When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Sovereign your God. –Leviticus 19:33-34 (CEB)
SOS: Save Our Children
The world is facing a humanitarian crisis along the border between the United States of America and Mexico. Over 50,000 young people have arrived in the U.S. seeking freedom from violence and oppression and opportunities for meaningful work and basic education. They are innocent children—our sons and daughters, cousins, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, God’s children. They are crying out in need. The world must respond with favor, compassion, and resources. Indifference would be the most awful thing in the world.
Being compassionate requires us to examine the reasons families have in sending their vulnerable children to cross the border. A wave of violence has swept the central parts of Latin America, violence unseen in recent history. Children and their families are making the rational choice to seek shelter and refuge outside of their home countries and in the United States because the treachery of the journey and the uncertain fate awaiting them there pales in comparison to the known threats on their lives at home. They seek nothing more than a better life. As people of faith, we cannot idly sit by and let their struggles and their hopes be in vain.
Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute call on elected and appointed officials at all levels of government and society to provide safe harbor for these children. Housing them in anything less than stable homes is inhumane. Robbing them of educational opportunities, suitable food, fresh clothing, and connection with loved ones in the U.S. is unjust. We must not treat them like criminals. They are our children. They are the world’s children. As such, they are gifts to be cherished. We invite faith leaders of every tradition to join us in this call for justice.
We call on governments from around the world to address the violence in Latin America that is driving migration. We call on the U.S. government to open our immigration system so that civil society can care for these children. The crisis highlights the need for comprehensive immigration reform and we call on the Congress to take that measure back up. Through the lens of compassion, let us see this crisis. Through the lens of faith, may be stand up and respond.
This statement prepared by Kareem Murphy on behalf of The Moderator’s Public Policy Team,
Metropolitan Community Churches, The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.
To contact the Public Policy Team: RevJim@RevJim.org.
Support the Next Young Adult Leadership Mentoring Retreat
From the Office of the Moderator
Dear LMR Graduates,
I was so proud, at General Conference 25 in Chicago, Illinois, USA, this year, to see so many of you participating and leading in MCC! In the last three years or so, many of you have stepped up your leadership in your local church and in the denomination — as Network leaders, leaders of MCC committees, working with our key programs, teaching, training, and serving in so many ways.
Many from the Young Adult LMR are included in that impressive list — and I saw them, very visible at Conference, recruiting for the upcoming YA LMR, 1-4 November 2013. Several of them mentioned to me that the Young Adult hospitality suite was crowded and a powerful place of connection and support for MCC’ers from all over the world.
I want us to be able to continue our “tradition” of being able to offer free room, board, and tuition to Young Adults seeking to deepen their commitment to a leadership path in MCC. Thus far, we have been able to offer a full or partial scholarship to everyone who needed it so that they only had to provide their own transportation to the retreat.
There are 18 Young Adults who will be ready to answer the call to “Be MCC!”
Can you help me help them afford to be there?
Your donations have always made the difference, every time.
Our goal is $7,260 USD.
Meanwhile, you continue to be our best recruiters, so take the time to think about who would benefit from attending a Leadership Mentoring Retreat. Encourage people to take advantage of this program. The details are already set for next year’s LMR. It will also be held at DaySpring Conference Center in Florida (USA), 20-23 January 2014.
Finally, pray for us as we plan ahead and consider how to make LMR more accessible and available to more people in the coming years as our global movement continues to attract the very best in leadership.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson
Your Financial Donation Makes the Difference
Help me meet our goal!
Our goal is to raise $7,260 USD. Your donations will pay for lodging and meals for each Young Adult participant. Although instructors donate their time, donations also assist in costs related to LMR Faculty transportation, lodging, and meals.Take a moment now to write to me and offer your financial pledge. Although we can gladly accept your donations now, you can also pledge a donation today and then send a check to the Moderator’s Office by 1 October 2013.
MCC Moderator’s Office
3293 Fruitville Road, Suite 105
Sarasota, FL 34237
For more information about the Young Adult Leadership Mentoring Retreat, how to donate,
or general questions, contact Linda Brenner-Beckstead, Assistant to the Moderator.
Linda@MCCchurch.net +1 941.755.5771
As LMR and YA LMR graduates, you are our best recruiters. Here are three ways you can get the right people to the Young Adult Leadership Mentoring Retreat:
Talk to young adults who are ready to pursue and grow their leadership skills. Give them the link to MCC’s website (MCCchurch.org) and tell them to click on the LMR graphic. It will take them to a page filled with information about YA LMR.
