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Archive for the ‘Current News’ Category

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches Calls for Prayer and Personal Discernment as Zimmerman Trial Verdict is Released

Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches

Calls for Prayer and Personal Discernment

as Zimmerman Trial Verdict is Released

 

Earlier this evening, a jury of six women found George Zimmerman, a now 26-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, not guilty in the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

 

Trayvon Martin was 17 years old when, walking to his father’s home through a residential area in Sanford, Florida on a rainy evening , he was shot in the heart after an altercation with Zimmerman.   Wearing a hoodie and talking on his cell phone, having just purchased a package of Skittles and a can of iced tea, Martin became a symbol of young people of color across the United States who are often targeted by law enforcement, shop owners and other citizens as “suspicious.”

 

Approached and followed by Mr. Zimmerman for this reason, a physical fight ensued that would end in the death of a child, and come to symbolize our nation’s on-again/off-again struggle to accept and value its diverse citizenry.

 

As a community of largely LGBTI people of many religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, many of us know what it is like to be viewed with suspicion simply because of who we are.  Many of us still live in parts of the world where our sexual orientations or gender identities are sufficient to endanger our lives.

 

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s parents, appealed for peace in the wake of a verdict and said that they could finally see “the end of the tunnel.”

 

The real end of the tunnel for all of us will be on that day when we stand face to face with the Creator God who made us all and pronounced all life good.  In the end, we will be invited to share one table together.  The Gospel of Matthew says people will come to that table from East and West, North and South, meaning from many directions.

 

I know the members and friends of Metropolitan Community Churches may be coming from many directions with regard to this case and all the issues it has raised, from racially motivated animosity to the use of firearms.   People around the globe suffer and struggle daily with the loss of children’s lives to violence — violence that is often times fueled by the failure to value the diversity of God’s creation.

 

Yesterday at the United Nations, another child targeted by violence, a 16 year old girl from Pakistan named Malala, spoke to the world saying that education is the key to a future of peace and good will for all of us.  Shot because she was a girl wanting to go to school in a culture devaluing its female children, she said, “They thought that the bullet would silence us,” but what really happened was that “weakness and fear died…and courage was born.’

 

I urge all of us on this night when many of us may be reacting with shock, disbelief and anger and others with support for a legally rendered verdict, to really search our hearts and minds and spirits for the ways prejudice and fear have weakened our commitment to the prophetic vision of a world where lions lay down with lambs, and little children play safely over adder’s dens.   I urge all of us as people of faith to recommit to the Biblical injunction against taking a life for any reason.   The legal standard for “self defense” can never replace Scripture’s call to love others as God loves all of us.

 

Pray with me this night for the family of Trayvon Martin who, regardless of a verdict, lost a child to fear and violence.  Pray for the day when all of us are at ease in the presence of difference and see only in each other’s faces a brother or sister in Christ.

 

+Nancy

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator

Metropolitan Community Churches

 

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Moderator’s Public Policy Team,

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.  For more information or to arrange further comment

contact The Rev. Jim Merritt, Public Policy Team Communications, at

.

MCC stands in solidarity with ICM Brasil – Igrejas da Comunidade Metropolitana do Brasil and everyone in Brazil.

Dear leaders, members and friends of the Metropolitan Community Churches in Brazil:

In this important moment of mobilization in Brazil ,I would like to express my solidarity with you and my support of the demands being expressed at the protests throughout the country. Those valuable acts of courage make me feel proud of our people, our brothers and sisters in Brazil. I would love to be there with you to march, requesting not only for “Circuses” (Confederations Cup) to be offered but also for “bread” to be a reality for all (respect and dignity for indigenous peoples, sexual minorities, Afro-Brazilians, the Landless Workers) and to be available on every table and in every household.

Much more that the $0.20 increase in transportation fares is at stake in Brazil. People’s social unrest must be expressed, heard, respected. It shall not be silenced. Governments’ betrayals (independently of their political party) shouldn’t be tolerated by the people anymore.

As an Elder at the Metropolitan Community Churches, I demand in God’s name that the requests and demands of our beloved Brazilian peoples be answered. Brazil is much more than the World Cup. Brazil is much more than the Olympic Games organization that only benefits a few. Now is the the time for Brazil to take the lead, to make itself heard with a strong voice in the world, to demand a government that works with and for the people, not to benefit from them.

Dear Brazilian men and women, the whole world is looking at you, our hearts going to you in solidarity. Your legitimate demands will be able to create a Brazil that can help, support and treat with dignity and respect each and every one of its inhabitants. No one and nothing can stop you from protesting, for demanding that Brazil for which you have fought so hard to build, that so many men and women have worked for to make the country a place of human rights building a more human nation.

We trust that President Dilma’s government will be able to keep up with this historical moment that you are living as a courageous and brave people.

I want our MCC Churches in Brazil to know that during the protests on Thursday, each and every one of our leaders, members and friends will be with you, thinking about you, praying for you, and following any developments.

