“There are no more lessons to be learned except to change our ways.”
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, oversees ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was in the first LGBT delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979, and is now on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Washington, D.C – Top national faith leaders spoke out against the acts of violence that have traumatized and terrorized communities throughout the United States. The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, international leader of the Metropolitan Community Churches, was one of the dignitaries on the President’s Advisory Councils on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships who signed the statement.
The faith leaders’ statement said, “We endorse reasonable steps taken to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people through measures such as ensuring and enforcing universal background checks for gun purchases…” With caveats of avoiding further stigmatization of people dealing with mental health issues, they said, “Now is a time to educate the public and bring support for creating adequate mental health and mental illness resources in the community.” Full statement here.
Dr. Wilson said, “Faith leaders are taking responsibility for the leadership we carry on our shoulders. As our shared statement says, ‘freedom also carries a moral responsibility.’ Each of us must reflect on how we can build communities of peace that contribute to global well-being. The mantel of moral leadership compels us to stand and say, stop the violence! There are no more lessons to be learned except to change our ways.”
“As the leader of Metropolitan Community Churches, our LGBT members and congregations have been targeted for violence, so we know how devastating it can be to lose loved ones. It is time to turn this land of the free and the brave into the land of the free and morally responsible!”
Interviews are available with Dr. Wilson by appointment.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches has congregations in 40 nations around the globe.
Proclaiming an inclusive Gospel of love and liberation for all,
MCC provides a spiritual home for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
and all who affirm the value and worth of God’s diverse creation.
Diverse National Civic and Religious Leaders Unite to Call for an End to Senseless Gun Violence
“We seek to bring our communities together in support of reasonable steps taken to prevent future suffering such as that endured by the bereaved and traumatized families of gun violence victims… we commit to building consensus and support in our communities for steps that will turn our collective grief into shared hope.”
Washington, D.C. — On the one month anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, in advance of Vice President Biden’s report and policy recommendations to President Obama, and as the discussion about preventing gun violence continues in communities throughout the United States, a number of prominent national leaders, who have served on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, today released the following joint statement (please note: these leaders are not speaking on behalf of the Councils nor on behalf of their professional organizations or congregations, but in their individual capacities). The political, ideological and religious diversity reflected among this group of leaders underscores the common understanding of the importance of meaningful action to address gun violence. The full statement is below:
We come together as faith and community leaders who love our country and its Constitution, treasure our rights and take pride in fulfilling our duties as American citizens. We have come to respect each other out of our service on the President’s Advisory Councils on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships but we speak out today in our individual capacities out of our shared desire to unite our country in addressing the challenges of gun violence in America. We write on the one month anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown and are issuing this statement before Vice President Biden issues his report and recommendations.
As we are people of diverse religious, ideological and political views, so our communities are comprised of millions of loyal Americans, some who own guns and some who do not, but all of whom have grieved alongside the families of those lost to gun violence. We come with a common purpose out of a conviction that despite our diversity, we all share a commitment to protect the lives of our people. We commit ourselves and call upon our communities and our elected officials to make every effort to save human lives, especially the lives of children, from senseless gun violence that does not represent the responsible citizenship intended by the Second Amendment.
Gun violence profoundly affects people in our neighborhoods, our organizations, and our houses of worship. We seek to bring our communities together in support of reasonable steps taken to prevent future suffering such as that endured by the bereaved and traumatized families of gun violence victims. We endorse reasonable steps taken to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people through measures such as ensuring and enforcing universal background checks for gun purchases, collection and publication of relevant data on gun violence, and other constructive measures that will limit gun violence.
Millions who we serve and their families already suffer the effects of the stigmatizing misperceptions regarding mental illness. As we serve, teach and counsel our communities, we can help those who constitute a danger to themselves and others, and guide them to the intervention and help they need. Now is a time to educate the public and bring support for creating adequate mental health and mental illness resources in the community. We call upon all sectors of American society, including our government, to see that those in need of mental health services will more readily find and receive them.
We know that these changes are deeply connected with changing our culture and ourselves so that we no longer treat depictions of excessive violence as a primary source of our entertainment. This is a transformation that begins at the grassroots level of family, school, community institution and house of worship. Without a doubt, the national mourning that has followed the tragedy in Newtown demonstrates that even the incessant cacophony of violent film, music and video that overwhelms our senses each day has not dulled the compassion with which we are endowed.
We acknowledge that our communities are not in total agreement as to the extent of the measures they currently envision. As religious and non-profit leaders, we commit to building consensus and support in our communities for steps that will turn our collective grief into shared hope. We acknowledge that the privilege of American freedom also carries a moral responsibility, which we recognize we can only shoulder together.
From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 14 December 2012
Thank you all for coming to this remarkable meeting. What a meaningful way to commemorate Human Rights Day. I welcome all of the activists, supporters and others here today.
