I'm NEW to MCC... Tell Me More!  |  Find a Local Church  |  Give To MCC  |  Contact Us

Archive for the ‘MCC News’ Category

Faith-Based Council Members sign-on to letter re ending human trafficking – Senate and House leadership

Dear Congressman/Senator:

 

We are writing to express our strong support for legislation that would enhance the United States anti-trafficking policy by upgrading the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau. We represent members of both the current and previous President Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As members of the current President’s Advisory Council, we studied the issue of domestic and international trafficking for most of the past year and issued a report with recommendations to President Obama.  One of the recommendations was to upgrade the Office to a Bureau.

Our April 2013 Report states: “The Council appreciates and acknowledges not only the diplomacy and monitoring carried out by J/TIP, but the level of expertise and innovation the Office brings to the anti-trafficking movement.  This Council believes that it is vitally important that the State Department’s J/TIP be elevated to a State Department Bureau, on equal footing with the Regional Bureaus and other priority issues for this Administration. Making J/TIP a Bureau would improve collaboration with the Regional Bureaus, Embassies, and international interlocutors.”

We are grateful that legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to upgrade the Office to a State Department Bureau headed by an Assistant Secretary of State.  This simple redesignation, which does not involve additional bureaucracy or expense, will give J/TIP and its leadership access to the Secretary of State and parity with regional Assistant Secretaries. This upgrade is required for the issue of slavery eradication to receive the attention it requires.

As leaders of faith based and community organizations, we respectfully urge you to support this legislation, which sharpens the United States’ most precious diplomatic tool.  The men and women who staff and lead the J/TIP Office are the nation’s leading experts on modern day slavery.  While we understand that anti-trafficking concerns will sometimes be preempted by other U.S. interests, we believe that it is essential that J/TIP’s leadership have a seat at the table where key decisions on diplomacy and strategy are being developed and implemented.

We respectfully urge you to support H.R. 2283, “The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act,” sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith in the House and S._____, companion legislation in the Senate that is sponsored by Senator Richard Blumenthal.

For information, please contact Allison Hollobaugh, and Joel Cohen, .

Sincerely,

 

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, Policy Link

Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in American

Lynne Hybels, Co-founder, Willow Creek Community Church

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church

Miaohong Hsiangju Liu, Buddha’s Light International Association

Maria Nagorski, Executive Director, Fair Chance DC

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Assembly

Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute

Elder Steven Snow, First Quorum of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Susan K. Stern, Chair, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, Past President, Leadership Council of Women Religious

Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

Rev. Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Dr. Arturo Chavez, President, Mexican American Catholic College

The Reverend Canon Peg Chemberlin, Immediate Past President, National Council of Churches of Christ-USA

Fred Davie, Executive Vice President, Union Theological Seminary

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

Nancy Ratzan, Immediate Past President, National Council of Jewish Women

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

The Reverend Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only

Faith-Based Council Members sign-on to letter re ending human trafficking – Secretary of State Kerry

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington DC

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to express our strong support for current legislation that would enhance the United States anti-trafficking policy by upgrading the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau headed by an Assistant Secretary of State.

We represent members of both the current and previous President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As members of the current President’s Advisory Council, we studied the issue of domestic and international trafficking for the past year and issued a report with recommendations to President Obama.  One of the recommendations was to upgrade the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a Bureau.

Our April 2013 Report states: “The Council appreciates and acknowledges not only the diplomacy and monitoring carried out by J/TIP, but the level of expertise and innovation the Office brings to the anti-trafficking movement.  This Council believes that it is vitally important that the State Department’s J/TIP be elevated to a State Department Bureau, on equal footing with the Regional Bureaus and other priority issues for this Administration. Making J/TIP a Bureau would improve collaboration with the Regional Bureaus, Embassies, and international interlocutors.”

