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Archive for the ‘MCC News’ Category

MCC’s Marie Alford-Harkey Named Next President and CEO of the Religious Institute

Marie Alford-Harkey

Today, Metropolitan Community Churches Global Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, congratulated Marie Alford-Harkey, who will be the new CEO and President of the Religious Institute, on 1 May 2016.

“We are thrilled to learn that Marie Alford-Harkey will become the head of the Religious Institute. Ms. Alford-Harkey’s leadership in MCC, academic training, and pastoral heart are a perfect match for the intellectual rigor and practical theology of the Religious Institute,” said the Dr. Wilson. “Marie Alford-Harkeychas a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School, a Masters from Wayne State University, and is well on her way through the ordination process of MCC.”

Religious Institute Board Chair, the Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, said, “The Board of Directors of the Religious Institute is pleased and excited that Marie Alford-Harkey will be guiding us into our promising future as an organization that brings healing, insight, and hope to our world. Marie has so thoroughly demonstrated her skills and creativity as educator, planner, and communicator as well as her vision, passion, and commitment to our mission for sexual justice that we are confident she is exactly the one we need to lead us.”

Ms. Alford-Harkey has served as the Deputy Director of the Religious Institute since 2011, and is stepping into the role of President/CEO following the Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, who founded the Religious Institute in 2001. Together, Religious Institute programs include the Sexually Healthy Seminary Project and online courses in sexuality issues for religious professionals, outreach in Southern states, and the Gilead Sabbath to end violence and persecution against LGBTQ people around the world. Ms. Alford-Harkey is the lead author of the Religious Institute’s guidebook, Bisexuality: Making the Invisible Visible in Faith Communities. She works with faith communities, seminaries, LGBTQ organizations, and reproductive health groups though workshops, keynotes, and training.

We make baptism available to all…every child is a child of God

Global Moderator of MCC speaks out as Mormon leaders divide families
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, 
which has ministries around the world. Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation 
to meet with a sitting president in 1979. She was a member 
of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

“When Mormon officials announced that baptism would be withheld from children until they turned 18, when they would be required to reject their same-gender parents, I was shocked,” said Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. “Only days ago, a Mormon official stated that public officials would have to follow the law of the land which is marriage for all loving couples. I thought they were making progress.”


“Today, I want to invite all Mormons to Metropolitan Community Churches. We will baptize your children regardless of the gender of your spouse.  We will not ask your children to turn on you when they are 18 and to live with that dread all of their childhood years.

“Mormon LGBTQ people, their friends and families have heard the message loudly and clearly.  Over 1,000 Mormons have pledged to show up as many turn in their membership and officially resign from the Latter Day Saints.  They were told they must choose. They chose to turn away from their abusive mother, the church, and embrace their true families of love. It is the right choice, but heartbreaking, nonetheless.  An abusive parent also has a choice-get help!”

“MCC is ready to help!  On Saturday, November 14, we will stand with the Mormons who are resigning their membership in the LDS Church,” said Salt Lake MCC pastor, Rev. Cindy Solomon-Klebba. “Join us at 12:45 p.m. MST at the plaza in front of Farr’s Ice Cream at 50 East South Temple. The event begins at 1:00 p.m. MST at Temple Square. f you cannot attend, send a letter:

To worship at Metropolitan Community Church in Salt Lake City, write to Rev. Cindy Solomon-Klebba.”

Below is MCC’s current statement on our practice of Baptism:

Metropolitan Community Churches includes baptism as one of our sacraments. We make baptism available to all, members and non-members, in the same way we offer an open communion, because of our high value on radical welcome and inclusivity.

MCC has always baptized infants, in the way that most Christian churches do, and, for those parents who are from backgrounds that do not practice infant baptism, we provide a rite of blessing, or dedication, of infants.   Our eclectic ecclesiology and the ecumenical nature of our denomination encourage us to be bold in our welcome and flexible in our practice.

Our belief is that every person is a child of God. Among the many meanings of baptism in the Christian faith, one of the meanings is “welcome to the family,” the human family, the family of faith.  We are grateful for the gift of children, the blessing they are to our families and churches, and we acknowledge our sacred responsibility to them through baptism.

