Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President, sponsors blessing ceremonies and celebrates Cuba Pride
In another historic first for Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of MCC, was one of the presiding clergy at the first blessing of unions in Cuba. About a dozen couples pledged their love to each other as part of Cuba Pride on May 9, 2015. The Associated Press reported:
Luis Enrique Mederos and his partner for 14 years, Alain Morales, approached clergyman including Troy Perry, founder of Los Angeles’ gay-friendly Metropolitan Community Church, and held hands beneath a canopy while the pastors blessed their relationship. “Luis, I give you my life,” Morales said, as the crowd of 300 applauded and cheered. “It’s a step to strengthen our relationship because we’re both religious, believers,” said Mederos, a 47-year-old graphic designer. He said he saw the ceremony as an important step toward the eventual legalization of gay marriage in Cuba.
Mariela Castro was in the middle of Cuba’s Pride celebration, and she gave her blessing to the proceedings but was not present for the actual blessing of the unions. The MCC delegation had informal conversations with Mariela Casto and met more formally with Cuba’s Religious Affairs Commissioner, with officials in the Cuban Council of Churches, and with the Fraternity Of Baptist Churches in Cuba.
Rev. Elder Troy Perry traveled with his husband Phillip De Blieck, as well as the Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West, and the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez. The delegation talked with Cubans about the global challenges faced by LGBTQ people of faith and plan to continue collaborations with LGBTQ religious leaders in Cuba.
“As the founder of MCC going back to 1968, I have lived long enough to see so many churches open their doors — and to see MCC congregations on almost every continent,” said the Rev. Elder Troy Perry. “It is exciting to be part of a moment when Cuban people of faith and political leaders are opening doors to all loving couples and to LGBTQ people!”
“We were honored for MCC faith leaders to be part of this historic event,” said global MCC Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “These blessings for loving couples in Cuba parallel MCC’s many firsts — first to marry same-sex couples, first to convene AIDS awareness day, and first to provide a welcoming worshipping community for LGBTQ people.”
“Throughout the Americas and the world, people know that Cuba’s future will impact everyone’s future,” said the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez, head of the Latin American MCC network. “I meet people in los pueblos where they live their daily lives and increasingly see families supporting each other, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. I am so hopeful about supportive relationships with our partners in Cuba.”
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What MCCers Can Do
Conceived in 2004 by French activist Louis-Georges Tin to commemorate the decision of the World Health Organization (1990) to de-pathologize homosexuality by removing it from the International Classification of Diseases, May 17th has become a globally recognized day to raise awareness of LGBTQI lives and call attention to efforts to end discrimination and violence and promote equality.
This year, from China to the Congo and Canada, LGBTQI peoples and our allies in over 170 nations will sponsor conversations, festivities and events, as well as demonstrations and marches for an end to the criminalization of Queer life and the implementation of policies that recognize and respect the diversity of God’s creation.
In Botswana, activists will showcase the first short theater production focusing on original works with Queer themes. In Iran, the Iranian Queer Organization will make sure that IDAHOBiT artwork is available in Farsi. The United Nations Human Rights Office in New York City will highlight Queer lives worldwide on screens in Times Square.
Everyone can do something to highlight LGBTQI life and our victories or address the challenges that remain before us.
The Global Justice Institute and the Moderator’s Public Policy Team invites MCC congregations around the world to make May 17th INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA SUNDAY!
Here are some suggestions for you, your congregation, or your ministry:
Every word offered, every event celebrated, every step taken, every prayer lifted up can and will make a difference for God’s LGBTQI peoples and a world at peace with its own diversity. You can inspire others around the world by sharing what you do. Send your stories and photos to The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt of the Public Policy Team at revdrjimmerrit@holycrossmcc.
Thank you for making this world a better place.
This action alert was prepared by the Global Justice Institute and the Public Policy Team of
Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute, Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner-Chair.