Generate excitement about the retreat and post pictures from your LMR or YA LMR experiences on your Facebook page, MCC’s Facebook page or my Facebook page. If you are creative, make a 20-30 second promotional video and email me the YouTube link. We’ll select some and upload them to my Facebook page!
Although we need financial donations to make this retreat possible, your prayers are the most powerful blessing. Pray for young adults to hear their calling to this retreat. Pray for our instructors to be guided to create a relevant and spiritually rich experience.
|International STAND UP to Bullying Day is a special semi-annual event in which participants sign and wear a pink “pledge shirt” to take a visible, public stance against bullying. The event takes place in schools, workplaces, and organizations in 25 countries across the globe on the third Friday of November to coincide with Anti-bullying week, and then again on the last Friday of February.
International Bullying Prevention Association
The mission of the International Bullying Prevention Association is to support and enhance quality research based bullying prevention principles and best practices in order to achieve a safe school climate, healthy work environment, good citizenship and civic responsibility.
It has taken more than three decades of academic study of bullying behaviors, public revelations and attention to the true consequences for those who bully and those who are bullied and world-wide media coverage of incidents of unspeakable cruelty, suicide, and homicide, to bring educators, students, law enforcement, health care workers, and parents together in a global effort to do something about it. Bullying hurts and for those involved, the hurt can last a lifetime. As a world, we are learning that bullying behavior can be the root of serious violent situations in our schools. Many countries have adopted policies and procedures for Safe Schools.
Project Anti-Bully is a non-profit 501(c)(3) run by students for students that raises awareness of the prevalence of bullying in schools globally through community-based research. Project Anti-Bully has headquarters in the United States of America and affiliates in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, El Salvador, England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Scotland, Sweden, Taiwan, The Philippines, and Uruguay.
Pink might seem like an odd color when trying to get people to take a stand against bullying. The color is completely based on a stand that was taken in the fall at Central Kings High School, in Cambridge, Nova Scotia. A freshmen student was making his first appearance in a new high school. The boy showed up in the morning wearing a pink polo shirt. Some school bullies verbally abused him for his choice of color. They used some vulgar words, and made him feel very upset. Two senior students heard about the bullying taking place, and decided to take a stand against it. http://www.standupday.com/08/
Anti-Bullying Week 2013 is calling on children and young people to take the lead on creating a future without bullying – using new technologies. http://www.bullying.co.uk/
Together we can stop bullying and create safe environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn. http://www.anti-
Anti-Bullying Campaign (ABC) South Africa
The aim of the ABC is to oppose the culture and practice of bullying within the CRC/Children’s Movement – and to lay the basis for a culture of tolerance and peace, and a commitment to using peaceful methods to resolve conflict.
ABC committees have been established in most of the communities and schools where the CRC/Children’s Movement operates. The formation of the ABC has given rise to the establishment of a Girl Child Organisation as part of the children’s movement. http://www.childrensmovement.
Anti Bully & Abuse Foundation
The ABA Foundation will stand as a national body where people can turn to and feel safe, a structure where children and parent experience a tangible, physical system protecting our children, and working towards a safe school environment. http://abafoundation.
Rob Frenette, 20 and Katie Neu, 18 the Founders of BullyingCanada.ca, a Youth-Created Anti-Bullying Website are very pleased to announce the official launch of a national toll-free line for youth, parents, and the general public up to date information related to bullying.
As some areas of the country return to normalcy, schools start the year tackling bullying problems
A program to reduce bullying within Chile’s schools has shown positive results since its introduction in 2005. The Paz Educa Program aims to produce and promote observation-based research in order to prevent school violence in Chile.
In the US – October – Bully Prevention Month
This month, groups across the country committed to stop bullying will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to this important issue facing our youth.Bullying Prevention Month is not new. In fact, it has been around for several years. What started as an awareness week initiated byPACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in October 2006, the event has evolved into a month’s worth of events and activities to raise awareness and provide the latest resources to those who need it. National partners in 2006 included the National Education Association, National PTA, American Federation for Teachers, and National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education. PACER recognized that students, parents, and people throughout the country needed to become more aware of the serious consequences of bullying. The point of National Bullying Prevention Month was to transform a society that accepts bullying into a society that recognizes that bullying must – and can – be addressed through education and support. Read more at StopBullying.govPacerJoin the movement!The End of Bullying Begins with Me: that’s the message during PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month in October. It’s a time when communities can unite nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention through events, activities, outreach, and education. Resources from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center make it easy to take action. PACER created the campaign in 2006 with a one-week event which has now evolved into a month-long effort that encourages everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement. Get your toolkit and more. Print the Digital Petition Flyers and display them at your school or organization. Elementary Petition Flyer Middle / High School Petition Flyer
How It Got Started
National Bullying Prevention Month was started in 2006 by the PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to raise awareness about this important issue and what people can do about it. Communities, schools and individuals are encouraged to participate in understanding this problem and getting involved in outreach efforts and educating people. Businesses and organizations like Facebook, Yahoo!Kids and CNN have gotten involved to get the word out. PACER was inspired to create the month as a way of showing people that bullying isn’t just a “rite of passage” for every kid, for some it can lead to terrible emotional, psychological and physical pain that no one should endure.