For decades, MCC churches, pastors and leaders have provided weddings, baptisms, funerals and memorials for people who were rejected by their own churches, or who had no church home in which to celebrate life passages. During the worst years of AIDS, we never asked, “What church do you belong to?”  We responded with love, acceptance, and an open heart and community, a reflection of our understanding of the nature and heart of God.

Over the decades, MCC churches have welcomed those from a Mormon background, including some of our earliest leaders.  Every Metropolitan Community Churches stands ready to baptize and bless the children of Mormon couples, and those from other denominations who do not accept same-sex couples and their families, such as Roman Catholics and those from conservative Christian denominations.

Pope Francis, do you care about LGBTQ lives?

MCC Moderator Challenges Pope on Secret Meeting with Kim Davis
“Pope Francis, do you care about LGBTQ lives?”

Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, spoke out today in response to the secret meeting between the Pope and Kim Davis, the county clerk who denied marriage licenses in defiance of a ruling by the Supreme Court for equality under the law for all couples.

Pope Francis, do you care about LGBTQ lives“As an LGBTQ faith leader who was at the White House last week to welcome the Pope, I am so disappointed and incredulous,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC. “We politely urged Pope Francis to say out loud that LGBTQ people in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the USA have a right to life. Instead, in a secret meeting with Kim Davis, that is now public, he encouraged a woman who symbolizes contempt for the human and spiritual rights of LGBTQ people in this country.”

“As the Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, I speak for LGBTQ people around the world who are literally dying for the Pope to take the next step after his ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement and say, ‘LGBTQ people are created in the image of God and deserve to live without fear of prison, persecution, or execution.'”

“Pope Francis, we so appreciate your advocacy for the poor. We are poor. We love your stand on climate care. We care! But, Pope Francis, do you care about LGBTQ lives? We are dying to know.”

Will Pope Francis Save the Planet?

Pool via Getty Images

The New Republic headline declared, “Pope Francis Won’t Save the Planet.” Maybe not, but we can! It is time to stop unchecked climate change. The life you save could be your own.

Pope Francis may be the best known and the most beloved planetary leader ever. His flock is over one billion strong, and they represent about half of all Christians. Catholics and Protestants alike are inspired by his dedication to the poor, and belief in the full humanity of prisoners and immigrants. His outspoken encyclical on climate care, his willingness to meet with sex-abuse victims, and to clean up the Vatican bank are all historic expressions of accountability as well as compassion.

The trip to the United States by the Pope is timed perfectly for a lead-up to the United Nations Sustainable Development meeting, which is considering a plan to eliminate hunger and poverty in 15 years. We can do it if we choose. But will we?



Climate is central to any such efforts. Sea levels are rising, violent storms are increasing, and poor people are literally at the brink of being swept away. Even middle class survivors of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina will tell you that everything you own can be swept away in a day, and you awaken to face poverty and homelessness.

The Pope is awake. A Reuters article in July quoted Pope Francis who said, “Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.”

Churches and institutions of higher education are beginning to take this moral imperative seriously. There are people of good will who are making changes, and there are decent people whose highest priority is to protect investment portfolios–not the planet.

Fossil fuel investments do not look good on their own merits. The signs are everywhere if you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Carmakers are shifting to plug-in cars as fast as they can create them. Oil companies have been drilling fast and furious, and decimating communities with impunity with a boom-and-bust mentality in places like the Dakotas. Today, with plummeting prices, it’s time to get out of oil and coal.

Right now, there is a growing movement of universities and religious institutions todivest from fossil fuel. In denominational settings, the arguments against fossil fuel divestment echo the arguments against divesting from South Africa at the height of Apartheid: “You will hurt the people who are most vulnerable.” “We need to stay invested so we can be at the table to change policies.” “You don’t know enough about investing to tell us how to invest.”

Today, personal choices about energy use and energy investments have a political impact. Our choices impact our neighbors; they impact the world.

A church colleague of mine announced on Facebook recently, “I am off the grid!” Did it cost money? Sure! It was an investment–a good one. Between solar panels and a plug-in car, one person divested herself in major ways from fossil fuels. You can be sure she will support legislation in her denomination to divest.

