In a few days, the United States will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of one of the most famous events in Civil Rights History: the March from Selma to Montgomery. It was a painful and bloody moment in the struggle for racial equality, where activists of many faiths, backgrounds, and regions of the U.S. gathered to press government at every level for dignity, justice, and the right to live freely. Marchers were met with extreme violence that was broadcast around the country on television and in newspapers. Hate and violence were exposed for the world to see. While the segregated South died a legal death, racial discrimination is still a reality for far too many.
As people of faith whose movement was born out of discrimination and violence, MCC and the Global Justice Institute (GJI) know the harm injustice can do to a people. We stand in solidarity with all who live on the margins and stand in need of a more just and equitable society. We recognize that the movement for LGBT equality in the U.S. was rooted in the Civil Rights Movement. Hatred motivated people to bomb both the 16th Street Baptist Church and Founders MCCLA. Through the lens of faith, one cannot see a difference between charred bodies hanging from of a Louisiana lynching tree or the charred body framed in the window of a fire bombed Upstairs Lounge. We are united. And we seek to practice a faith that crosses lines of race, gender, gender expression, sexuality.
In this spirit, we extend an invitation for you to join us for the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. We invite all MCCers, friends, allies, and all people of faith to join us in Selma, Alabama, 5-9 March 2015.
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, who was raised in segregated Alabama, will lead a delegation from the Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches in participating in the commemoration of the march. The GJI/MCC delegation will take part in all the weekend’s activities, including the march across the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on Sunday 8 March.
Join us. And pray for justice.
For more information, please contact:
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
Executive Minister, Sunshine Cathedral MCC
Governing Board Member
MCC Global Justice Institute
Dear MCC Leader:
We’re reaching out to you to ask for your congregation’s participation in MCC’s Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice! As we’ve seen in the past year, this work is more important now than ever before.
Your church’s participation in the Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice will accomplish amazing things in the lives of oppressed people and advance the cause of justice around the globe.
Beginning next week and continuing through Pentecost, I’ll share details of this year’s project with you and tell you about opportunities for your congregation to interact with representatives from the Global Justice Institute.
Last year, your generous Easter Offerings empowered the Global Justice Institute to work with grassroots organizations to:
|The Global Justice Institute joins with activists in Seoul to demand recognition of LGBTQ people.|
Our goals for accomplishments in for 2015 include but are not limited to:
|Celebrating our new partnership with
Humanitas in Costa Rica!
By signing on, your church will support this critical work accomplished through the Global Justice Institute at a time when the support is needed globally more than ever!
TO SIGN UP TODAY:
Write to Global Justice Institute executive director Rev. Pat Bumgardner at email@example.com and let us know that your church will collect a special, designated 2015 Easter offering.
In the coming weeks, we’ll send you the tools you need to get your congregation excited about the Easter Offering and the work of the Global Justice Institute!
What better time could there be than Easter for our shared offerings to bring hope and promise to our global siblings?
Can I count on your response this week?
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson
Metropolitan Community Churches
November 21, 2014 – Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute applaud U.S. President Barack Obama for making bold moves to reform the U.S. immigration system. Building on the immigrant reform actions of his nine predecessors, he announced changes that would permit children brought to the U.S. by their parents to remain indefinitely, expand the system of work permits, reduce barriers to higher education, and support family unification for certain bi-national families. These measures constitute a major step in the right direction.
While we applaud President Obama, we are reminded that these actions fall short of the comprehensive immigration reform we, along with all other fair-minded stakeholders, have been seeking for years. We must not leave LGBT families separated across borders, isolate and marginalize LGBT asylum seekers, or exclude any immigrant group from access to health care and social services. Money spent on border security would better serve immigrants’ need for quality health care, education, affordable housing. Despite these shortcomings, the President’s reforms constitute an expanded foundation upon which we must pursue greater freedoms.
We remind the President and Congress that immigrants are our sisters and brothers, neighbors, co-workers, friends, classmates, and fellow parishioners. They are contributors to healthy, vibrant communities. They are all children of God who deserve dignity, respect, and the freedom of opportunity that all other U.S. residents enjoy. Because executive actions by any President are temporary, we call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation to ensure that all who desire a better life in the United States have a permanent and legal pathway toward that pursuit.
