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Archive for the ‘Clergy’ Category

Synergy! Clergy Retreat 2011!

Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

Synergy! – “The effect that is created by the combined

cooperative efforts of a willing community.”

More News & Information from OFLD

Click here to view a new resource for clergy beginning a pastoral search.

Not a member of the US Board of Pensions? Click here to find out more information about this important retirement resource.

Is your church looking for a speaker or wanting to plan a book event?  Chris Glaser is an MCC Clergy person and has published widely in the area of LGBT spirituality. His latest book is titled, The Final Deadline: What Death Has Taught Me About Life. To contact Chris go to his website at

A friend and ally of MCC, Frank Schaffer, has recently published the book SEX, MOM and GOD: How the Bible’s Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics–and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway. To find out more about the book and Frank’s availability for speaking engagements contact him .

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Diana Butler Bass

Reflect, Renew, Refresh!

OFLD Clergy Retreat with Diana Butler BassSeptember 12-14, 2011
Duncan Retreat Center, Delray Beach, FL

Come join us in sunny Florida, September 12-14 for a time of clergy renewal and retreat!  More and more studies are indicating the work of clergy in a post-modern culture can quickly lead to burn out.  The OFLD is offering this retreat as a time for MCC clergy to come together to reflect on their calling, renew their spirits and refresh their souls.  We are not going to ‘over program’ this retreat.  There will be time for connection and sharing, prayer, and walking on the beach.  Diana Butler Bass will be with us all day on September 13 and we will have opportunity to engage her in an intimate retreat setting as she shares how clergy can take care of themselves and their families while staying grounded in their calling during a time when Christendom is radically changing.

Cost of the retreat is $275 US which includes 2 nights lodging (double occupancy with a private bath and wireless internet) and six meals.  The $275 rate is good until May 5, 2011. After May 5 through July 5, 2011 cost for the retreat will be $325.  Absolute deadline for all registrations is July 5, 2011.  Click here to register.

Thanks to a generous donation from MCC Austin, the OFLD will be able to offer a limited number of scholarships to help with the cost of registration for the retreat.  Please contact Rev. Dr. Mona West () to inquire about scholarship applications.

For more information on Diana Butler Bass and to view a video of one of her presentations go to To find out more about the Duncan Retreat Center go to

Lilly Endowment Renewal Grants for Pastors

Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic Renewalfoundation, seeks to strengthen Christian congregations by providing an opportunity for pastors to step away briefly from the obligations of parish life and engage in a period of renewal, intentional exploration, and reflection. In the 2011 National Clergy Renewal Program, the Endowment anticipates awarding as many as 150 grants of up to $50,000 each directly to Christian congregations for the support of a renewal program for their pastor. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program. Deadline for submission of proposals is May 12, 2011. For more information, go to

Prayer Request: Rev. Elder Jean White

A Prayer Request from the Desk of Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson

Dear MCC Pastors, Members and Friends:


Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson

As many of you may know, Rev Elder Jean White has been ill for some time and unfortunately was rushed into hospital on Saturday morning.

On Sunday evening she received news that her latest scan shows that the original tumour has both grown and spread to her liver and lungs.

Rev Elder Jean has been in considerable pain over the last couple weeks, but staff are now managing her pain well.

I have asked Rev Janice Bowker to offer care and support to Rev Elder Jean, her partner Mary and members of MCC South London; I am in frequent contact with Jean and Mary, as well as Rev Bowker and Marina Laws in the Network Office.

Rev Elder Darlene Garner will be meeting with members of MCC South London later this week, when she visits Manchester, to offer additional support and assistance.

I would ask you all to add Rev Elder Jean, her partner Mary, all their friends and loved ones, along with members of MCC South London to your prayers.

Grace and Peace,

+ Nancy

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson
Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches

2010 Clergy License Renewal

Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

Mona West
Rev. Mona West
Director of Formation and Leadership Development
P.O. Box 1374
Abilene, TX 79604


Skype: mona.west1

Ritchie Crownfield

Ritchie Crownfield
Executive Assistant to OFLD
PO Box 14309
Atlanta GA 30324

SKYPE Ritchie.Crownfield
404-848-9824 fax

September 15, 2010

Dear Clergy Colleagues,

It’s that time of year again–time to file your annual license renewal. This really is so much more than just filling out the paperwork and sending in your money! Here are two reasons why. The Office of Formation and Leadership Development gets requests throughout the year from churches that are in pastoral search wanting to verify that a candidate has an active license. Often MCC Clergy contact us needing a letter of endorsement indicating that they are clergy in good standing with MCC. Having up-to-date paperwork allows the OFLD to make those verifications.