As the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, I have asked our Creation Care Team to urge our members and congregations to commit to the Paris Pledge, and reduce their carbon emissions 50 percent by the year 2030. If the world makes this pledge, we can keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius and avoid tragic environmental consequences.

May we stand together with faith communities around the globe to practice what we preach. We also need to CHANGE what we preach.

In his papal encyclical, “On Care For Our Common Home,” Pope Francis upends the belief that people can exploit, decimate, and despoil our environment based on Genesis 1:28, where God gave humankind dominion over the earth and all creatures.Dominion thinking gave birth to movements that idolize unrestricted use of private property and melds American nationalism with beliefs that Christians will rule the world.

Pope Francis’ challenge to dominion thinking is grounded in scripture, as well. In the introduction of the encyclical, he repeatedly quotes his predecessor pontiffs to remind readers that many Popes and saints expressed love for God’s earth. In the section on dominion, Pope Francis quotes no one but scripture and breaks new ground. This is a new interpretation, a life-saving interpretation. The excerpt from paragraph 67 of thepapal encyclical, “On Care for Our Common Home,” says:

“We are not God. … We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures. …Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. …God rejects every claim to absolute ownership: ‘The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with me.’ (Leviticus 25:23)”

When I read this dramatic shift in understanding our place in creation, I realize there is so much to do and so little time to do it. Blessed Tomorrow is a coalition of faith leaders who are working with the congregations and with national leaders to mobilize all people of faith to address climate change.

Those of us in the United States have a bigger responsibility. We represent 5 percent of the world’s population, and we use 25 percent of the world’s energy. How do we reduce our consumption by 50 percent? Here are 50 ideas, and here is a Blessed Tomorrow Action Workbook for congregations.

What you do every day makes a difference. How you drive, the settings on your water heater, how you wash and dry your clothes, all make a difference. Most importantly, how you think makes a difference. If you think you do not matter, you are part of the problem. If you shift your thinking to “everything counts,” you will know that every act of conservation–a light turned out, less aggressive driving, added insulation–reduces energy consumption.

The time is now. It is the only moment we have. Pope Francis is using his moment to help the world come to its senses. How about you?

Remembering Father John J. McNeill

September 2, 1925 – September 22, 2015

MCC Global Moderator Marks the Passing
of Father John J. McNeill


“Father McNeill remained steadfast and clear in his faith.  He was a joyous lover, friend, and compassionate teacher and counselor.”

Father John J. McNeill, renowned Catholic and author of The Church and the Homosexual, died September 22, 2015, with his partner of 45 years at his bedside.

Father John J. McNeill

“It does not feel like an accident that Father John McNeill died this week during the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States,” said Global MCC Moderator Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “Forty of Father McNeil’s 90 years, four decades were dedicated to being a Jesuit priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis is also a Jesuit.

“The Jesuits are renowned for their scholarly rigor and compassionate leadership. It was this scholarly and compassionate approach that shone forth when Father McNeill published The Church and the Homosexual in 1976. He gave hope and healing to a generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Catholics who struggled to reconcile faith and sexuality.

“It is amazing how much hope Pope Francis gave to the LGBTQ world when he simply asked, ‘Who am I to judge?’ Today, the Pope could say to LGBTQ Roman Catholics, and to those who knew and loved Father McNeill, ‘I grieve with you.'”

John McNeill fought the good fight. Ordained a Jesuit priest in 1959, he began to minister to gay and lesbian Catholics in the 1970s and helped birth DignityUSA in 1974. His 1976 book, The Church and the Homosexual, gave the movement great hope. After a whirlwind of public engagements, including  coming out on the TODAY show, the Vatican silenced him. He obeyed the public silence for nine years, but kept up his ministry of counseling and retreats. This was not enough for Cardinal Ratzinger; he ordered Father McNeill to stop all ministry to LGBTQ people. When he refused, John McNeill was expelled from his beloved Jesuit community.

“Despite this persecution, he remained steadfast and clear in his faith,” Dr. Wilson said. “He was a joyous lover, friend, and compassionate teacher and counselor.

