Headline News – 5 June 2018
Volunteers Desperately Needed to Rebuild Puerto Rico Homes
Hurricane season has begun and Puerto Ricans are anxious. New death toll numbers from Hurricane Maria estimate more than 4600 people died related to the storm and its aftermath. Many still do not have power and the repaired grid is fragile.
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León recently met with congregations and community organizations in Puerto Rico to learn what comes next.
In an enclave called Miraflores, made up of people of African descent and a cadre of deaf people and transgender people, a local organization, Proyecto Matria wants MCC members to help build 30 houses.
Rev. Elder Sánchez De León heard the need and is now organizing a team of volunteers, which she calls The Coquí Brigade. Coquí is a little frog with a high chirp that is the mascot of Puerto Rico. http://www.puertorico.com/wildlife/coqui-frog/
This brigade will help build the homes. An engineer and an architect are evaluating the area to provide a clear plan of how to do the work strategically and efficiently. A specialist in construction is still needed, and while expertise would be appreciated, volunteer labor is needed.
Rev. Elder Sanchez DeLeon arranged for disaster relief donations to be sent to Organizacion Coai, who will distribute the money as vouchers. The funds will allow people to replace furniture and appliances destroyed during Hurricane Maria. Money will also be sent to Proyecto Matria to purchase construction material and create emergency kits.
The MCC Cristocentrica de Restauración in Mayagüez congregation is struggling financially. Around 15 members permanently migrated to the United States mainland, and the remaining leadership is exhausted after responding to the hurricane and the continuing lack of resources. In addition to economic survival, the congregation and clergy experience local discrimination in response to their activism. On a recent Sunday, they found the access gates closed with a padlock for a third time. Firemen had to help open the temple.
The Global Justice Institute (GJI), led by Executive Director Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, arranged for $800USD to be sent to Pastor George González Medrano of MCC Cristo Sanador to restore electricity and water to his home which would allow him to return. Donations from MCC’s Disaster Relief fund are being distributed to Organizacion Coai, $4000USD; Proyecto Matria, $4000USD; and MCC Cristocentrica de Restauración in Mayagüez, $800USD.
The Coquí Brigade still needs volunteers who are physically able to assist with building the homes. Participants must assume their own costs for travel and food. MCC may be able to assist with lodging in nearby cabins where six people can stay in each location. Local congregations will try to assist with the rental of ground transportation.
Please keep this mission in your prayers, and if you have skills in construction and feel called to serve, contact Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León at [email protected].
ICM in Cuba Hosts Florida Congregation in Joint Worship Services
Worship in Matanzas, Cuba, 28 April 2018
As part of the covenant in the relationship between MCC King of Peace, Florida, USA, and ICM in Cuba, a joint worship service was held with emerging church Somos ICM en Cuba.
Thirty-six people gathered on the rooftop of the house where the church meets weekly. The worship space created a memorable evening with the sky as the ceiling and music from the closest park drifted upward to the congregation. Rev. Elder Dr. Candace Shultis, senior pastor at King of Peace, preached a message of the love that God calls MCC to share with all people without any discrimination. Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez consecrated communion.
Members of the group from MCC King of Peace said they were moved by the profound commitment they witnessed by their siblings in Matanzas.
Mother, ICM in Cuba
Worship in Havana, Cuba, 29 April 2018
Over 40 people gathered in the living room of an apartment rented by the church in Havana, evoking memories of the first church service by Rev. Troy Perry nearly 50 years ago. A deep feeling of commitment passed through the combined group where they witnessed six baptisms and confirmations.
Nine people became members of ICM in Cuba and joined the promise to fight selfishness, greed, and injustice in order to live as siblings and assume the commitment this represents. They will accept the cost of following Jesus Christ in his life and in the struggles for non-discrimination for skin color, sex, gender identity, origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, school level, or any other label. And together, with the whole Metropolitan Community Church, they will proclaim, in words and with works, the good News of God in Christ.
Rev. Elder Gutiérrez preached about the importance of living as resurrected people, and how with actions in favor of justice, everyone continues to be Easter for other people. Rev. Elder Shultis and Rev. Raquel Suarez consecrated communion.
