From the Moderator
Dear MCC Friend:
As the year begins to move to its end, our thoughts turn to gratitude and to that which means the most to us–our friends and family, our deepest connections and commitments, the kind of world for which we yearn.
Like you, this is a time when I am inundated with requests for holiday giving, and invest in ways that will bless others and confirm my own values about justice, hope, and compassion, including my local MCC church.
More than ever, I am proud every day to serve as the global leader of Metropolitan Community Churches, a movement that saves lives, that gives birth to new communities, that opens its doors to refugees – political, religious, and spiritual. A church that supports activists in difficult and dangerous places that embodies love and radical inclusion in our divided world. A church that recently made a powerful witness at the World Council of Churches in South Korea. A movement which for 45 years, has been speaking up for a Jesus who tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Earlier this year, I got an email from Vittorio, a young man from Italy. He was starving for connections with LGBT people of faith, feeling so isolated and disconnected. He loved watching Founders MCC in Los Angeles, California (USA), and Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, virtually but still longed for face-to-face community.
Vittorio Amaruso (second from right) walks in his first Pride Parade while attending General Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Also holding the MCC banner include, from left: Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, MCC Moderator; Rev. Lisa Heilig, Interim Pastor at MCC of Our Redeemer; Vittorio, and Rev. Marian Cavagnaro, Pastor of Congregational Life at MCC of the Palm Beaches.
I will let Vittorio speak for the joy and gratitude he feels for our response to his need:
“My name is Vittorio Amoruso. I live in Italy. After a long period of deep thinking and feeling oppressed by the Italian Catholic Church because of my being gay, I decided to make a change, with the support of my family. I just wanted to be myself in a place where it is called CHURCH. After discovering the presence of Metropolitan Community Churches, I asked Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, to give me an opportunity to be part of an MCC church in the United States. She forwarded my email to Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt who gave me the possibility to spend two months as a guest of Trinity MCC in Gainesville, Florida, and discover how God has an unconditional and everlasting love for each human being, including LGBT people. MCC saved my life and helped me understand the plan that God has in store for me. I’ve been called to be an MCC Pastor/Minister and serve the LGBT community in Italy, where there is no MCC at present.”
Rev. Jim Mulcahy, an MCC pastor who works in Eastern Europe and Russia, sent me this note recently:
“I received this note from a young Russian woman from a very traditional family who literally would kill her if they knew she was a lesbian. ‘Hi Jim! Let me again thank you for your visit to Moscow. Last Sunday’s service gave me the strength to live. It was the first time I took communion not in an Orthodox Church. It your actions I recognized Christ breaking the bread. Thank you very much for your inspiring sermon full of love, hope, and sincerity. Your words taught me to accept and love myself.’ ”
Young people like Vittorio and this young woman from Russia need us, in every country, including in the United States. They need us to be MCC, with our strong, unequivocal message, our inspiring worship, our vibrant, local communities committed to justice and radical inclusion.
So, for all the Vittorios and all of us who know we must be family and community for so many like him, join me in remembering MCC this holiday season in your generous giving! Every gift makes it possible for us to save lives and heal hearts.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson
Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches