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25 February 2019
The Be a Gem Scholarship Program urgently needs your help today.
Through the years, the Be A Gem Scholarship Program has brought clergy and laity from vast geographic locations around the world to General Conference.
This Program is robust. We work with people every step of the way to attend Conference. In a world dominated by Western culture that elevates the passports of a few, international travel can seem almost impossible, especially in the current political climate.
Over 40 leaders were invited to apply for the Be a Gem Scholarship Program, and today, we are actively working with 12 individuals to secure visas in order to make travel arrangements. Recently, I was notified that one of the scholarship recipients from Africa was denied a visa. I vowed to overcome this obstacle with him, and together, this individual, his supporters, and I are collaborating to create a more comprehensive “re-application” package.
General Conference will allow him and other scholarship recipients to access resources, attend workshops, and expand his network of colleagues and friends. He will also experience inspiring worship services in a diverse, global congregation. Our African brother is already doing transformative work in his community, and we will be blessed to learn from him and exchange ideas.
Funding our siblings from around the world helps us
better live into our call for justice and being the Body of Christ.
There are many who simply do not have the financial capacity to attend General Conference. They may have inadequate living conditions, lack employment opportunities, and endure challenges to human rights and spiritual freedom. Some may not be able to participate in the live-streamed worship services because of the limitations in digital communication in their nation.
I can imagine some of you saying that General Conference is expensive for you, too. I’ve been there. Before joining MCC’s staff, I started saving a little bit of money each month to pay my way to conference. The difference between myself and those who are receiving the scholarship is more than economic justice, it’s also about opportunity. For example, the average cost of a flight is well over $1000 USD for a Be a Gem Scholarship recipient. They will travel 25-30 hours to get to General Conference. Some have to travel to another city and pay for hotel and transportation to complete their interview for a visa.
Will your church sign up to take a special Easter offering to support
the “Be A Gem Scholarship Program” and MCC’s global work?
Your generosity will make the difference for so many. Donations for the Easter Offering will literally make it possible for international leaders to attend General Conference — and help Metropolitan Community Churches—your denomination—invest in leaders and embody a diverse, global identity.
Just imagine how much more exciting this historic General Conference will be when we are joined by scholarship recipients from the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, East Africa, Spain, Mexico, and Uganda. In forthcoming letters, you will meet these amazing people. They are preparing their videos and stories now. You will also learn more about MCC’s global work that your donation will support.
To embody our God-given calling to be a truly global movement, we
set our goal to raise $35,000 USD in this Easter Offering.
This goal is ambitious, but let me be clear: these funds are not part of MCC’s annual budget. We must raise these funds through your pledge to take an Easter offering and through generous donations from individuals.
Can I count on you to invest in MCC’s international leaders and global work?
Sign up to take an Easter Offering.
Email me at [email protected].
You can also easily donate online.
Go to the DONATE button on MCC’s website (http://bit.ly/2xbyHro)
and select “Be a Gem” from the drop-down menu.
Do you prefer to text?
Text your donation to +1 850-204-4911.
Or send your check to MCC:
PO Box 50488, Sarasota, Florida, 34232
Your offering — in any amount — will move us closer our goal!
May God bless each of us richly!
Director, Be a Gem Scholarship Program
Metropolitan Community Churches
PS: Some of you received a letter from the Global Justice Institute (GJI) requesting support for its Lenten campaign. We have since received questions about the distinction between that campaign and MCC’s Easter Offering. MCC’s Governing Board designates recipients for the denomination’s annual campaigns: Easter Sunday and Anniversary Sunday. The Governing Board selected the Be a Gem Scholarship Program and MCC global work to share the donations from the Easter Offering. GJI’s work is vital. I pray for its Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and that GJI continues to thrive. I also pray that you support MCC’s Easter Sunday Offering to help global leaders get to General Conference.
PPS: If you are interested in funding the participation of one particular recipient, let me know and I’m happy to make a match.