We are grateful that legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate entitled, “The Human Trafficking Prioritization Act,” to upgrade the Office to a State Department Bureau headed by an Assistant Secretary of State.  This simple redesignation, which does not involve additional bureaucracy or expense, will give J/TIP and its leadership access to the Secretary of State and parity with regional Assistant Secretaries. This upgrade is required for the issue of slavery eradication to receive the attention it requires.

As leaders of faith based and community organizations, we respectfully urge you to support this legislation, which sharpens the United States’ most precious diplomatic tool.  The men and women who staff and lead the J/TIP Office are the nation’s leading experts on modern day slavery.  While we understand that anti-trafficking concerns may sometimes be preempted by other U.S. interests, we believe that it is essential that J/TIP’s leadership have a seat at the table where key decisions on diplomacy and strategy are being developed and implemented.

We respectfully urge you to take any action in your authority to elevate the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau.

Sincerely,

 

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, Policy Link

Bishop Mark Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in American

Lynne Hybels, Co-founder, Willow Creek Community Church

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church

Miaohong Hsiangju Liu, Buddha’s Light International Association

Maria Nagorski, Executive Director, Fair Chance DC

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Assembly

Barbara Williams Skinner, President, Skinner Leadership Institute

Elder Steven Snow, First Quorum of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Susan K. Stern, Chair, President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, Past President, Leadership Council of Women Religious

Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

Rev. Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)

Dr. Arturo Chavez, President, Mexican American Catholic College

The Reverend Canon Peg Chemberlin, Immediate Past President, National Council of Churches of Christ-USA

Fred Davie, Executive Vice President, Union Theological Seminary

Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

Nancy Ratzan, Immediate Past President, National Council of Jewish Women

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

The Reverend Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only

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 .

Moderator of world’s largest LGBT community of faith hails signing of anti-discrimination legislation by Puerto Rico’s Governor

Today, Puerto Rico’s Governor, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, signed two bills into effect, one banning discrimination against the island’s LGBT citizens and another adding LGBT couples to protective provisions already in place in domestic violence statutes.

 

Governor Padilla’s actions followed on the heels of those of the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, when earlier this month she mandated that police in the city provide equal protection and access to support services regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

“While some religious leaders mounted a vigorous campaign to defeat these legislative efforts completely,” said The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “I want to lift up and celebrate the courage and conviction of Governor Padilla in announcing as he presented the new laws, he felt he had done his duty as a Christian.”

 

“While a coalition of faith leaders was successful in eliminating clauses that would have more fully guaranteed equality in commercial accommodations, rentals and public transportation,” she continued, “I and the members and friends of ICM Cristo Sanador, our MCC congregation in San Juan, believe with all our hearts that there is much rejoicing in heaven today, for the good news that the Creator’s plan of universal human dignity and equality has taken another step forward in our lives.”

 

The Rev. Jorge Delgado Rivas, member of The Moderator’s Public Policy Team and the Global Justice Institute, expressed his gratitude to the members and friends of MCC in Puerto Rico have long witnessed and worked for this day.  “I am sure,” he said, “many of us remember well the days not  that long ago when crimes committed against LGBT people were not even listed as hate crimes in Puerto Rico.  I want to lift up the memory of people like George Steven Lopez Mercado, targeted as a teenage gay rights activist, and brutally slain.  The police investigator in that case told us that ‘people who lead this life style need to be aware that this will happen.’  Today my brother, Steven, your work on behalf of our people has proved fruitful and those of us born LGBT have taken a huge step forward n reclaiming our rightful place among the human family.  I thank you for praying for us, Steven, and I salute the Governor for keeping his word to us.”

 

Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico remains an unincorporated territory of the United States.  While Puerto Ricans elect their own Governor and legislators, many aspects of life in the island nation remain under the auspices of the Congress of the United States.  The first federally funded survey to determine the future of the island as either a state or a commonwealth has been promised.

 

Metropolitan Community Churches applauds the leadership of the Puerto Rican Governor and legislature, as well as the vision of its citizenry, in working for the fundamental equality of all God’s children.