The very first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
All human beings – not some, not most, but all.
No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.
The United Nations has a proud record of combating racism, promoting gender equality, protecting children and breaking down barriers facing persons with disabilities.
We have a long way to go in all of these areas. But we are turning the tide on discrimination in both law and practice. Slowly, some old prejudices have started to dissolve.
Yet others remain in place, with horrendous consequences.
Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are targeted, assaulted and sometimes killed. Children and teens are taunted by their peers, beaten and bullied, pushed out of school, disowned by their own families, forced into marriage … and, in the worst cases, driven to suicide.
LGBT people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity at work, at clinics and hospitals, and in schools – the very places that should protect them.
More than 76 countries still criminalize homosexuality.
I am pained by this injustice. I am here to again denounce violence and demand action for true equality.
Let me say this loud and clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They, too, are born free and equal. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their struggle for human rights.
I am proud that as Secretary-General I have a global platform to highlight the need to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The United Nations should lead by example. I recently reiterated to all senior managers that discrimination against staff on the basis of sexual orientation will not be tolerated. I have also asked that the UN’s rules and policies be examined to ensure that the rights of our LGBT staff are protected.
More and more governments are working to tackle homophobia. Last year, the Human Rights Council adopted the first UN resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, which expressed “grave concern” at violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights published the first UN report dedicated to the problem, which was then debated at the Human Rights Council, marking another UN first.
The past decade has seen far-reaching reforms in Europe, the Americas and a number of Asian and African countries … and extraordinary shifts in social attitudes in many parts of the world.
I applaud Argentina for introducing some of the most progressive legislation in the world on same-sex partnerships and gender recognition. I am pleased that we are joined today by Blas Radi, from Argentina, who helped drive the gender identity law adopted there earlier this year.
I also welcome Olena Shevchenko who leads an important human rights effort in Ukraine.
In a number of countries, including Ukraine, draft laws have been proposed that would criminalize public discussion of homosexuality – potentially making meetings such as this one illegal. I deplore these kinds of measures wherever they are introduced. They threaten basic rights, feed stigma and lead to more abuse.
We are also pleased to have Gift Trapence, a prominent human rights defender from Malawi. When I visited Malawi in 2010, two young men had just been sentenced to 14 years of hard labour for the so-called “crime” of celebrating their wedding. At my request, the then President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them, on the very day when I asked him, but he defended criminal sanctions. Now under the new leadership of Her Excellency President Joyce Banda, Malawi is weighing possible changes in the law. I hope Malawians take the opportunity to turn a page.
We must all speak out against homophobia, especially those who are considered leaders in society as well as others in the public eye.
Let me say a big Bienvenido to pop sensation Ricky Martin. Muchas Gracias! You are a wonderful role model for LGBT youth and for all people. Thank you.
I am again honoured to share the stage with Yvonne Chaka Chaka – a global superstar and a champion of development, including as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Roll Back Malaria. Thank you very much.
Yvonne, you are known as the Princess of Africa. Today, you are our Queen of Equality.
Our guests – and you here today – have helped to open a door. We cannot let it close.
It is an outrage that in our modern world, so many countries continue to criminalize people simply for loving another human being of the same sex. In many cases, these laws are not home-grown. They were inherited from former colonial powers.
Laws rooted in 19th century prejudices are fuelling 21st century hate. In other cases new discriminatory laws are being introduced.
These laws must go. We must replace them with laws that provide adequate protection against discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
This is not optional. It is a State obligation, based on the principle of non-discrimination – a fundamental tenet of international human rights law.
We also need a broad public education effort to spread understanding and counter fear.
When I meet with leaders from around the world I raise my voice for equality for LGBT people.
Many leaders say they wish they could do more. But they point to public opinion as a barrier to progress.
I understand it can be difficult to stand up to public opinion. But just because a majority might disapprove of certain individuals does not entitle the State to withhold their basic rights.
Democracy is more than majority rule. It requires defending vulnerable minorities from hostile majorities. It thrives on diversity. Governments have a duty to fight prejudice, not fuel it.
I am deeply grateful to the cross-regional LGBT core group of Member States for bringing us together. I hope many other countries will join you.
You and I and people of conscience everywhere must keep pushing until we realize the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people. The freedom, dignity and equal rights that all people are born with – must be a living reality each and every day of their lives.
Thank you very much.
MCC Statement on Immigration Reform in the U.S. – December 2012
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)
National borders around the world appear to shrink with each passing day, leading God’s people to seek better lives and more opportunities wherever they exist. The United States has a complicated but long history with welcoming the foreign born.
Our faith mandates that we welcome and offer the immigrant sanctuary. We hold to the principle that all people living in the United States are entitled to protection provided by due process of law and that all immigrants and their families are entitled to receive protection granted by our laws and Constitution.
