UPDATE: The Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith is currently soliciting feedback. Use their contact form to share your comments, questions, or concerns.
The 2013 General Conference authorized the Governing Board to create a special task force to review, renew, and update our MCC Statement of Faith. This task force includes representatives from the Council of Elders and from the Theologies Team, as well as those representing the theological, cultural, and global diversity of MCC. It will seek consultation from resources inside and outside of MCC. The document they bring forth will need to be approved by two-thirds of the Clergy House and of the Lay House of the General Conference of MCC, at the soonest by General Conference 2016.
The Governing Board recently approved a “Charter of the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith.” You may view it here. After an open application process and a truly international (or global) applicant pool, we made the following appointments:
- Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis (USA), Chairperson
- Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez (Mexico)
- Bryce Rich (USA)
- Rev. Cathy Alexander (USA)
- Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert (Germany)
- Rev. Karl Hand (Australia)
What an exciting thing that this team will help MCC re-evaluate what we believe and how we choose to believe. Our hope, as articulated and affirmed by the 2013 General Conference, is that a new Statement of Faith can be the tie that binds us together as a global movement of people of faith, seeking justice in the world.
If you have questions regarding the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith, you may contact MCC Moderator Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson via email at [email protected].
MCC Governing Board
The work of this Commission is a critically important task for the people and future of MCC. As we face the challenges and opportunities of being MCC in the 21st century, it is time to articulate with clarity and passion the faith that guides us. This is a labor of love, and I anticipate that it will bring forth the special genius of MCC.
My hope is that a new look at our Statement of Faith will be unifying and inspiring to a new generation of MCCers. A new effort of this kind can connect us to our founding narrative, historic Christian expressions of faith, but also boldly point us to the future God has for us as a denomination and a movement.
In this time when people are suspicious of religion, I know there is a hunger for faith and authentic spiritual community.
Those voting at General Conference XXV demonstrated confidence and anticipation by authorizing this process. That tells me there is great trust in our ability to update and renew our public articulation of what motivates us to be MCC. And now, we put our trust in you to get us there!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson
Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches
Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis is a former Governing Board member, pastor of one of MCC’s largest churches, King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has a D. Min from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis, Chair; St. Petersburg, Florida (USA), grew up in Kingston, NY and Pittsfield, MA. She earned her baccalaureate degree from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), B.B.A., in 1973, her master’s and her doctorate at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, M.Div., 1980 and D. Min., 2004. From November, 1973 through August, 1976, she served as a disbursing officer in the United States Marine Corps. During that time she attended Foundry United Methodist Church, sang in the choir and was a part of the prayer and healing ministry. She first attended the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC in 1979. Candace served as the Associate Pastor of MCC Washington from 1983 until 1995 when she was elected Pastor. She was called and elected to be the Pastor at King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL in December, 2007.
Candace has served in a number of denominational capacities including Assistant District Coordinator, as a member and then chair of the Clergy Credentials and Concerns Committee and most recently as a member of the Governing Board of the denomination. She has preached in churches and at events from New Haven CT to Sydney Australia.
Candace has a passion for preaching and very much enjoys working with the terrific staff and congregation of King of Peace! She and her partner of 20 years, Barbara, also enjoy the company of their three dachshunds: Wendy, Molly, and Dolly.
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez is an Elder in MCC, and leads MCC’s Iberoamerica ministry, and is a doctoral candidate with emphasis on Christology. He will represent the Elders on this Commission.
Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez; Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico), has been a member of MCC since 2002. He has served as the Interim Pastor at ICM (MCC) Casa de Luz, Monterrey, Mexico; and as the Church Development Officer in Latin America.
Rev. Gutiérrez has spent most of his career as a professor at universities and seminaries in Mexico. He provides pastoral support, wisdom, and advice for MCC groups, missions and churches in Iberoamerica. He also conducts workshops on a variety of topics for MCC’s ministry in Iberoamerica and beyond.