 

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Global Justice Institute,

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.

For more information about Metropolitan Community Churches, contact Ann Craig .

 

For more information about MCC’s Public Policy Team or the Global Justice Institute, contact The Rev. Jim Merritt at .

A Call to 30 Days of Fasting and Prayer

The Council of Elders would like to invite you, the members and friends of MCC, to join us in 30 Days of Fasting and Prayer beginning on 1 June. As we prepare to convene the General Conference in Chicago on 1 July 2013, we feel that it is important to pray, fast and BELIEVE that during this season of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be profoundly present with us.

 

In 2013, the Church Universal finds itself in a state of unprecedented decline. Now, more than ever, MCC is called to be a new kind of church in a new kind of world. The Council of Elders has no doubt that MCC can BE THAT CHURCH and yet, we must always lean into the power of God’s Spirit and leading.

 

In that spirit, we want to ask that you join us in three things over the next 30 days:

  1. Pray the prayer on the next page every day. Ask the people in your church to join us. “Pray without ceasing” that God’s Spirit will fall anew on MCC as we gather from around the world.
  2. Along with the same prayer each day, we would like for you to join us in praying for a specific thing each of the 30 days. The list for each day is on the next page.
  3. Determine how you might fast as a way of focusing your best intentions and prayers for this to be a miraculous outpouring of God’s spirit. You may want to fast from eating for a certain amount of time (even just one meal), fast from television, going out to eat, shopping, etc.

 

The Council of Elders will all be doing these three things and we believe that the collective prayers and intentions of God’s people can create a future that God has already imagined for MCC!!

 

Gratefully,

The Council of Elders

Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson

Rev. Elder Lillie Brock

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez

Rev. Elder Ken Martin

Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West

 

 

Daily Prayer:

God of the prophet Joel, as we gather in Chicago as your Pentecost people we ask for a fresh outpouring of your Spirit. We claim, great God of wind and fire, the gifts of the Holy Spirit for Metropolitan Community Church. We open ourselves to their unique manifestation among us so that we might boldly proclaim a gospel of Christian salvation, Christian community and Christian social action for the 21st century. As on that first day of Pentecost, may we experience at this General Conference not only a miracle of clear speech but also a miracle of hearing each other deeply, bringing new life to our shared dreams and visions.

 

30 Days of Fasting and Prayer

Saturday

1 June

 

Safety for all traveling to General Conference

Sunday

2 June

 

For powerful inspiration

Monday

3 June

 

Gratitude for staff and volunteers

Tuesday

4 June

 

For open hearts and open minds

Wednesday

5 June

 

For recommitment to founding narrative / original vision

Thursday

6 June

 

For fresh boldness to share the truth that we have received

Friday

7 June

 

For stirring up vocation

Saturday

8 June

 

For tender hearts to hear God’s call

Sunday

9 June

 

For unity in our diversity

Monday

10 June

 

For a Pentecost experience; a fresh outpouring of the Spirit

Tuesday

11 June

 

For growth in our understanding of MCC as a global community

Wednesday

12 June

 

For our witness to people in Chicago

Thursday

13 June

 

For guidance in the selection of leaders

Friday

14 June

 

For the partners and spouses of our leaders

Saturday

15 June

 

For new friendships and deepening relationships

Sunday

16 June

 

For the Elders

Monday

17 June

 

For our Moderator

Tuesday

18 June

 

For our clergy and lay delegates

Wednesday

19 June

 

For the transition to our next Moderator

Thursday

20 June

 

For Rev. Troy Perry

Friday

21 June

 

For our children and youth

Saturday

22 June

 

Outreach to Latinos, especially in the Chicago area

Sunday

23 June

 

For our special guests and speakers

Monday

24 June

 

For inspired worship

Tuesday

25 June

 

For challenging workshops

Wednesday

26 June

 

For new churches that will begin before we are together again

Thursday

27 June

 

For those who will experience General Conference for the first time

Friday

28 June

 

