Headline News – The Advocate Interview, Rev. Ackerman Tribute

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Headline News – Insider Edition 11 July 2017


Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown (center) stands with her family following the Interim Moderator Blessing at MCCDC in Washington, DC, USA. From left: Michelle Jestes, Rev. Brown, Ayden, Dama Elkins-Jestes. (photo by Lyndon Orinion)

LGBTQ Magazine Interviews Interim Moderator
for Upcoming Family Edition

co-authored by Linda Brenner and the MCC Communications Team

The MCC Communications Team is excited to announce that Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown will be featured in The Advocate in their “Queer Families” issue. The article includes interviews with Rev. Brown and her two partners: Michelle Jestes and Dama Elkins-Jestes, and photos of the family which includes Ayden who is five-years-old.

Diverse families in MCC contribute to the tapestry of our denomination. MCC has a legacy that acknowledges many ways to be in healthy relationships that includes multiple partners, monogamy, polyamory, celibacy, and the choice to remain single.

“The Preamble” for MCC’s Statement of Faith affirms the diversity of identities and family structures in the denomination:

“…We are people on a journey, learning to live into our spirituality, while affirming our bodies, our genders, our sexualities. We don’t all believe exactly the same things. And yet in the midst of our diversity, we build community, grounded in God’s radically inclusive love for all people….”

Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, a member of MCC’s Council of Elders, echoes the theme of diversity and family.

“Since our founding in 1968, MCC has advocated for the right to define family through the broad lens of love, not through the narrow lens of externally imposed expectations. Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown’s family has been formed through the mystery of God’s love. Her partners and child bear witness to the integrity of love. Rev. Brown and her family make MCC’s long held values visible. Their courage in living their love and truth will embolden courage in others to proclaim: We are family, too,” Rev. Johnson said.

Click this link to read the full article: LGBTQ Magazine Interviews Interim Moderator. You can also request the article at: [email protected].

The Advocate article is slated for digital release 11 July 2017. The long version will be available on Advocate.com, and an edited version will be in print for the August/September edition of The Advocate.



 Celebrate the Ministry of Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman


Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman
Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman

Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman, retired MCC staff member, was diagnosed in 2016 with incurable Acute Myeloid Leukemia. MCC wants to give Rev. Ackerman the gift of memories from family, friends, and colleagues as a tribute to her ministry and impact on so many lives.

Create a video. Record a song. Write a poem. Draw or paint a picture. Send an email. Take (or find) a photo. The ideas are endless, but ultimately, you are invited to share your memory as a way to celebrate Rev. Ackerman’s life. The Communications Team will collect the gifts and send them to Rev. Ackerman in August.

Send submissions to Janine McCarthy, Communications Assistant, at [email protected] net. Deadline is 25 July 2017.

Virtual Listening Tour Webinar: English

Thursday, 13 July, 1 pm ET / 17:00 GMT

July 21-23 – Australasia Network Gathering, Brisbane, Australia (Listening Tour)
Aug 3-6 – PAD Conference, St. Louis, Missouri
Aug 14-18 – MCC Clergy Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada (Listening Tour)
Sept 1-3 – European Network Gathering, Stuttgart, Germany (Listening Tour)
Sept 9-10 – Seattle, Washington, Preaching at Emerald City MCC (Listening Tour)

PAD Conference to Feature  Excellent Speakers, Preachers, and Workshops

Register to Attend

Whether you are a person of African descent, someone who is friends with and/or
who loves a person of African descent, or someone who wants to know more
about the experiences of people of African descent, this event is designed with YOU in mind. Excellent speakers will lead the plenary sessions and workshops. The preachers will be outstanding. Clergy who attend will receive 9 CEUs and LEAD participants will gain credit toward their program. See you in St. Louis!

Click this link to access the Conference schedule, speakers, and preachers:

Theologies Team Announces New Members

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

We are pleased to announce the following changes to the MCC Theologies Team:

Rev. Dr. Tom Bohache
Rev. Dr. Tom Bohache

Rev. Dr. Tom Bohache has assumed the position of Chair of the team. We wish him well in this new role.

Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, Denise Sudbeck, and Robert Walker have joined the team for three-year terms. We embrace their gifts and all they will bring to the team.

Bryce Rich has completed his time as Chair, but will remain on the team. We thank him for the wonderful job he did as Chair for the past several years.

Rev. Maxwell Reay has completed his term on the team. We thank him for all that he contributed during his years of service.

We also acknowledge those who are continuing on the team: Eileen Delasong, Rev. Dr. Kelby Harrison, Rev. Elder Margarita Sanchez de Leon, and Rev. Dr. Axel Schwaigert.

Learn more about the Theologies Team online:
https://mccchurch.org/ ministries/mcc-theologies-team/

MCC Clergy Retreat: Innovative Ministry

Earn All 2017 CEUs at Conference

The Clergy Retreat is sponsored by MCC’s Office of Church Life and Health and Office of Formation and Leadership Development. The goal is to provide an innovative retreat at the least expensive cost to churches and clergy. The focus will be on INNOVATIVE MINISTRY.

Additionally, attending this retreat will help clergy meet ALL CEUs required this year, including the designated topic of “Personal Spiritual Development.”

The retreat will be held at:
MCC Las Vegas, Nevada USA
1140 Almond Tree Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89104
from 14-17 August 2017.

Registration costs only $25 USD. Click link to register: https://bit.ly/2mYJyzp

Global Justice Institute Receives Support from 2017 Easter Offering

by Mike Easterling, Global Justice Institute Board Member

This Easter churches around the globe held special offerings for the work of the Global Justice Institute (GJI). Their donations enable the Institute to continue its work with activists in Chechnya, Cuba, Kenya, Brazil, Taiwan, China, South Africa, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States and many other places around the globe.

