eagleonline
La Saint-Jean, la Fête Nationale du Québec, St. Jean Baptiste DayPhoto credit Eagleonline
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.
|Photo Credit Market Square|
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 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)
Note: Any mention of summer in this article refers to summer in the northern hemisphere
Registration 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.
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
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:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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?
(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.”
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.
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)
(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.
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.