To embody our liberation

Saturday

29 June

 

For forgiveness and healing, inside and outside our walls

Sunday

30 June

 

For the leaders of our nations

 

SCOTUS and a New Day for LGBT Americans

 

Rev. Cathy Alexander, Rev. Onetta Brooks,  Rev. DeWayne Davis,  Rev. Jorge Delgado,  Rev. Dr. Y'Lon Dozier,  Bishop Yvette Flunder,  Rev. Elder Darlene Garner,  Rev. Dr. Robin Gorseline,  Rev. Candy Holmes,  Rev. Dwayne Johnson,  Rev. David North,  Minister Paul Fulton-Woods (Unity Fellowship of Washington DC)

Rev. Cathy Alexander, Rev. Onetta Brooks, Rev. DeWayne Davis, Rev. Jorge Delgado, Rev. Dr. Y’Lon Dozier, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Rev. Dr. Robin Gorseline, Rev. Candy Holmes, Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Rev. David North, Minister Paul Fulton-Woods (Unity Fellowship of Washington DC)

Opening arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)  on Prop 8 and DOMA were about to begin.  MCC faith leaders arrived at the crack of dawn on Tuesday, 27 March 2013, dressed in red, inspired by HRC’s red equal sign, to join the prayer and praise from almost every major faith tradition.

 

More than three hundred of the faithful barely slept the night before so they could show up for the 7:30 a.m. sunrise witness for equality.  All eyes were on the Rev. Candy Holmes as she led the choir in powerful songs, which awakened every soul.  Rev. Holmes was vital to the success of the service in her role as co-planner.

 

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner and many other dignitaries from Metropolitan Community Churches graced the pulpit with their presence and words.  Speakers, singers, and dancers — from Buddhist, Native American, Muslim, Christian and other traditions — expressed respect and spiritual depth in both words and action.

 

Take the time to click through the links below for the collections of photos from Kareem Murphy of the MCC Governing Board and Public Policy Team.  Click through quickly in each collection and you will feel the action, the motion, and the emotion of the worship service and two days of demonstrations where MCC made its presence known.

 

The PBS News Hour covered the voices of faith present on the steps of the Supreme Court, representing both progressives and voices of exclusion.  The Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, UCC head of the office for LGBT ministries and a key organizer for faith voices, urged SCOTUS to decide for our rights.  Bishop Yvette Flunder, presiding bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM), inspired the thousands gathered for equality with the historic freedom song, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around. 

 

Interfaith worship: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114951740149313587032/albums/5859670337060565361

 

Day 1 of demonstrations at the Supreme Court: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114951740149313587032/albums/5859684625775738145

 

Day 2 of demonstrations at the Supreme Court: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/114951740149313587032/albums/5860057207576347441

 

Some of the MCC leaders present were:

Rev. Candy Holmes, Co-coordinator of the Interfaith Service and Choir Director

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Speaker

Rev. David North, Soloist

Rev. Cathy Alexander, Choir

Rev. Y’Lon Dozier, Choir

Bishop Yvette Flunder, Soloist and Speaker at the Rally

Rev. Dwayne Johnson, Participant in the Opening Ritual

Shannon Young, Assistant to Rev. Elder Garner and Rev. Holmes

Rev. Harry Knox

Rev. Cindi Love

Rev. DeWayne Davis

Kareem Murphy

Rev. Onetta Brooks

Rev. Robin Gorsline

Metropolitan Community Churches stands with Lt. Dan Choi and Freedom of Speech

Statement from the Public Policy Team
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release:  28 March 2013

 

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCHES
STANDS WITH LT. DAN CHOI
AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

 

Today, March 28, the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches proudly stands with our friend and colleague in the fight for equality, Lt. Dan Choi. He defended himself in a unique criminal trial at the federal level regarding an act of peaceful protest, as guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States.

Lt. Choi has been an advocate for justice and human rights at great personal and professional cost along the way.