For more information on MCC/GJI’s immigration reform principles, see our statement “No Stranger to God: A Call for Sensible Immigration Reform that Supports and Reunites Families”
A diverse coalition of faith groups has come together to oppose gun violence in the U.S. Faiths United, which MCC and the Global Justice Institute have endorsed, is inviting congregations, houses of worship, and people of faith to participate in the annual Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend (Thursday – Sunday, December 11-14, 2014). The timing coincides with the anniversary of the elementary school shootings in Newtown,Connecticut. Sponsors hope to double participating from the previous Sabbath’s 1,000 places of worship. The weekend will start with a special December 11 event in the nation’s capital hosted by theWashington National Cathedral. It will include an interfaith service honoringthose whose lives were lost to gunfire, special prayers for their families, and training sessions to help community leaders implement strategies to reduce gun violence.
To aid you in these and other efforts, Faiths United is providing the following resources:
Through faith, we find the inspiration to be the blessed peacemakers the world so desperately needs.
For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
World leaders are gathering again to develop next steps in addressing the global climate change crisis. Earlier this year, Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Presiding Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, helped lead a diverse coalition of faith groups participating in the People’s Climate March. The march called on world leaders gathered for the UN Summit on Climate Change to take an aggressive stand against air pollution. These leaders will assemble again in Lima, Peru (1-12 December 2014) for the Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of the 20th Convening of the Parties, they will identify the broad areas of international agreement around carbon emmissions caps, financial support for clean energy production, and workforce development for “green” economies.
Faith groups will be present to ensure they produce a framework that reflects our core values of justice, broad enviornmental stewardship, jobs for all, protection for the vulnerable, and relief from poverty. We must be bold.
Because of the work and advocacy of activists the world over, Global leaders ARE LISTENING. This week, China and the United States of America, two of the world’s largest air polluters, announced a new program to reduce carbon emissions over the next twenty years. We must keep up the pressure so that these nations fully implement the plan and that other nations join in the effort.
Here are some actions you can take, wherever you live in the world, to maintain the momentum leading up to the Lima conference:
Reflecting our sacred duty to exercise stewardship over all of God’s creation, MCC stands in solidarity with environmental justice advocates around the world.
For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at email@example.com.
MCC is joining with human rights activists, LGBT Jamaicans, and people of faith from around the world for a day of global protest on Wednesday, 6 August 2014, in opposition to Jamaica’s Anti-Buggery Law. The law has provided legal cover for extreme anti-LGBT violence throughout the country. The anti-LGBT movement in Jamaica has been highly effective in spreading hateful propaganda about the community. MCC joins activists from around the world in calling for a coordinated, global response in solidarity with LGBT people on the ground.
6 August is Jamaica’s Independence Day, and we invite you to join us in calling for an end to violence and the legal system that enables it.
Jamaican Consulate Protests:
Our Day of Action will send a powerful message that the British-era colonial law has no place in any modern society. Dwayne Brown, the founder of Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, said, “For too long, the government of Jamaica has failed to take decisive action to address the ongoing crisis of anti-LGBT violence. One important step is immediately repealing the buggery law, which has been used in various ways to terrorize the LGBT community.” It will further support the legal challenges taking place in the Jamaican judicial system to eliminate the anti-buggery law, an effort led by MCC’s Maurice Tomlinson.
Here’s what you can do to join the movement:
“We Dare Not Confuse Sincere Prejudice with Sincere Religion”
MCC global moderator to witness signing of presidential executive orders with NO added exemptions
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), which has ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with U.S. White House staff in 1979, and she served as a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson has been invited to the White House to witness President Barack Obama sign two executive orders. The first will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1965 Lyndon Johnson executive order which banned discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or nationality in hiring by federal contractors. The second order adds gender identity to the list of protected classes of federal workers and was first signed by President Richard Nixon, who added disability and age. President Clinton added sexual orientation, and President Obama adds gender identity.
“We are thrilled that President Obama will sign executive orders to include sexual orientation and gender identity within Federal policies of non-discrimination. It is even more historic because no sweeping religious exemptions sponsored by conservatives will be added,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, global moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).
“Using religious exemptions as a smokescreen for discrimination is the kind of persecution the First Amendment to the Constitution helps us to avoid,” said Dr. Wilson. “Everyone loves religious liberty, but we dare not confuse sincere prejudice with sincere religion. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people know that exemption from the law is a dangerous by-product of religious bigotry, not religious liberty.”