And, the fee that you pay every year helps with the ongoing work of Clergy Development through REVM programs for incoming clergy candidates as well as retreats, conferences and continuing education opportunities for currently ordained clergy.

The fee for clergy licenses for 2011 is $175 for active clergy wishing to renew and $50 for retired clergy wishing a limited license to practice. The annual status form can be downloaded or completed on line at .

Forms and fees are due by December 31, 2010. Incremental late fees will be assessed for forms received after January 1, 2011. Please see chart below.

Before December 31, 2010 $175

January 1-February 28, 2011 $225

After March 1, 2011 $300

Please be reminded that the Clergy Manual states status forms must be filed annually and failure to do so can result in a defacto resignation.

If you have extenuating circumstances concerning the payment of the fee or certification of your Triple A ministry please do not hesitate to contact me at before December 31, 2010.

As always, I am honored to call you colleagues and grateful for the work you do as ordained clergy in MCC.



Queer History Class Registration is Open

Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

Mona West

Rev. Mona West, Ph.D
Director of Formation and Leadership Development

P.O. Box 1374
Abilene, TX 79604
Skype: mona.west1

Ritchie Crownfield

PO Box 14309
Atlanta GA 30324

SKYPE Ritchie.Crownfield
404-848-9824 fax

The MCC Office of Formation and Leadership Development is offering Queer History with The Rev. Dr.Joan Saniuk in the fall of 2010.

Class will occur online on six Saturdays (Oct 23, 30, Nov. 6, 13, 20 and Dec 4).
Time: 12pm – 2pm ET
Fee: $150.00

This MAP required  course will give an overview of the history of GLBTQ people from the ancient Western world, through the pre-industrial and modern cultures to contemporary global situations. Particular emphasis will be placed on the understandning the social constructions of sexuality and gender and on the the historic roots of contemporary religious, social and political realities. To register-

You will be sent a syllabus after you have registered for the course.


Synergy! – July 2010

Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.


Synergy! “The effect that is created by the combined

cooperative efforts of a willing community.”

Grant Header

Deadline for submission is 1 August 2010.

Click here to view the protocol for submission.

Dear Colleagues in Ministry,

I know we are still riding high after the wonderful General Conference we just had in Acapulco, but I wanted to make sure that we took the time to recognize all those who have recently graduated with

Rev. Dr. Mona West
Mona West

theology and ministry degrees in MCC!  In this issue of Synergy! you will find a listing of folks who have completed degrees and received awards from many of our partner seminaries as well as the names of those recently approved for ordination.  Be sure and congratulate them!

We also want to take this opportunity to remind you of some important deadlines from the Office of Formation and Leadership Development.  The deadline for applications for funds from the Carpenter Grant is 1 August 2010.  Click here to find out more information about the grant and download the application.  Our next REVM program is 29 October – 2 November 2010 and the deadline for In Care applications to register for this REVM is 1 September 2010.

Click here to download the application and information about the psychological testing that must be completed.

Lastly, there are still some great educational opportunities available this summer.  Check out the course offerings in this issue from Pacific School of Religion.

Blessings to all as we continue this leadership journey together!


Rev. Mona West, Ph.D

Director of Formation and Leadership Development

Metropolitan Community Churches


Metropolitan Community Church’s Office of Formation and Leadership Development would like to congratulate our many recent graduates who have reached their educational and personal  goals. Please offer them your prayers and thoughts of support as they embrace on the newest part of their journey.

Doctor of Philosophy

Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York

Doctor of Ministry

Rev. Dr. Pat Bumgardner from Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Renee Dubose from Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert from Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Lea Brown from Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis from Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Joe McMurray from Episcopal Divinity School

Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin from Florida Center for Theological Studies

Rev. Dr. Neal Thomas from San Francisco Theological Seminary

Rev. Dr. Pat Langlois from Wisdom University

Rev Dr Wayne  Shwandt from Wisdom University

Master of Arts in Theological Studies

Connie Meadows from Episcopal Divinity School

Master of Divinity

John McLaughlin from Lancaster Theological Seminary

Zoe Jeffery from Lancaster Theological Seminary

Andrea Ferguson from Lancaster Theological Seminary and she also received an Academic Award with a gift certificate for further study.