At the heart of Lt. Choi’s case was one of our basic rights in the United States:  freedom of speech. Lt. Choi stood accused of “failure to obey a lawful order” by the U.S. Park Police for protesting in front of the White House, and was found guilty and fined.

Protesting in front of the White House has long been a public square space for free speech and assembly. On the day of his arrest, Lt Choi and 13 others were peacefully protesting against a homophobic military policy, “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell,” which has since been repealed.

According to a previous statement by Peter Tatchell , an advocate for Lt Choi:

“Generally, White House protestors are arrested and required to pay a $100 fine to a municipal court, the equivalent of a parking ticket in the District of Columbia. Instead, in this case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is invoking a seldom-used federal level criminal charge called ‘Failure to Obey.’ Choi’s case is the first time since anti-Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan was prosecuted, that a protestor has been tried federally for demonstrating at the White House.”

[Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2013/03/choitrial.html#ixzz2Oqd3xfkC]

We give thanks today that some modicum of civility prevailed and that while found guilty, Lt. Choi did not receive the kind of unusual and harsh punishment that the Attorney General’s office sought.

“I am proud of Lt. Choi” said Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, Chief Programming Minister at Sunshine Cathedral and former member of the U.S. Navy. “Dan has stood as an example of what it means to serve his country proudly and with distinction. I am personally touched by his witness and conviction to stand for what he believes in, a better and just society for all.”

Today we offer this prayer, taken from the Book for Worship for the U.S. Forces, for Lt. Choi and all who serve and have served faithfully in the armed services: “Lord, make us instruments of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy; for thy mercy and for thy truth’s sake. Amen.”

This statement prepared in conjunction with the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches,

The Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, Member, The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.

 

For more information:
Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt
MCC Public Policy Team

LEAD and OFLD are proud to announce the following candidates seeking their LEAD certificate.

LEAD Candidates 2013

LEAD ProgramThe Coordinator of the L.E.A.D. (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Certificate Program, in conjunction with the Office of Formation and Leadership Development, is proud to announce the following candidates seeking their L.E.A.D certificate.

 

Camille Araullo Founders MCC Los Angeles
Carl Bantleon Founders MCC Los Angeles
Kedric Brown Resurrection MCC Houston
Oyie Esguerra Founders MCC Los Angeles
Patrice Ford Founders MCC Los Angeles
Scott Hill Founders MCC Los Angeles
Tamey Irons Founders MCC Los Angeles
Jude Litzenberger MCC San Diego San Diego
Adam Lopez Resurrection MCC Houston
Donald Mueller Founders MCC Los Angeles
John Suarez Founders MCC Los Angeles

 

These lay people from across the USA met in Los Angeles, CA for three days at the fourth USA L.E.A.D. Retreat, where they learned more about the program, the current and future role of laity in MCC, and their individual spiritual journeys. By the end of their time together each participant had created an “Action Plan” to better equip themselves as lay leaders, not only in their local church, but in the denomination at large. Each participant will work with the coordinator or a mentor and their local church pastor to bring their plan to life.

Guest presenters for the weekend were Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Rev. Dr. Mona West, Barry Hundley and Phil Griffin.

A special Thank You to the congregation of Founders MCC, Rev Neil Thomas, Rev Melissa Smithee, Rev. Stedney Phillips, Phil Griffin and the marvelous people who prepared food each day.

The next two L.E.A.D retreats (which is required of all participants)  are scheduled for February 2013 in New Castle, UK and June 2013 in Chicago, IL (before General Conference).

If you would like to know more about the program and how you can apply to be in the next class, please reach out to the coordinator, Barry Hundley- or Marina Laws – .

Please keep these eleven lay people and their 50 brothers and sisters from across North America and Australia in your prayers as they journey to be better leaders and work toward certificate completion.

Your Partners in Christ’s Work,

Barry Hundley
L.E.A.D. Program Coordinator

Rev. Dr. Mona West
Director of the Office of Formation and Leadership Development