This work would not be possible without the Easter offering and the support of individuals and churches. Three churches now make a monthly commitment to GJI, committing a percentage of Sunday gifts. This has enabled the Institute to recommit and expand its work throughout the world.

Donations are accepted year round.  Contact Executive Director, Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, [email protected], for more information.

Visit www.gloabljusticeinstitute.org to to learn more about the Institute’s work.



Pastoral Elections and Appointments

Rev. Tory Topjian
has been elected
as the Pastor of Milwaukee MCC, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
Pastor Samuel Kader
has been appointed and affirmed
as the Interim Pastoral Leader
at New Life MCC, New Port Richey,
Florida, USA. The members of Spirit of Life MCC, New Port Richey, voted to rename themselves NEW LIFE MCC as part of a fresh reboot of mission and ministry.


Pastor Jon-Michael Hamby
has been appointed and affirmed
as the Interim Pastoral Leader
at MCC Winston-Salem,
North Carolina, USA.
Rev. Tijuana Gray
has been elected
as the Pastor of Reconciliation MCC,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.
Rev. Renae Phillips
has been appointed
as the Transitional Pastor
with Church of the Trinity MCC,
Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Looking for Employment?

If you are clergy seeking to be employed
in a local MCC church, visit the links below
to read about ministry opportunities.

The link below lists churches seeking
a transitional pastor, settled pastor,
and anticipating a pastoral search.
Gap, Interim, and Anticipated Openings

The second link below advertises
MCC settled pastor positions
and national secular jobs.
Settled Pastor and Secular Employment

Joshua Generation MCC Affiliates

Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown, Interim Moderator, (left) presents Pastor Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear (center) with a Certificate of Affiliation for Joshua Generation MCC. Susan Mangum (right) is the choir director.

Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown, MCC Interim Moderator, presented Joshua Generation MCC with a Certificate of Affiliation during the South Gulf Coast Network Gathering in early June.

Joshua Generation MCC was initially authorized as an Emerging Church in December 2014 under the leadership of Pastor Brandiilyne Magnum-Dear. It continues to be a spiritual and social justice presence in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA. Pastor Mangum-Dear has been interviewed by a range of media outlets for the work she and Joshua Generation are doing in the conservative southern part of the USA.

Notes of congratulation may be sent to: [email protected].

Chuck Renslow In Memoriam

Chuck Renslow, a pioneer in the gay and leather communities, passed away at the age of 87 on 30 June 2017. An activist since the 1950s, he began Mr. Gold Coast contests in the early 1960s which became the International Mr. Leather in 1979. Later he co-founded the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago.

Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown has participated in a worship service at the International Mr. Leather conference in Chicago.

“As we honor the diversity of our own bodies, expressions, and spiritualities, it is wonderful to pray, bless, and celebrate with the wider leather community the gift of Chuck’s vision and life-long work. He was a dear friend to the people of MCC,” Rev. Brown said.

Rev. Elder Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches, remembers Chuck Renslow as a friend for over 40 years.

“I would like to remember him as a wonderful host and a person of deeply-held faith. He always insisted that I come to his house for dinner anytime I was in Chicago. He would talk about being a member of the Masonic order as well as being a member of the Episcopal Church. He always believed that those two organizations gave him a great spiritual foundation. I will always deeply miss Chuck for his friendship and the wonderful times we had altogether. He was a friend worth having,” Rev. Perry said.

Services are being planned in Chicago. Follow the link to read the obituary in the Chicago Tribune: https://trib.in/2sXmIAp.

Janine McCarthy Joins Communications Team

MCC’s Communications Team expanded in June to include the new Communications Assistant: Janine McCarthy.

In this role, Janine will provide front of house customer service and will be the first point of contact for general email questions and the MCC’s main phone. Janine will also assist with newsletters, toolkits, and MCC’s Master and Event Calendars. Additionally, Janine will oversee social media and coordinate document translation.

Previously, Janine worked in the Office of Operations as Finance Clerk, Church/Donor Base Support; and prior was part-time Administrative Assistant to each of the Directors of the Office of Church Life and Health and Operations. Janine joined MCC’s staff in 2014.

Janine can be reached at [email protected] You can also meet her at the PAD Conference 3-5 August in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.

August Ministers March to Commemorate Historic March on Washington

The National Action Network will convene the Ministers’ March for Justice on 28 August 2017 in commemoration of the March on Washington 54 years ago, to remember the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, and to hold the Department of Justice accountable for its infringement on voting rights and basic freedoms.


To increase the participation of diverse faiths, a conference call is scheduled for 13 July at 1:30 pm ET. On this call, Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network leader, will review the purpose of the march and discuss the logistics, and outreach in the interfaith community prior to the march, and post-march actions.

If your church or community would like to hear more about the march, join the conference call by contacting Isabel Zeitz-Moskin, National Field Organizer, at [email protected]


For information about the March, contact Ebonie Riley, Washington, DC, Bureau Chief
National Action Network at 202.293.3232 (o),  [email protected], or visit the website at www.nationalactionnetwork.net.



From the Editor

Linda Brenner Associate Director, Headline News Editor

MCC’s Communications Team Seeks Readers

I will be creating a panel of readers in the next month to assist with revisions to MCC’s website. Readers will be asked to read website content for clarity–does it make sense or is it “insider language”–and for inclusivity and diversity. Readers can determine their workload.

If interested, please email Janine McCarthy, Communications Assistant, at [email protected]  by 1 August.

As always, I appreciate your questions and/or suggestions at [email protected].