“I met Father McNeill in 1974, as he was founding DignityUSA in New York. I followed his writings and was interviewed for Brendan Fay’s video biography,Taking a Chance on God. Father McNeill was the most gentle and pastoral of prophets.

“At Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church, I often worshipped with John and his beloved Charlie Chiarelli. Besides the God who created him, he loved Charlie most of all. Their profound witness changed the church and the world.

“John was personally encouraging to me as both a pastor and Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. Like many Roman Catholics and the faithful from all denominations, MCC became home for John and Charlie – the place that will not turn you away. He had a profound ecumenical spirit and gave his all to our movement.

“When I first heard the news that John was in hospice care, I remembered that it took 350 Years for the Vatican to admit Galileo was right, the Earth does orbit the Sun. Will it take 350 years for the Vatican to admit Father John McNeill was right, that God loves LGBTQ people? I hope not.

“We lost a great leader this week, when Father John McNeil went to God, but we had him for a lifetime and his life made a difference. He will never be forgotten,” Dr. Wilson said.

Gifts in honor of Father John McNeill can be sent to Sunshine Cathedral MCC for the John J. McNeill Legacy Fund.

The Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change — What is Missing?

Pope Francis, when you arrived for the first time in the United States, it was my privilege to be among the throngs of people welcoming you to our home. It was so gratifying to know you would be visiting a prison, and addressing the U.S. Congress, and the United Nations on Climate Care. Your challenges to people of faith to address the needs of the poor inspire me to say YES to you as a Pope of the people.

Your encyclical, LAUDATO SI’: On Care for Our Common Home, will help the world of faith and civil society face our climate crisis caused by human beings. Your passionate insistence on facing the facts, with faith and courage, is truly a miracle of our time. Your work to galvanize people of all faiths to shift away from a fossil fuel dependent world could literally save us.


Read the full article on Huffington Post.


MCC Moderator Speaks to Vatican Discomfort with Gay Bishop and Activist Nun at the White House Welcome for the Pope


DATE: 21 September 2015

Contact: Linda Brenner-Beckstead,, 941-321-7886
Ann Craig,, 917-280-2968

MCC Moderator Speaks to Vatican Discomfort with Gay Bishop
and Activist Nun at the White House Welcome for the Pope

Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, spoke out in response to a “senior Vatican official” who said the Vatican was urging the White House to disinvite openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson and “Nuns on the Bus” leader, Sister Simone Campbell, from the event to welcome the Pope at the White House on Wednesday morning.

According to the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed “senior Vatican official” said the White House should disinvite Bishop Robinson and Sister Simone because they might seek a photo op with Pope Francis that would imply approval of LGBTQ people or nuns who seek more leadership roles for women.

A word from Pope Francis

“As one of the LGBTQ faith leaders who will be at the White House on Wednesday morning to welcome the Pope, I want to let the Vatican and the world know that we will be present to offer hospitality and respect to Pope Francis,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC.

“Will we be pushing our way to the front? Perhaps we should. In the Bible, the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment was a social outcast who fought for her moment with Jesus. Although we know that the Pope is not Jesus, we know a word from Pope Francis about the right to life for LGBTQ people in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the USA could reduce hate, and save so many lives.

“As the Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, I speak for LGBTQ people around the world who are literally dying for the Pope to take the next step after his ‘Who am I to judge?’ statement and say, ‘LGBTQ people are created in the image of God and deserve to live without fear of prison, persecution, or execution.'”

Global Moderator of MCC to Help Welcome Pope at White House


DATE: September 21, 2015

Contact: Linda Brenner-Beckstead,, 941-321-7886
Ann Craig,, 917-280-2968

Global Moderator of MCC to Help Welcome Pope at White House:
Faith leaders Will Convene for Climate Care, and to Hear Pope’s UN Address

During Washington D.C. visit, Pope Francis will be welcomed by religious and community leaders at a ceremony at the White house on Tuesday morning, including the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. Dr. Wilson then joins other national religious leaders who are part of “Blessed Tomorrow” to work on Climate Care and to build on Pope Francis’ Encyclical.

Wednesday, September 23, 8:15am – White House Reception
Thursday, September 24, 7:30 RSVP – National Cathedral DC Worship Service
Friday, September 25, 8:30 – 11:30am ET:
Religious leaders meet on climate care and to hear Pope’s UN Remarks

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and a host of prominent religious and community leaders

“The Pope and I agree on so much-mercy, forgiveness, care for the poor and climate care,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, global Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. “When it comes to his views where we disagree, like acceptance of LGBT people, women’s ordination, and women’s birth choices, perhaps I can borrow a line from him, ‘Who am I to judge?’ In the meantime, we will urge the Pope and the Vatican to catch up to Catholics in the pews who are more progressive than their leaders.”

September 23 – White house (red entrance)
September 24-25 – National Cathedral – 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC

Sign the petition – stop the drownings

We’ve been shocked by the image of the drowned innocent boy all over the media this morning and have joined this campaign demanding EU politicians take urgent action to save lives and give sanctuary to people fleeing war and hunger.

They’re meeting in a few days so we need to act fast. Join me here by signing the petition, sharing the link on any social media you’re on, and forwarding the email below to friends and family:

MCC Hires Development Director

From the Office of the Moderator

MCC Hires Development Director

After hearing from a consultant, and wrestling for a few months, our Governing Board decided in March that in order to really fulfill our Strategic Plan goals around giving and generosity, we needed to hire a full-time Development Director, a position we eliminated in the midst of the economic crisis several years ago and have not filled since.
Thanks to many of you who are members of the Moderator’s Circle, we managed to increase the number of monthly donors to MCC from about 34 to 350. As important as that has been, it still does not begin to meet our needs as we have tried to expand the resources for our denomination and churches.
Our consultant told us in no uncertain terms that we have to create aninfrastructure for developing donors – individuals and foundations — that can supplement the faithful giving of our churches.
Secondly, we were told that we have to re-imagine a development office as a ministry of partnership with our local churches. In other words, our denominational development office will not only raise funds for the denomination, but, in partnership with our local churches, will be a resource for you and your development needs as well. WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER.
Last, the consultant told us we need a development office to help uscontinuously make the case for giving to MCC at all levels – through stewardship, donors, and legacy giving. There are so many who would give to MCC if they really knew what we did, who we serve, and the difference we have made and will continue to make in our world! I knowyou know that is true. I am proud of the effort of our Office of Church Life and Health to make Stewardship resources a priority and hope you take advantage of them!
I am pleased to announce two things:
  • The Governing Board went out on faith to authorize this new position, mid-year, that was unfunded in our budget. We worked together to increase our own giving, and to reach out and ask specifically for funds for this position. I am pleased to announce that we recently received a very generous donation to help fund the upstart of the Development Office as well as New Church starts. We are currently planning on how we can best leverage this donation to significantly advance MCC. We are thrilled for the person who caught the vision and who has made a very key contribution at this time in our history! Thanks be to God!
  • I have hired our new Development Director who has already started work this month.
Emily Gaylor-Abernathy
Emily Gaylor-Abernathy is a Certified Fundraising Professional, and most recently worked for the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, where she learned a great deal about the promise, tensions, and possibilities of the local church/denominational relationship. She is eager to make a difference for our denomination and local churches in attracting new donors and resources to our life-changing ministry.
 Emily resides in Tulsa, with her young son, and describes herself
as a proud, heterosexual ally of the LGBT community, and proud
to work for a church that has an expanding commitment to inclusion and justice. Emily is an accomplished development strategist and planner, has implemented many successful fund raising campaigns
in non-profit organizations, and has a gift for developing and sustaining donor relationships. She is very excited to work
with MCC in this time in our history.
Emily has a Masters in Public Administration, and is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. She also volunteers in a number
of organizations in her community.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Nancy Wilson Signature
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson
Global Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches
PS: With all this very good news, I also challenge us that currently our churches contribute 80% of our income to the denomination through assessments and offerings. We had a little surge of catching up on assessment in April, in advance of our virtual General Conference. That was very encouraging. Unfortunately, giving has been lower than anticipated for the most recent three months. Your assessments, on time, to the denomination, are still our lifeblood. Please make sure that your keep that commitment as we also make good faith efforts to expand our resources – for your church, and for the denomination worldwide.