“Make it Orange and Make it End,” is the Unity Day slogan. This year Unity Day is on October 10th, people are encouraged to wear the color orange on this day to show their solidarity with the bullying prevention cause, even Ellen DeGeneres got involved last year by wearing an orange anti-bullying shirt on her show! You can also hand out “unity” ribbons and buttons at your school or write “unity” on your binders to create awareness.
What Can I Do?
If you want to get involved with National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month you should let your parents, school and classmates know. There are lots of activities available via the Bullying Prevention Center, as well as group activities and discussions that you could easily organize in your class and among friends. Here are a few ideas for supporting the cause:
Read more: Bullying Prevention Awareness Month http://www.kidzworld.com/article/27443-bullying-prevention-awareness-month#ixzz2cdlhVjXu National Child Traumatic Stress Network In support of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is providing resources for families, teens, educators, clinicians, mental health professionals, and law enforcement personnel on how to recognize, deal with, and prevent bullying. Read more.
Featured NCTSN Resources
Teaching Tolerance When nearly one in five students is bullied each year, it’s no wonder the topic is on educators’ minds. Teachers want to make their classrooms safe, supportive learning environments. Administrators want positive school climates. Both are looking for tools to reach these goals. To meet their needs, Teaching Tolerance offers an abundance of professional development tools, classroom activities, magazine articles and blogs dedicated to the topic. When you have an immediate question, though, finding what you’re looking for among such extensive resources can be daunting.
NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts With Me
The NEA Bullying Prevention Kit
Designed by educators for educators, this kit reflects the best available research on bullying prevention. To access different subject areas, click on the colored tabs. Download here
ESP RESOURCES AND TOOLS
For Principals and Teachers
Enough is enough! Stand4Change and help put an end to bullying.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month in the US, the NYTimes has updated their full list of resources on bullying and cyberbullying for the occasion.
Use the links below to find resources on bullying and cyberbullying:
STOP The Drama… END The Hate… STOMP Out Bullying
A National Anti-Bullying And Cyber Bullying Organization For Kids And Teens
STOMP Out BullyingTM Student Participation Toolkit
Act Against Bullying And Cyberbullying Now
Exodus International leader Alan Chambers apologized recently for the harm done to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by the so-called “ex-gay” movement. In that moment, the face that came to mind for me was the bruised, burned and emaciated face of 15-year-old Raymond Buys.
In 2011, Raymond was sent to a South African boot camp where boys — especially effeminate boys, or boys who were thought to be gay — were supposed to become men. The camp directors are now on trial for torturing Raymond to death. I am haunted by photos of his emaciated body in the hospital bed where he looks like a victim of a Nazi death camp.
Alan Chambers can apologize for suicides, deaths, lost years and damage to families, but his apology is only as good as real actions to counter the lies spread throughout the world by Exodus and other groups that underpin so much anti-LGBT persecution. Religious people who promoted ex-gay programs must bring the same fervor to saving our lives as they have brought to trying to separate our souls from our God-given sexual orientations and gender identities.
Around the world, effeminate boys and masculine girls continue to be tortured, raped and sometimes murdered with the tacit support of so-called “ex-gay” movements. For decades, they have promoted the lie that LGBT people could be heterosexual if we really wanted to and prayed hard enough.
Even in a country with constitutional protections like South Africa, Raymond’s mother was not immune to homophobia. Raymond’s mother thought her son could man up with a little help from a boot camp.
She was devastated by his death and learned through testimony that Raymond had been chained to his bed for extended periods and left in his own soil. Tortures included being forced to eat his own feces, and camp leaders put a pillowcase over his head and used an electric cattle prod on his fragile body. When he arrived at the hospital, he had multiple burns, his bones were broken, and he was starved and dehydrated. Medical attention came too late.