“Hacia un mundo libre y en igualdad”, Rev. Obispa Dra. Nancy Wilson, Moderadora (Foto: Bill Owen, Allegheny College)
Se enviarán boletas individuales por medio de Survey Monkey vía correo electrónico a las personas delegadas de la Cámara Laical y de la Cámara Clerical elegibles para que puedan abrir la boleta de votación. Recibirás un correo electrónico directamente de Survey Monkey el miércoles, 6 de maya 2015, a la 1 pm UTC/GMT (9 am EDT).
Si no recibes el correo electrónico antes de las 2 pm UTC/GMT (10 am EDT), favor de contactar a la Rev. Vickey Gibbs a RevVickeyGibbs@MCCchurch.net o al teléfono 1-281-940-1558. La Rev. Vickey estará disponible para las personas delegadas hasta las 11 pm UTC/GMT (7 pm EDT) del 6 de mayo y comenzará de nuevo a las 12 hrs GMT (8 am EDT) el 7 de mayo.
Habrá un enlace en el correo electrónico que te llevará ya sea a la boleta de votación laical o clerical, según corresponda. Las instrucciones para la votación estarán disponibles en los siguientes cuatro (4) idiomas: inglés, alemán, portugués y español.
¿Qué puedes esperar en la boleta de Survey Monkey?:
La primera pantalla será la bienvenida y agradecimiento por participar en esta votación.
La segunda pantalla pedirá tu nombre, correo electrónico, tu designación de voto y el nombre de tu Iglesia.
La designación de tu voto para el Laicado será Delegada Laica de Iglesia, Líder Pastoral Interino, Laica Miembro del Consejo de Obispos/as, o Laica Miembro de la Junta de Gobierno. Para el clero, deberán elegir entre Activo o Jubilado.
La tercera pantalla pedirá que emitas tu voto para afirmar a Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Tony Freeman, Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Nancy Maxwell, J.D., LL.M., Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León y / o Rev. Dra. Candace Shultis seleccionando SI, No, o Abstención.
Una vez que termines tu votación, debes elegir “Done”. Se te redirigirá a la página web de ICM.
Favor de tener en cuenta que una vez que elijas “Done,” no podrás regresar a la bolete de votación.
La votación se concluirá el jueves 7 de mayo a las 9 pm UTC/GMT (5 pm EDT). Los votos serán contados por una firma independiente, y enviará los resultados a la Junta de Gobierno. La Moderadora ha designado a la Rev. Onetta Brooks, Presidenta del Comité de Gobierno/de la Junta de Gobierno, como Secretaria en esta Conferencia General Especial.
SI TE PERDISTE LOS FOROS DE NEGOCIOS
Si te perdiste los Foros de Negocios en vivo, fueron grabados y se han publicado. Incluso cuentan con ejemplos de las boletas de votación de ambas Cámaras, en la presentación de PowerPoint, así como en las presentaciones grabadas. Puedes consultarlos en el siguiente enlace:
Esperamos tu participación en esta Conferencia General Virtual para afirmar a Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Tony Freeman, Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Nancy Maxwell, J.D., LL.M., Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León y / o Rev. Dra. Candace Shultis para el puesto de Obispas y Obispos.
Paz y Bendiciones,
Junta de Gobierno de ICM
|Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator (Photo: Bill Owen, Allegheny College)|
Individual Survey Monkey ballots will be sent via email to eligible Lay House and Clergy House delegates at their email address of record when the poll opens. You will receive an email directly from Survey Monkey on Wednesday, 6 May 2015, at 1 pm UTC/GMT (9 am EDT).
If you have not received an email by 2 pm UTC/GMT (10 am EDT), please contact Rev. Vickey Gibbs at RevVickeyGibbs@MCCchurch.
There will be a link in the email that will take you to either the Lay or Clergy Ballot, as appropriate. The voting instructions are provided in the following four (4) languages: English, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.
What you can expect on your Survey Monkey Ballot:
The first screen will welcome and thank you for participating in this vote.
