From the Desk of Rev. Mel Martinez, Co-Lead, MCC Transgender Ministries
My work with HRC’s Religion and Faith Program culminated in an invitation to represent the program during Soulforce’s Symposium in Philadelphia, November 5-6, 2010. I was exceedingly impressed by the diversity of the gathering, both among attendees and presenters.
We gathered on the Friday prior to our day-long symposium in Love Park (downtown Philadelphia) for a LIFE Rally. Featuring a performance by Ray Boltz, this rally called for solidarity against bullying in our schools. We shivered together, cried together, and spoke together “We Are Accepted!”
Our symposium began early Saturday morning and continued throughout the day. The opening plenary by Jay Bakker (pastor of Revolution NYC church and speaker at MCC’s General Conference 2007) shed light on an ally’s journey among religious leaders. Jay’s perspective: “Silence is Violence!” Amen!
Break out sessions, workshops, discussion panels, and community meals offered all gathered at the symposium the opportunity to consider our next steps and best tools for combating the destructive spiritual violence found in reparative therapeutic measures. We considered the lasting injuries inflicted on ourselves and our siblings through religious abuse and medical abuse. We joined the ongoing dialogue happening among our many organizations represented.
From Jallen Rix, Author of “Ex-Gay, No Way!” and a workshop presenter at the Symposium: “Agree to disagree is not enough. We need to see our differences as what makes our community strong. We need to affirm our differences. The more we can get used to celebrating our differences…[they] make us stronger.”
Ultimately, our Symposium concluded with hope and expectation of one another and our organizations. As a representative of both HRC and MCC, I am optimistic about the efforts our organizations are making worldwide. As a leader in MCC Transgender Ministries, I am hopeful that the true celebration of diversity will continue to make visible the needs of our transgender siblings and to enliven the ministries of all of our siblings as part of the Body of Christ.
Special thanks to Soulforce for the opportunity to gather and dialogue. Special thanks to HRC for honoring me with the opportunity to be a representative of their Religion and Faith Program. Finally, thanks to MCC and MCC Transgender Ministries for allowing me to represent our important work, ministry, and message in the world.
from Joshua Love, Director MCC Global HIV/AIDS Ministry
Monday, September 27, 2010
“Millions of lives and millions of deaths around the world bear direct witness to the fact that AIDS IS NOT OVER. The suffering and marginalization of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS has continued for three decades without ceasing. We no longer need to ask when the moment for action will come: it was yesterday, it is today, and it will be tomorrow until HIV and AIDS are no more,” Joshua L. Love, Director Metropolitan Community Churches Global HIV/AIDS Ministry.
At Metropolitan Community Churches we believe God is calling people of faith to end the silence and inaction which have hurt millions of people around the world. We believe that silence and inaction, particularly in the face of the human suffering and death wrought by HIV and AIDS, is contrary to the expressed core teachings of faith traditions.
As our Moderator Reverend Nancy Wilson regularly reminds us, Metropolitan Community Churches have stood at the forefront of the battle against HIV and AIDS since the first announcements linking AIDS with the lives of gay men, and we believe that God has uniquely called people of faith to restore the heart of the church through ministry with those individuals most excluded by the church.
If you hunger to minister at the true intersection of justice, mercy, compassion and hope, then join Metropolitan Community Churches Global HIV/AIDS Ministry and our allies around the world in taking action today. The God of your understanding may be inspiring and empowering you with the message once delivered by St. Teresa of Avila:
God has no body now on earth but yours.
Yours are the only hands with which God can do work;
Yours are the only feet with which God can go about the world;
Yours are the only eyes through which God’s compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.
“Death is defeated by love and sickness is healed by love. We must display that love those living with HIV or AIDS. Pray for those infected by the virus, talk to them and sit side-by-side with those carrying HIV at church. People need to know that someone loves them in order to have a purpose. Having a purpose in life gives a person a reason to want to live. That’s what love does,” Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship.
In Love, Peace, and Hope,
Metropolitan Community Churches Global HIV/AIDS Ministry