“MCC stands with all people of good will to support President Obama in this historic action,” said Dr. Wilson. “It is a deep honor to represent Metropolitan Community Churches at the signing event. While these executive orders will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes for federal contractors and workers, we will not rest until Congress passes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with no religious exemptions so all Americans will be hired and fired based on their work and integrity rather than their gender identity or whom they love.”
“We know that conservatives will continue to market their prejudices under the guise of religious freedom, but we will not let their brand of judgmental Christianity be the only voice of faithful Christians that the public hears. We are LGBT and straight people of faith together who know that we are created in the image of God,” said Dr. Wilson. “We categorically reject the disastrous religious dogma that God wants Christians to hate some people.”
17 July 2014 -‐-‐-‐ Today, as Israel and Hamas took a brief recess from their 10 -‐day war, only to have that lull in fighting marred by the deaths of 4 Gaza children hit by missiles while playing on the beach near their homes; while violence claimed the lives of innocent civilians from the airport of Kabul to the streets of places like Syria and Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, someone shot an airplane out of the sky over Donetsk in the Ukraine, an already war-‐ravaged area of the globe. Fields with purple flowers became the unintended resting place of 295 people on their way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The flight manifest has yet to be released, but we know from our friends around the world that at least 5 AIDS activists on their way from points in Europe to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne were among those lost.
At times like this, our hearts are broken for the families and friends, the allies and co -‐workers of all those lost to violence and the senseless tragedies it produces. While many on the airwaves debate who is responsible for the tragedies, I am drawn to the example of Jesus, who when pressed by the crowds of unrelenting needs around him for relief and healing and peace, would go off to a lonely place to pray.
And so, I ask all MCCers and people of faith to join me in prayer now.
We give you thanks for the gift of life,
and the chance you give to all of us
to live each day with a heart for compassion and care
and a spirit attuned to peace.
We mourn all our brothers and sisters lost
to violence and needless violence and tragedy today,
especially those on Malaysia Airlines flight 17
and those 4 little boys on the beach in Gaza Cit y.
Be with their families and friends left behind,
and help them to find some comfort in knowing that
they are at peace with you, and that
we will all one day be together again.
With a full heart, O God, we pray for
peace on this earth
and goodwill among a ll.
Regardless of our political persuasions or belief systems,
help us to renounce all violence and to seek to live
in a way that promotes the wellbeing of all your children.
Give us all the courage to follow in the footsteps of Jesus the Christ,
Prince of Peace, in whose name we pray. +Amen
The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
MCC is long tenured in the response to HIV as it was the first Christian denomination to minister to those with HIV/AIDS. The CDC announcement is good news to our churches because it gives us an additional tool to reduce new HIV infections.
All methods of HIV prevention should still be applied in addition to this new scientifically proven method of taking a daily dosage of Truvadaas described in the guidelines under the direction of a medical professional with the required counseling. However, MCC emphasizes that PrEP is not a substitute for condoms, but another option now available. No single intervention is completely protective in preventing HIV transmission. Clean syringe exchange for people who use drugs, widespread distribution of male and female condoms to populations at risk for HIV transmission, reducing the number of sexual partners, universal access to health services and anti-retroviral treatment, eliminating gender-based violence and gender inequality, age-appropriate sex education and repealing laws criminalizing people with HIV and sex workers and people most at risk for HIV transmission are interventions that we know will work.
PrEP is a medical advance that is the product of peer reviewed research and international scrutiny, and should be made universally available.
We still need a cure for AIDS and a vaccine for HIV. Recognizing that PrEP is not a cure or a vaccine for HIV, we now have evidence that it can reduce HIV infections among populations most at risk for HIV transmission. While new HIV infections overall have declined somewhat worldwide, they are either not declining or increasing in populations most at risk for HIV such as gay men and men who have sex with men and transgender persons.
MCC and the Global Justice Institute call on the world’s medical community to marshal resources and make personal commitments to providing PrEP-inclusive medical care to all those at risk of HIV transmission including those who are incarcerated. We call on people of faith to do the work of justice, in the private and public sectors, by opposing all systems of domination and marginalization that make the use of PrEP necessary. We will judge our work complete when the world fundamentally agrees on the sacredness of sexuality and no one abuses this fundamental freedom.
Click HERE to download information provided by MCC’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council on PrEP, andHERE for the CDC’s guide to how to talk with your doctor. Click HERE for the Advisory Council’s information on PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).
This statement was prepared by the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council and the Moderator’s Public Policy Team,
Metropolitan Community Churches