The second screen will ask for your name, your email address, your voting designation, and your church name.
Your voting designation for Laity will be Church Lay Delegate, Interim Pastoral Leader, Lay Member of the Council of Elders, or a Lay Member of the Governing Board. For Clergy, you will select either Active or Retired.
The third screen will ask you to vote to affirm Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Tony Freeman, Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Nancy Maxwell, J.D., LL.M., Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León and / or Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis by selecting Yes, No, or Abstain.
Once you have completed your ballot, select “Done” at the bottom of the page. You will be redirected to the MCC website home page.
Please note that once you select “Done,” you will not be able to return to the ballot.
The voting will close on Thursday, 7 May, at 9 pm UTC/GMT (5 pm EDT). The votes will be tabulated by an independent firm, and the results will be sent to the Governing Board. The Moderator has designated Rev. Onetta Brooks, Chair of the Governance Committee/Governing Board, as the Clerk for this Special General Conference.
IF YOU MISSED IT
If you missed the live Business Forum webinars, they were recorded and have been posted.There are also samples of both the Lay House and Clergy House ballots, found in the presentation PowerPoint charts, as well as in the recording presentations. You can access all these items via this direct link:
We look forward to your participation in this special Virtual General Conference to affirmRev. Ines-Paul Baumann, Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Rev. Tony Freeman, Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Nancy Maxwell, J.D., LL.M., Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León and / or Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis for the position of Elder.
Iglesia de la Comunidad Metropolitana invitado por Bautistas de Cuba para discutir las personas LGBTQ y fe
un apretón de manos. El 28 de abril, líderes de la Iglesia de la Comunidad Metropolitana (ICM / MCC) harán historia al viajar a Cuba por invitación de Abriendo Brechas de Colores, un groupo de la Fraternidad de Iglesias Bautistas de Cuba. Lideres de Abriendo Brechas de Colores, también, organizaron la reunión en el Seminario Evangélico de Teología, en Matanzas, Cuba. Allí, compartirán su experiencia de casi 50 años de ministerio con la gente de fe que son lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgénero, y queer (LGBTQ). Mas y mas personas que no son LGBTQ pero quieren una iglesia abierta se unen a esta comunión.
La delegación incluirá el fundador de MCC, Rev. Obispo Troy Perry con su esposo Phillip De Blieck, así como la Rev. Obispa Dra. Mona West, y el Rev. Obispo Héctor Gutiérrez. El objetivo de la delegación es discutir los desafíos globales actuales que enfrentan las personas LGBT de fe, establecer relaciones con líderes religiosos en Cuba y explorar las posibilidades de ampliar la presencia de MCC en Cuba.
“Estábamos encantados de que MCC fue invitado a enviar algunos de nuestros mejores intelectuales teológicas y empresariales para el diálogo sobre la fe de nuestra historia de construir algo de la nada”, dijo la Rev. Obispa Dra. Nancy Wilson. MCC Moderador mundial, “Las personas LGBT y nuestros aliados estamos en un largo viaje; tenemos mucho que compartir de nuestros éxitos y desafíos. Sabemos que la gente de fe en Cuba también tienen tantas historias ricas para compartir con nosotros”.
“Como fundador de ICM / MCC que se remonta a 1968, he vivido lo suficiente para ver tantas iglesias abren sus puertas y para ver congregaciones MCC en casi todos los continentes”, dijo el Rev. Obispo Troy Perry. “Nuestra familia de fe cubana nos ha invitado a compartir y escuchar. Creo que todos vamos a inspirarnos a seguir abriendo puertas!”
Historic Metropolitan Community Churches invited to Cuban seminary to discuss LGBTQ people and faith
The delegation will include MCC founder Rev. Elder Troy Perry with his husband Phillip De Blieck, as well as the Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West and the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez. The goal of the delegation is to discuss the ongoing global challenges faced by LGBTQ people of faith and to establish relationships with religious leaders in Cuba and explore possibilities to expand the MCC presence in Cuba.
“We were thrilled that MCC was invited to send some of our top theological and entrepreneurial minds to dialogue about faith from our history of building something out of nothing,” said global MCC Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “LGBTQ people and our allies are on a long journey; we have much to share from our successes and challenges. We know people of faith in Cuba also have so many rich stories to share with us.”
“Throughout the Americas and the world, people know that Cuba’s future will impact everyone’s future,” said the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez, head of the Latin American MCC Network. “I meet people in los pueblos where they live their daily lives and increasingly see families supporting each other, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. I am so hopeful about supportive relationships with our partners in Cuba.”
Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West, a leading author for the MCC Theologies Team, said, “I was ordained as a Southern Baptist before I came to MCC, and I so look forward to talking with my Cuban Baptist family in the faith. The possibilities of building partnerships that help everyone are real. We go with open hearts and open minds to learn how we can work together.”
Largest Historically LGBTQ Church in the World Calls Prominent MCC Los Angeles Pastor
The long-awaited announcement of a new senior pastor for an historic mega-church in Dallas, Texas, came on April 12, 2015, after morning church services. Members of the Cathedral of Hope, which has a primary ministry with the LGBTQ community, celebrated after a year-long search culminating in the election of the Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas, who will begin serving as senior pastor on May 24.
“We congratulate both Cathedral of Hope and the Rev. Dr. Neil Cazares-Thomas,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the global Metropolitan Community Churches. “Cathedral of Hope has long been a church where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people could worship God freely. Today, Dallas families worship together at the Cathedral in glorious diversity. Dr. Cazares-Thomas, a member of MCC since he was fifteen, will continue to hold MCC credentials and to provide leadership in MCC as he becomes senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope. We know it will be a blessing to the whole congregation and the community.”
“I am grateful for the ministry opportunities that I have had in my 25 years of active service in Metropolitan Community Churches — first in Bournemouth, England, and for the past 13 years at Founders MCC Los Angeles,” said Rev. Dr. Cazares-Thomas. “Now I have the gift of being called to serve as the new senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope, a United Church of Christ congregation. Together, we will embody the partnership between MCC and UCC as we make real God’s love for all people. I will be forever grateful to the people of Founders MCC Los Angeles, who for the past thirteen years have taught me, nurtured me and allowed me to be their Pastor. The future of congregations who welcome everyone is bright.”
Dr. Cazares-Thomas has served MCC as Chair, Board of Ordained Ministries (European District), as a member of the Elder’s Task Force on Education, European District Committee, and board member of Samaritan College in Europe; he was a supervising pastor, and the MCC Ecumenical Officer. More recently, he served on the Moderator’s Advising Team and consultant to the MCC Office of Formation and Leadership Development. In 2010, he was honored by the Metropolitan Community Churches with the 2010 Ecumenical Award.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas recently served as the President of California Faith for Equality and as an adjunct professor at Claremont School of Theology. Until June 2010, he was president of the Los Angeles LGBTQI Clergy Council, and that same year, he was awarded the Harvey Milk Award by Christopher Street West.
Rev. Dr. Cazares-Thomas is married to Isaiah Thomas-Cazares, and they have an infant daughter, Sofia, 8 months old.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.
27 March 2015
Dear MCC Leader:
We are writing to share that the response to this year’s Easter Offering for the Global Justice Institute has been strong! 32 congregations have signed up already!
THANK YOU TO ALL THE CONGREGATIONS LISTED BELOW WHO HAVE ALREADY PLEDGED THEIR SUPPORT!
If we haven’t yet heard from you, will your congregation join in collecting a special offering for Global Justice between Easter and Pentecost? Write to Global Justice Institute executive director Rev. Pat Bumgardner at revpat@
You’ll be joining with the following 32 congregations that are leading the way for this year’s offering!
Join us in bringing a message of hope to our global siblings!
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson
Metropolitan Community Churches