Too many mothers and fathers send their children to military boot camps or through so-called “ex-gay” or “reparative therapy” programs where debunked psychology is enmeshed with religious bigotry to produce persecution and unwarranted shame.
Alan Chambers’ apology is historic, but apologies from others who left these pseudoscientific programs have not been able to stop the purveyors of “ex-gay” lies. Exodus International is shutting its doors, but Exodus Global Alliance is still perpetrating spiritual violence against LGBT people around the world. Spokespeople like Alan Chambers must step up and condemn these programs as well.
What led up to this moment?
Chambers is not the first “ex-gay” program survivor to come out and apologize. Michael Bussee, founder of Exodus, recanted years ago and now spends his life working for equality.John Paulk, a one-time Focus on the Family star who was once featured on the cover ofNewsweek as “ex-gay,” said he is gay and expressed regret for the harm his work had done.
Some are outed. Paulk only apologized after being photographed in a gay bar. Matt Moorewas caught on a hookup site called Grindr. Moore is still saying that he was using Grindr to just see who was “in the neighborhood.” After being caught, Moore sold his computer, locked his phone, ended his blog and said more “seasoned believers” than he should be in the public eye.
When secrets, lies and obsessions combine with dogma and vulnerable people, it is always a disaster.
For example, Aubrey Levin (dubbed “Dr. Shock”) was arrested in Canada after a career of torturing gay men with electric shock aversion “therapies” in South Africa. He moved to Canada, where he continued to prey on vulnerable men. Finally, he was stopped when one of his court-mandated patients secretly recorded a session where Levin sexually abused him.
In another public debacle, a Florida newspaper photographed George Alan Rekers, a board member of NARTH (North American Reparative Therapy), vacationing with a “rent boy.” He tried to say the man was there to carry his luggage for him.
In New Jersey, Chaim Levin and three other men recently filed suit against leaders of JONAH, a Jewish “reparative therapy” network. Levin’s description of being told to strip naked as part of his therapy is shocking.
Tragically, much of the efforts to convert lesbian and gay people are deeply rooted in misguided religious beliefs. Originally, groups like Exodus and NARTH tried to position themselves as traditional counseling and psychotherapy, but no research has held up under scrutiny, and key players like Joseph Nicolosi and Richard A. Cohen lost all credibility as a result of ethics violations.
There is no viable scientific support for “ex-gay” programs. In 2007, the American Psychological Association assigned a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The task force reviewed more than 80 studies, which were overwhelmingly flawed, and none could prove that sexual orientation could be changed.
In 2012, the researcher highly cited by conservatives, Dr. Robert Spitzer, apologized for his own research in which he interviewed people in the so-called “ex-gay” movement and asked them if they had changed their sexual orientation. Of course, a few claimed to have changed, but there was never proof.
With the veil of scientific legitimacy in shreds, the only remaining smoke screen has been religion.
In a 2009 study on “ex-gay” programs, researchers from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force concluded:
Young people are now being used as ammunition in the evangelical Christian and political right-wing’s war against equality for LGBT Americans. Ex-gay organizations, in particular, have taken what used to be an intensely personal process (coming out to one’s self, friends and family) and have created dedicated programs and conferences that link the personal lives of young people to battles over same-sex marriage and the election of conservative political leaders.
When Christians from almost 200 countries gathered in South Africa for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, the “ex-gay” movement was there. This time, it was the Exodus Global Alliance. This 2010 conference was the largest evangelical gathering in recent history. Exodus presenters claimed there are no more than a few thousand gay people in each African country, and that these are all products of the West. They intone that being gay is not a greater sin but say no other sin has a movement for acceptance. A speaker parroted the completely discredited myths about rejection, sexual abuse and distant fathers as “causes” for being gay.
In a world that allows Raymond Buys to be tortured to death because he was a soft and delicate boy, the travesties continue.
Even though nine countries in Europe, several in Latin America, and South Africa have marriage equality, more than 70 countries throughout the world have laws making same-gender love illegal, and in seven countries, being gay is punishable by execution.
What is critical to understand is that conservatives who claim they are acting out of Christian love are exporting these same defamed and debunked conversion “treatments” all around the world as a “gentler and softer” alternative to prison and execution. These same people are perfectly willing to label gay people as evil and sinful and then are surprised when punitive laws are enforced and people in the street begin to take the law into their own hands and attack and kill people they believe are gay.
Just last week, USA Today reported that an evangelical pastor appointed to head Brazil’s Human Rights Commission led the committee to approve a bill to make it legal for psychologists to treat homosexuality as a disorder or pathology. Where is the voice of Alan Chambers on this scandal?