A mother of one of the members gave a testimony. She said: “This is the church that I was seeking for me and my son. My son is gay, and he is very gay; and I’m so proud of him. Thank you for MCC, and for this church that my son and I belong to. More people need to hear the message of inclusion.”
Governance Committee Appoints Moderator Nominating Committee
The MCC Governance Committee has appointed five candidates to serve as the Moderator Nominating Committee through General Conference 2019. The Governing Board has affirmed these candidates.
The Moderator Nominating Committee will communicate information in the months ahead about the process to solicit candidates to stand for election at General Conference 2019.
MCC Portland Pantry Delivers Tons of Food
Over 20 volunteers supported the Peoples Pantry at MCC Portland, Oregon, USA. More than 5.5 tons of food were distributed last month. The program began in 2015.
(photo courtesy of Kimberly Brown)
50th Anniversary Resources Released
by Lauren Bennett and Mike Haase, General Conference Co-Directors
MCC is turning 50! To help us celebrate our anniversary, a diverse global team has worked together to create worship resources for your church.
This five-week worship series, intended to start 7 October 2018, loosely follows the five decades of MCC history. We explore the ideas, movements, and topics that have created MCC’s identity: Open Table, Love, Justice, Hope, and Faith. The resource kit includes more readings, prayers, and ideas than can possibly be used each week. Our hope is that you review these materials and create a worship service that fits your context. We’ve also included ideas from some of our emerging churches that engaging in worship in different ways. Consider adopting these ideas into your context as well.
We have intentionally released these resources to give you five months to prepares. Please note that some resources have yet to be uploaded. All resources will be available by 20 June. Find them at this link: http://bit.ly/2LKHhph. Contact [email protected] for assistance with resources or questions.
Register Today for General Conference
REGISTER TODAY for GENERAL CONFERENCE and encourage your congregation to do so as well: https://celebrate.mccchurch.org/register-2-2/
Conference Marketing: Local church marketing materials are available. All materials can be found in Spanish and English! Access them at this link: http://bit.ly/Conference-Marketing
Keep in touch with us! [email protected]
MCC Webinar Recordings Available
The following is a list of recorded webinars to watch, share, and/or use in your church or ministry. The Questions & Answers from the most recent Governing Board Finance Webinar in May will be released when it is completed.
Governing Board Finance Webinar – 16 May 2018
Listening Tour Webinar – 19 April 2018
Point Elder Webinar – 10 & 11 April 2018 (10 April recorded)
Governing Board Finance Webinar and Q&A Report – 21 March 2018
Pastoral Elections and Appointments
MCC mourns the recent passing of Rev. Marty Luna-Wolfe. Rev. Luna-Wolf served as clergy for many years in MCC. She started working under the supervision of Rev. W. Wayne Lindsey in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA (1998); served as the pastor of New Life MCC of Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, (2000-2007); and later served at River of Life MCC in Tuscon, Arizona, USA, before retiring.
From the Editor
MCC Increases Privacy and Transparency about Data Collection
MCC implemented a Statement of Privacy for all new users and users previously consenting to receive emails from MCC beginning 25 May 2018.
This action allows MCC to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for users in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) countries. Additionally, MCC Communications has adopted the same high standard to protect the privacy of all MCC users, regardless of their country of residence.
It is a privilege to send MCC news to you through your email address. We believe your choice to share your address with us indicates that we have earned your trust. We are taking action now to increase transparency about data collection, create greater ease to update your profile, and invite you clarify which MCC newsletters you would like to receive.
The links below include UFMCC’s Statement of Privacy and an overview about GDPR.
At the bottom of every MCC email issued through Constant Contact, you will have the opportunity to Update your Profile (see red circle in graphic below) where you can indicate your preferred email address, and if you choose, verify the MCC newsletters you would like to receive.
You also have the option to unsubscribe (see purple arrow in graphic below), which removes your address from MCC’s Constant Contact list, thereby removing you from receiving all MCC news. If you only want to stop receiving a specific newsletter, select “Update Profile” at the bottom of any MCC newsletter. If you need assistance, contact Janine McCarthy, MCC Communication Assistant, at [email protected].
Please contact me if you have any questions. And as always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Associate Director for MCC Communications