Victor Floyd from Pacific School of Religion

Rebecca Anderson from Pacific School of Religion

Brian Hutchison from Pacific School of Religion

Todd Kauffman from Pacific School of Religion and Starr King

Brad Rice from Claremont School of Theology

David Zier from Earlham School of Religion

Melanie Martinez from Perkins School of Theology, SMU

Shirley Strader-Dasher from Florida Center for Theological Studies

Adrain Bowie from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology


Lancaster Theological Seminary

Guy and Emma Moyer Award – Andrea Ferguson-New Light MCC, Hagerstown, MD

Jacob Y. Dietz Prize – Johnna Faber-New Light MCC, Hagerstown, MD

Chalice Press Book Award – Jocelyn McKeon—MCC Baltimore

Episcopal Divinity School

Kathy Beasley of Joy MCC, Orlando, FL was awarded the William H. Lincoln Prize Excellence in Reading… awarded to a member of the second year class for excellence in public speaking.

Rev. Dr. Lea Brown won the J. Norman Hall Prize at Episcopal Divinity School…awarded to a member of the graduating class recognized as outstanding in Peace and Justice work.

Recently approved for Ordination with Metropolitan Community Churches

Brad Rice

Brian Hutchison

Stedney Phillips

Victor Floyd

Wilkin Lara

Rebecca Anderson

Eliana Vilela

Melanie Martinez

Melissa Smithee

Alycia Erickson

Summer Learning Opportunities

Pacific School of Religion’s Certificate of Sexuality and Religion, offered in collaboration with PSR’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), has a few great classes coming up this summer, all on the Berkeley campus:

Mujerista Theology (A. Vargas) – August 2-6

for more information

Bishop John Shelby Spong will be teaching a week-long course (Eternal Life: A New Vision: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell – July 26-30) and receiving a CLGS “Leading Voice” award.

Metropolitan Community Churches Announces Five Foundation Grants

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Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

A Ministry Update from

Metropolitan Community Churches


Metropolitan Community Churches Announces Five Foundation Grants

Grant Funds Will Combat Anti-LGBT Violence in Jamaica, Advance Human Rights in Eastern Europe, Underwrite Ministry Scholarships, Create HIV/AIDS and Meth Abuse Resources


Metropolitan Community Churches and the Euroregional Center For Public Initiatives, an NGO MCC founded in Eastern Europe have received grants to advance projects central to its core mission of “Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope.”


Founded in 1968, MCC is an international human rights movement and ministry serving as a Christian denomination in 25 countries around the world. MCC is the world’s largest and oldest Christian denomination with a primary affirming ministry to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons.


The grants will fund priority projects, including combating religion-based, anti-LGBT violence in Jamaica, advancing LGBT human and reproductive rights in Eastern Europe, providing educational scholarships to ministry candidates called to serve small congregations and plant new MCC churches, and creating resources to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic and crystal meth abuse and addiction.


Irma Bauer-Levesque, MCC’s director of development, announced the following grants:

Educational Scholarships for Church Planters and Small Church Pastors


The E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation has awarded MCC a grant of $70,000 (US) for 2010. This grant will establish a pilot scholarship program for qualified MCC seminarians and provide support for the work of the MCC Office for Formation and Leadership Development.


The pilot scholarship program will provide educational funding assistance to MCC seminarians called to serve small congregations and to plant new MCC churches.


According to Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “MCC has long known that pastors encumbered by educational debt, face extraordinary difficulties accepting calls to small congregations or to plant new MCCs where there is a demonstrated need.  We are thankful that the Carpenter Foundation recognizes the urgent need to raise up, equip and incentivize a new generation of bold leadership, unencumbered by educational debt.”


This grant also provides MCC with the opportunity to raise additional funds for MCC scholarships named for MCC pioneers at partner schools as well as raise our own endowed scholarship fund. The scholarship funds will be administered through the Office for Formation and Leadership Development.


The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation provides grants for initiatives and projects in theological education in the United States.

Combating Religion-based Anti-LGBT Violence in Jamaica


The Religion and Values program of the The Arcus Foundation has awarded Metropolitan Community Churches a grant of $30,000 (US) to create a multi-faceted strategic plan to end religiously-sanctioned violence against LGBT people in Jamaica and to develop and train leadership to implement the plan. 


Leaders from Sunshine Cathedral MCC Jamaica and Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) will direct the planning project, with assistance from MCC’s Global Justice Team, the Office of Formation and Leadership Development, MCC’s Moderator, Rev. Nancy Wilson, and other international allies.


In making the announcement, MCC’s Irma Bauer-Levesque noted, “This grant will make it possible for a planning team and advisory committee to meet regularly over nine months to build an actionable plan that will include leadership training, coalition building, and resource development. The team will formulate the core components of a program to challenge religious and societal homophobia within Jamaica and promote respect for LGBT human rights and dignity. As we always do, MCC will frame LGBT rights in Jamaica as a fundamental human right and a moral and religious imperative.”


MCC brings a strong background to the Jamaica anti-violence project. Rev. Robert Griffin of Sunshine Cathedral MCC and Rev. Pat Bumgardner, chair of the MCC Global Justice Team, have been working with a strong and experienced Jamaican leadership team over the past five years. 


The Arcus Foundation funds efforts to achieve social justice inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race. Grants provided thorough itsReligion & Values Program are targeted to:


1. change exclusionary denominational policies that prevent LGBT individuals from expressing their faith;

2.  build a faith-based progressive social justice movement that is inclusive of LGBT human rights;

3.  refute beliefs that portray gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as sinful and immoral.


We are enormously grateful to the Religion and Values Program of the Arcus Foundation for supporting MCC’s efforts to combat religiously sanctioned violence and homophobia in Jamaica.

Advancing Human Rights In Eastern Europe


The Euroregional Center For Public Initiatives, an NGO established in Romania and founded by Metropolitan Community Churches, has received a two-year grant of $110,000 (US) from the Open Society Institute to organize and train activists to promote sexual and reproductive rights in Eastern European countries.


George Soros, founder of the Open Society Institute, has long supported efforts to increase democracy and build civil societies in countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc. The grant will provide funding to organize and convene at least one human rights conference in Eastern Europe, provide materials, train activists, and establish a network of progressive organizations and individuals to promote human, civil and reproductive rights for women and sexual minorities in Romania and Moldova. It will assist organizations in responding to the oppressive reality of religious extremists.


It was in Eastern Europe that Metropolitan Community Churches first became known as “The Human Rights Church,” due to its bold stand on behalf of the human rights of women, LGBT people, and other individuals and groups marginalized and oppressed by religious extremists and governmental and political antipathy.

Creating HIV/AIDS Resources


An earlier grant to Metropolitan Community Churches from the Rainbow Endowment provided funds to create resources addressing the current global HIV/AIDS pandemic through MCC’s Global HIV/AIDS Ministry. The outcome of that collaboration is a new resource titled  Uncommon Hope.


The book, Uncommon Hope, authored by MCC’s Joshua Love, provides curriculum and supporting materials for use by churches and faith communities, local and regional HIV/AIDS groups, community organizations, PWAs, and concerned individuals. The book, which will soon include a companion DVD, is now in print and available through the MCC office and Amazon.


The mission of the Rainbow Endowment is to provide funding to increase resources, expand opportunities, and promote the health, social well-being and full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and their families.

Addressing The Crystal Meth Epidemic


Last December, MCC received a grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to develop “Deconstructing Meth/Deconstructing Me,” a program to provide resources to churches, faith groups, community organizations and interested individuals who care for people struggling with crystal meth abuse and addiction.


Workshops and training programs based upon the “Deconstructing Meth/Deconstructing Me” materials were scheduled for presentation in public forums in ten cities across the U.S. and Canada during 2009 and 2010 and are now nearing completion.


A curriculum and companion DVD based upon the “Deconstructing Meth/Deconstructing Me” workshops is being developed to help others who are looking for ways to support individuals struggling with methamphetamine addiction, as well as their affected families and communities.


The Elton John AIDS Foundation provides funding support for community-based prevention programs, harm reduction programs, public education to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS, advocacy to improve AIDS-related public policy, and direct services to persons living with HIV/AIDS, especially populations with special needs.

A Brief Message in Closing From Rev. Nancy Wilson, MCC Moderator


“We are deeply thankful to each of these foundations for their partnerships with Metropolitan Community Churches, and to the incredible work of Irma Ba

uer-Levesque of the MCC Development Office and the supportive network of MCCers around the world that have contributed to these accomplishments. Each of these funding organizations is making it possible for MCC to create resources, train activists, and establish programs that address significant – and often life-threatening – needs. These grants make it possible for us to touch and impact the lives of real people at their point of need, and provide the opportunity for MCC to live out its mission: “Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope.”


 Grace and Peace,




Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson
Moderator Mettropolitan Community Churches

About Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)


Metropolitan Community Churches is a 41-year old human rights movement and ministry operating as a Christian denomination in 25 countries around the world. MCC is a leading advocate for vulnerable people in places where religious orthodoxy, sexism and homophobia can result in violence and death. MCC’s promise is stated in its mission “Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope.” For more information about MCC,


MCC Logo

For Additional Information, Contact:
Kathy Beasley, Communications Director
Metropolitan Community Churches
P.O. Box 1374 Abilene, TX (USA) 79604
Email: Kathy Beasley

“These grants make it possible for us to touch and impact the lives of real people at their point of need…” 

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MCC | PO Box 1374 | Abilene | TX | 79604