Another world is possible, a new Brazil is possible, too.

My solidarity and prayers are always with you.

Blessings,

Rev. Hector Gutierrez

MCC Elder

Exodus ‘Ex-Gay’ movement needs ‘conversion to truth-telling’

“For decades, Exodus International has been synonymous with the idea that people need to be ‘cured’ or ‘healed’ of homosexuality. This week’s historic apology from Exodus leader, Alan Chambers, for the harm done to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by Exodus is encouraging,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson.  “Sadly, nothing will bring back the lives lost to suicide based on pseudo-psychology and corrupt theology. Any apology for past suicides, lost years and damage to families is only as good as real actions to counter the lies spread throughout the world by past Exodus action.

 

“What is needed is true repentance and a conversion to truth telling. The theology of condemnation must be replaced with a theology of grace in the service of God’s good creation-including LGBT people.  The trail of emotional, psychological and spiritual damage must be mitigated by evangelistic outreach around the world where the lives of LGBT people hang in the balance at the hands of religious and political leaders who would shed their blood, rape their bodies, and crucify their spirits for their own careers.

 

“We will not be satisfied until we see Evangelicals bring the same fervor to saving our lives as they have to trying to separate our souls from our God-given sexual orientations and gender identities.

 

“Around the world, MCC is known as ‘The Human Rights Church’ because we are sometimes the only faith tradition standing up for the lives of LGBT people.  Exodus has the opportunity to join us.

 

Rev. Nancy quoted on Joe. My. God

Rev. Nancy quoted on Joe. My. God

“In just days, MCC will celebrate 45 years of ministry and advocacy as we gather in Chicago, July 1-5, for our 25th General Conference.  We exhort Exodus leaders to join us.  Join us to celebrate the life of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda who risks his life every day to fight the infamous ‘kill the gays’ bill. We challenge you to sit at the feet of leaders who founded the Global Justice Institute and are working with LGBT leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

 

“Words are cheap. Lives are precious,” concluded Dr. Wilson. “Do not disappoint us.”

Supreme Court Defends First Amendment Rights Engaged in the Fight Against AIDS For U.S. Organizations

Today, six justices of the Supreme Court of the United States issued the majority  decision in Agency for International Development, et al. –v- Alliance for Open Society International, Inc. et al., finding that federal agencies mandating that organizations receiving government funding for the global fight against AIDS must hold the same opinion as the United States government to qualify for funding.

Responding  to the escalating pandemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the Congress of the United States passed the “United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003,” allocating billions of dollars to fund non-governmental organizations around the globe in multi-faceted efforts to increase access to treatment, offer supportive care, train health care workers, accelerate research and reduce at-risk behaviors.   As part of efforts designed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, at that time the fourth highest cause of death in the world,  legislators recognized sex trafficking as a factor in the escalation of the disease.

Congress charged the Department of Health and Human Services {HHS} and the United States Agency for International Development {USAID} with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the 2003 funding Act.  The agencies then developed protocol that required recipient agencies, in effect, to adopt the United States government’s position opposing prostitution and sex trafficking as a policy statement in order to qualify for funding.   Agencies of the United Nations, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Health Organization were exempted from the regulation.

The Alliance for an Open Society and others  challenged that requirement based on the first amendment right in the United States guaranteeing freedom of speech and the right to hold opinions and policies at odds with those favored by the government.

“The Supreme Court decision today,” said The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “represents a victory for all those engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The issue is not whether any of us who have long worked in this battle are promoting particular behaviors,  but rather our ability to reach those most in need of safe space and compassionate care. “

“The decision today prevents the U.S. government from telling people what they must say in cases where being judgmental may well determine whether individuals most at risk get the help they need in either remaining HIV-negative or managing their health status in a life-affirming way,” added The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair of the Moderator’s Public Policy Team.  “We serve in a movement of faith founded on the teachings of a man who cautioned against judgment,” she added, “and who proclaimed that prostitutes and tax collectors would enter heaven before many others.  Today, at least, they will be free to enter the offices of agencies around the globe who can offer them the information and health care access critical to saving their lives now.”

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Moderator’s Public Policy Team of

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.

For more information, contact The Rev. Pat Bumgardner .

Historic LGBT Church Leaders Condemn Russia’s Anti-Gay Law

“Russian tradition needs to meet universal human rights standards”

 

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, which has ministries in over 40 countries.  Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979.  She is currently a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

 

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute publicly and firmly condemn the adoption of a federal law in the Russian Parliament that bans so-called “non-traditional sexual relations” and which mandates fines and jail terms for people convicted of sharing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) “propaganda.”

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, said:

“Tradition is not about an idyllic past, but rather an ongoing transmission of values. Non-discrimination is one of these values important for the whole society. LGBT people have always been part of the larger Russian community. The only difference today is visibility. Russian tradition needs to meet universal human rights standards, such as the freedom of expression, a principle that applies to all Russian citizens irrespective of their national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.”