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) condemns in the strongest possible terms rhetoric and policies that seek to devalue or demean immigrants as anything less than our brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, neighbors and friends, all made equally in the image of God.
Further, MCC calls upon the U.S. Congress to pass and implement comprehensive immigration reform which will allow millions of undocumented immigrants who have established roots in the United States and are often parents and spouses of U.S. Citizens to have a pathway to legalization and to full social and economic integration into the United States. Such reforms would enhance our immigration system for the better, righting the wrongs of past restrictions that left immigrants and their families living in the shadows and ensuring that all those wishing better lives for themselves and their families will be welcomed to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in this country.
As the Congress considers immigration reform legislation, we call on all lawmakers to ensure that such legislation supports fairness and equality specifically for LGBT families regardless of their legal status. We applaud the approach of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to comprehensive immigration reform, an approach that includes the “Uniting American Families Act.” Among the proposal’s seven principles is a call to protect “the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together.” We thank Rep. Luis Gutierrez for his leadership on immigration reform and immigration equality in particular, along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who originally introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Michael Honda for his corresponding efforts.
We call the U.S. Senate to follow the leadership of the House of Representatives, and commend the work of Senator Patrick Leahy.
We applaud President Obama for instituting federal policy reforms that will enable the children of undocumented immigrants a more viable pathway to securing a college education. We also applaud his reprioritization of deportation cases that assigns the lowest priority to deportation of bi-national same- sex couples. These are common sense reforms that promote our best values and ensure that more and more of this nation’s residents maintain meaningful opportunity for life, liberty, and happiness.
We urge all our national leaders, state legislators and fair-minded citizens to support immigration reform, upholding the God-given equality of all who call this land home.
We celebrate the citizens of Maryland who approved that state’s version of the DREAM Act, allowing the children of undocumented immigrants to receive the same in-state tuition benefits as other Marylanders, while cautioning against putting questions of justice and equality to the ballot.
We pray that all national and state leaders, as well as all people of good will, will join the effort to help the nation live into its promise of equal opportunity for all. MCC will continue to work so that no one is outside of the light of justice and the protection of the law. God’s people deserve no less.
Contacts: Jason O’Neill, MCC Communications,
Pastor Joseph Tolton, TFAM Communications646-765-6960
“Fairness Wins!” say Pro-LGBT Denominational Leaders
“The re-election of President Obama means fairness is still a core American value”
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, oversees ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was in the first LGBT delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979 and is now on the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Bishop Yvette Flunder is the presiding bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational fellowship of 110 primarily African American Christian leaders from all parts of the United States Mexico and Africa.
Heads of the historicMetropolitanCommunityChurchesand The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries celebrate today and claimed a victory for a fair society in the re-election of Barack Obama, the election of Tammy Baldwin—the first openly lesbian Senator—along with the first ever wins on ALL four marriage equality ballot measures at the state level.
“Justice Prevails! For the poor, for women, for students, for people of color, for Same-Gender-Loving people, for our elderly, and for those who love peace and fairness, this is a great day! May God’s power and protection keep President Obama and his family,” said Bishop Yvette Flunder, head of a nationwide network of primarily African American churches that receive members regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The re-election of President Barack Obama means that fairness is still a core American value. Americaunderstands that Obama stands for every American rather than the few at the top of the economic heap,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the historic Metropolitan Community Churches with ministries in 40 countries. “We celebrate that ObamaCare, Social Security, Medicare, and education will continue to serve the people. Today, fairness wins!
“Fair-minded Americans took stock of comments about rape, 47% ‘entitled victims,’ tax cuts for the rich, vouchers for Medicare and we sent a message; show some respect for the people who are the backbone of this country!” said Dr. Wilson.
“Black Americans stood up and supported President Obama despite massive efforts to block our votes and get us to stay home. But African Americans know that Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten to within an inch of her life just for registering to vote. We do not forget! Our votes came through a civil war and civil rights marches. No one is gonna turn us around!” said Bishop Flunder.
“Voters of all races and classes supported President Obama knowing that he eliminated Don’t Ask—Don’t Tell so gay and lesbian soldiers can now serve openly.” said Dr. Wilson. “Obama signed the hate crimes law, he advocated to eliminate persecution internationally, he spoke out against bullying, and he gave his personal support to marriage equality. The next four years is another opportunity to show respect for all Americans, regardless of our race, economic standing, whom we love or how we express our gender.”
“The election of Tammy Baldwin as the first openly lesbian Senator and the most support ever for marriage equality in Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington makes it clear that the tide is turning for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans and our families,” said Bishop Flunder. “We have more work to do! We will work in our communities and with national leaders to overturn DOMA and to protect human dignity around the world. Even while theUnited Statesstrides toward freedom, countries throughout the world are faced with a rising tide of Christian fundamentalist influences from theUnited Statesto create waves of discrimination and violence toward sexual minorities.”