Whether it is in the United States, South Africa, China, Africa, Latin America or Eastern Europe, homophobia is still at work, and too many evangelicals are still trying to position “ex-gay” ministries as the compassionate approach.
They are not!
Whether it is the death penalty, prison, shock treatment, laws that silence, or conversion therapy, all of it kills. Whether it kills the spirit, promotes suicide or results in the death penalty, carnage lies in its wake.
Raymond Buys, rest in peace. I will not forget you. I will not forget your broken body. I will stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who defend our young people who are LGBT or gender-nonconforming. Your journey ended, but your story continues.
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” This week, gay Boy Scouts are prepared for equality. At the same time, they are prepared for discrimination. They know that even if the policy changes to allow gay Boy Scouts, there will still be those who discriminate. There will be those who are frightened by change and by the full range of human expression of love and family.
read the full article on the washington post website http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/05/22/prepared-for-change-there-have-always-been-gay-boy-scouts
As more and more children and youth and their families come through the doors of MCC, having a program designed just for them is essential.If there is no program you will soon lose those families to churches who realize that this is an important under served population in our community.
To help your congregation, MCC offers this listing of resources by age groups including descriptions, websites, and in many cases an MCC contact person who has used the program. Individuals listed as “Resource Person” are MCC program leaders within a local church and have agreed to have their name and email address included. Please use these individuals to help navigate any questions about specific programs.
If you or your church has had excellent experience with resources please email Rev. Arlene Ackerman .
The following alphabetical list of resources is for use by local churches offering children’s Sunday school and/or Vacation Bible School (VBS).
Center For Progressive Christianity Ages 6 – 10: “A Joyful Path” is available for purchase. The curriculum is free from dogma and creed and does not make reference to the atonement/sacrifice issue that is in classical Christianity. It treats Jesus as a teacher of a way to live a fulfilling and spiritual life. It respects and celebrates the many wisdom teachings that exist and focuses on a joyful path and finding God within all. http://progressivechristianity.org/childrens-curriculum/
Cokesbury - ages 3 – 13, many options available for purchase from http://www.cokesbury.com/forms/curriculum.aspx?lvl=Children
Live BIG curriculum – theologically love based, multi-ethnic/racial, multi-media. Some adapting needed. Resource person – Joel Palomares, Youth Ministries Program Coordinator at Resurrection MCC, Houston, TX ().
“Grow, Proclaim, Serve ”curriculum, http://www.growproclaimserve.com/. This program was created and released by the United Methodist Church. The program is age appropriate and easy to implement with a volunteer staff. It also features work books and fun packs for the children and resource material that follows the week to week curriculum.
Cokesbury – ages 6 months to 3 years
SundaySchool Group – ages 3 – 13, many options available for purchase. Sundayschool.group.com
The Group uses different programs for different ages groups. Theologically evangelical, love based, multi-racial, and multimedia. Some adapting needed.
United Church of Christ – ages 3 – 18 Gather ‘Round, just a few options available free of charge. https://secure3.convio.net/ucc/site/Ecommerce/64022948?FOLDER=1190&store_id=1401
BluefishTV – ages 13 – 21 & adult - There are many any options available for purchase and some free downloads. Good selection of programs, multimedia, reasonably priced, bible based material. Some adapting needed. http://www.bluefishtv.com/Home
MCC Teen Ministry – “You! A Faith That Fits” Ages 13 – 17, minimal cost, designed specifically for MCC youth. Much of the religious education material that is available for teens is so inappropriate for use in MCC and can not be easily adapted because it is very denominational in nature or because it addresses questions of faith and sexuality in ways that are hurtful. This program is designed to serve as part of a spiritual rite of passage. The curriculum attempts to address some of the basic questions of adolescent faith development in an atmosphere of loving acceptance of them and their families. It is designed for small, mixed-age groups and is very flexible offering numerous options for each of the twelve sessions. Resource person –). To order, call 281-940-1558 or
“Tree of Life” - developed by MCC Omaha – a teen and preteen led worship resources. Contact MCC Omaha
The following are resources not necessarily limited to a Sunday school or youth group program.
Kid Spirit – ages 11 – 15, is a new coed quarterly magazine for with great articles. It is also a unique forum for kids who are curious about the meaning of life and age-old questions that affect us all. They want to help the young people of the world show their colors and share each others’ belief systems, cultures, art, traditions, ideas and values. Their goal is to share many perspectives and encourage each other to think about what is important in our lives and in our world. (Learn More)