Rev. Gutiérrez’s pastoral presence and open spirit help him not only to hear but empathize with marginalized sisters and brothers across Iberoamerica.
His ability to communicate complex theological concepts and God’s unconditional love has allowed him to rapidly develop new groups in different countries.
Bryce E. Rich is doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Bryce is an MCC lay person who also has ties to the Orthodox Church. He is the Chair of MCC’s Theologies Team, and will represent them on the Commission.
Bryce E. Rich; Chicago, Illinois (USA), is a PhD Candidate in Theology at The University of Chicago Divinity School, where his research focuses on the intersection of Eastern Orthodoxy and queer theory. He received his Master of Arts in Religion from Lancaster Theological Seminary, in Lancaster, PA, and his Bachelor of Arts in Russian & Eastern Studies from the University of Kentucky. His other academic interests include liturgical theology, theological anthropology, mimetic theory, and the uses of technology in education and worship. Before concentrating on his religious training, Bryce worked for a US nonprofit in Russia, living in Moscow and Siberia. His spiritual journey began in the Southern Baptist church, but has included time in the Charismatic, Episcopal and Mennonite traditions, as well as membership with MCC congregations and finally reception into the Eastern Orthodox Church. Bryce’s academic website can be found at https://www.brycerich.com.
Rev. Cathy Alexander is a graduate of Wesley Theological seminary, a Network leader, a member of the MCC Washington, D.C. staff, and a leader in MCC’s PAD movement. She recently completed a term as chair of the Governing Board Nominating Committee.
Rev. Cathy Alexander; Washington, D.C. (USA), serves MCC of Washington DC as the Minister of Congregational Connections as well as the Network Leader for the Eastern Network. Cathy has a passion for living worship, music, theology and learning. She is actively involved with MCC at both the local and denominational levels from leadership retreats to serving on denominational teams, most recently as chair of the MCC Governing Board Nominating Committee. She is a graduate with honors from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and has served as a contributor to the MCC Theologies Team Holy Conversations. Cathy enjoys singing, small group conversations, playing the guitar and traveling.
Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert is the founding pastor of MCC in Stuttgart, Germany, and has a D. Min degree from the Episcopal Divinity School. Axel has been a member of the Theologies Team from its beginning in 2006.
Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert; Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg (Germany), received his Diplom in Evangelisch Theologie (Diploma in Protestant Theology) from the School of Theological Studies at Tubingen (Germany) and studied inter-religious dialogue at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He began his pastoral training in 1998 at MCC Bournemouth. In 2000 he launched the new Salz der Erde MCC Stuttgart during Gay Pride. After 10 years of building this new congregation in surroundings not familiar with independent churches, Axel went on to earn his Doctor of Ministry degree at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.
In his secular life, Axel works as a funeral director. He loves singing, dancing, and acting on stage in musicals, which he sometimes dares at a community theater of the US Forces in Stuttgart.
Rev. Karl Hand is an Australian, a young adult pastor of Crave MCC in Sydney, and an activist. He served on the REVM faculty in The Philippines, and is a Ph.D candidate with a specialization in New Testament from Charles Strut University.
Rev. Karl Hand; Leichhardt, New South Wales (Australia), is an ordained minister in Metropolitan Community Church, and the founding pastor of Crave MCC in Sydney Australia.
Karl has an evangelical theology, a pentecostal spirituality, and a liberationist hermeneutic. He enjoys provocative and playful readings of the scripture which trigger spiritual transformation and cognitive growth.
He is passionate about social transformation, and is the co-convenor of Community Action Against Homophobia, an activist group which campaigns for the rights of the LGBTI community in Australia.
He has taught Exegesis and Greek courses at UTC as well as Australian Catholic University, and the University of Newcastle. He holds two masters degrees in theology and philosophy, and is in the final stages of submitting his PhD through Charles Sturt University, which is about the source history of the gospel of Luke.
The Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith is also served with staff support by Linda Brenner-Beckstead.