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director of Global Justice Institute, continued:

“Let me be clear. Tradition is less essential in a democratic society than justice. Stop invoking tradition to perpetuate discrimination at the highest level against our LGBT brothers and sisters from Russia! They will remain proud and visible despite these attempts to silence them, while our solidarity with the Russian civil society fighting for LGBT rights will increase. Censorship shouldn’t be a value that characterizes any nation in the 21st century.

“As a community of faith and a social justice institution, we reject the way the Russian authorities try to legitimize and legalize discrimination against LGBT people. Societal norms and traditions can’t be invoked in good faith when they deliberately harm vulnerable groups, such as LGBT people.“

 

The Global Justice Institute is a collaborative effort of Metropolitan Community Churches and The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, dedicated to fostering theological reconciliation, positive public images and economic development with LGBTI people around the globe.  For more information visit www.globaljusticeinstitute.com or contact Rev. Pat, Executive Director, at 

Prepared for change: There have always been gay Boy Scouts

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

Pope Francis! Treat LGBT Catholics with Dignity!

Pope Francis! Pope Francisco! When I heard his name, I thought, “What an auspicious beginning!” His name alludes to St. Francis Xavier, founding Jesuit scholar, but it is St. Francis of Assisi, renowned for service to the poor and his love for all God’s creatures, that Pope Francis is claiming. We pray that ministry to and with the poor become the hallmark of his legacy.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post

Moderator of Largest LGBT Church Calls for Prayer for New Pope

13 March 2013
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

Moderator of Largest LGBT Church
Calls for Prayer for New Pope

Today I join with people around the globe in praying for the newly elected pontiff, Pope Francis, and for the people the world over who will look to him for spiritual guidance.

The challenges any Head of Communion faces are many and far outweigh the privileges that accrue to the position. Though we may differ on our perspectives, I trust that all who lead the faithful seek the fulfillment of God’s plan for peace on this earth and good will prevailing among all. Whether his choice of name reflects his devotion to the great Jesuit scholar or the humble monastic of popular piety who heard the voice of God calling him to rebuild the Church, I pray that Pope Francis will have the wisdom and courage to lead by demonstrating compassion, mercy, generosity and grace in all things as the One Christians across the globe follow, Jesus the Christ.

The first Jesuit and the first Argentinian to be elected as Pontiff, I pray Pope Francis will be the first Bishop of Rome to embrace the diversity of God’s creation, especially as that relates to God’s LGBT children, and become a voice for respect and equality everywhere.

I call on MCCers and people of good will everywhere to join me in that prayer.

Grace and Peace,

+Nancy

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

Lift Your Voice for Marriage Equality

Lift Your Voice for Marriage Equality

Join the
United for Marriage Rally
March 26, 2013

On March 26-27, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider landmark cases that will determine if LGBT Americans will enjoy the freedom and equality under the law that is every American’s birthright.  These deliberations are coming amid a dramatic change in public opinion about marriage equality for LGBT people with more than half of Americans favoring marriage rights for same-sex couples according to a December poll by Gallup.  The United States of America is ready for marriage equality.

As the nation’s highest court begins its deliberations of these cases, Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute are joining LGBT and allied organizations, faith and grassroots leaders, and social justice and religious associations from across the country in rallying at the steps of the Supreme Court to tell our stories and make our voices heard about the fundamental right and freedom to marry.

Please join us for this historical moment by helping us demonstrate our strong support for marriage equality for all Americans, whether in Washington, DC or in your own community.  In addition to the rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, more than 100 local leaders and organizations are organizing rallies, vigils, observances, and prayer services in their local areas to highlight their support for marriage equality for LGBT people.

Can we count you in? There are three ways you can get involved:

Come rally with us outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on March 26th and 27th:  
http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageRally

Join or organize a community event in your area: http://bit.ly/UnitedForMarriageLocalEvents

Tweet from your event using #united4marriage

Whether you attend the rally in Washington, DC or in your local area, wear red to show your support for freedom and equality.

Every action and every event we organize in support of marriage equality will bring us a step closer in making freedom and equality a reality for all people.  Several MCC’s have already committed to lifting their voices on behalf of marriage equality within their own communities:

*MCC Hartford, Hartford, CT
*MCC New Haven, New Haven, CT
*Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
*Trinity MCC, Gainesville, FL

If your congregation is planning an event in observance of the marriage equality court hearings, please let us know at .

Is the Pope Catholic?

Pope Benedict’s sudden announcement to step down stirred a whirlwind of commentary and speculation. The publicized reason was that the pope no longer had the stamina to fulfill the duties of his office. This is the first time in more than 600 years that a pope has stepped down. Every pope since then has died while serving as pontiff.

Read more on Rev. Nancy’s Huffington Post Article