“LGBT people know what it is to be targeted. We will never settle for just gaining and protecting our own rights,” said Dr. Wilson. “Everyone’s rights depend on protecting those who are most vulnerable. The words of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ring true today, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ The people won again with the election of President Barack Obama, but the work continues. We stand with LGBT people and suffering people in theUnited States and around the world. We work for a day when respect is the rule and discrimination is no more!”
Natural disasters can bring out people’s best. As Hurricane Sandy roared across the Northeast, people joined together to pile sandbags; they reached out to neighbors who needed a dry place; they risked life and limb to save strangers from a watery grave. Would that all neighbors be treated with such respect in political storms as well.
As the political storm season comes to a climax, there are unnatural disasters that speak of the human capacity to harm each other.
The head of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, spoke out in support of the White House actions against human trafficking across the planet.
Dr. Wilson said, “One of the most consistently disturbing crimes that touches every corner of the globe and every part of the human family is the devastating practice of human trafficking, in which men, women, and children are kidnapped, harbored, or transported for purposes of slavery, involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or commercial sex.“
Dr. Wilson, a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said, “On behalf of our members across the globe, I applaud the Administration for redoubling its efforts to eliminate this international criminal enterprise that enslaves, debases, and exploits men, women, and children.”
The MCC statement on human trafficking is being published on the White House web site, along with those of other faith traditions, to demonstrate their commitments to reducing and, one day, eradicating slavery and human trafficking. MCC’s four action steps are:
“With churches in virtually every state and 40 countries, MCC is in a position to speak out against slavery and trafficking,” said Dr. Wilson. “We will be equipping our members and churches with the information they need to take the next steps toward ending exploitation. As a Christian denomination founded in 1968 to welcome all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, we have experience ministering to those who have been harmed.”
Help Us Recruit Candidates. . .for the Governing Board!!!
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson,
Moderator Metropolitan Community Churches
Today we are publishing information about the Board Charter and qualifications for service on the Governing Board. During the General Conference in Acapulco, we elected our first term of Governing Board members. Elections for the next terms will be held during the 2013 General Conference in Chicago.
Our Nominations Committee is excited about the prospect of many, excellent and diverse candidates, and would like your help to recruit potential nominees. Serving on the Governing Board is an opportunity for clergy and laity to labor together on a unified, global MCC Board. This Board partners with the Moderator and the Elders to facilitate tasks and to support the continuation of the momentum in ministry that we have been building. This Board also works with our leadership and staff to creatively develop the resources to keep us moving forward into the future. To date, the Board has expanded its reach and work through teams that have already grown to include people who are not on the Board itself, whose gifts are crucial to their work.
Click here to go to the Governing Board home page to learn more about the Board and their activities since Acapulco. I would like to re-introduce the Governing Board Nominating Committee Cathy Alexander (chair), Rev. Catherine Dearlove, and Rusty Hall who have a message for you as well.
Grace and Peace,
+ Rev. Nancy Wilson
Metropolitan Community Churches
We Need Your Help to Recruit for the Governing Board Candidates
Cathy Alexander_________Rev. Catherine Dearlove_________Rusty Hall
Greetings from your Governing Board Nominating Committee. We are looking forward to hearing from you and are asking your assistance to identify qualified candidates to apply for the Governing Board. We would like those who have a heart for governance, along with the skills and experience for this type of ministry to prayerfully consider assisting in recruiting qualified candidates for these critically important positions:
The bylaws state the qualifications for members of the Board. “Members of the Governing Board must be members in good standing within the Fellowship who, in the sole discretion of the UFMCC, have spiritual quality and leadership, are mature, have sound judgment, and have a proven record of accomplishment. Consideration will be given to elect members with diverse perspectives, core competencies, and complementary skills consistent with the required functions and responsibilities of the Governing Board.”
Click here to view the application for potential candidates.
Our deadline for the receipt of all applications is 5 pm EST, Monday, 1 November 2012. Thank you for your willingness to serve and for your passion for MCC’s ministry and future! See you in Chicago.
Program Support/Data Analyst for Metropolitan Community Churches
This position is responsible for ongoing analysis of tithe/membership information, obtained from a variety of sources, including tithe reports, annual reports, surveys, registration databases and demographic data. It involves development and preparation of information products for MCC staff and members. It requires the ability to analyze data from conceptualization through presentation of the data. It requires proficiency with analytical tools, knowledge of data analysis methodology, use of presentation software, strong communication skills and a strong commitment to and affinity for delivering the highest level of customer service. Additional duties of this position relate to posting information to the MCC website, and as such the position requires a basic level of skill with web content management systems and blogging software.
The description below covers the primary duties and skills required for success as Program Support Analyst/Data Analyst.
Other Important Information