Your faithfulness and generosity, and that of our MCC churches, has resulted in many life-changing and world-changing events in 2010. We live in times that demand a vital, liberating, engaged ministry as we reach out to all who need a God of love!
Because hundreds of visionary MCC people like you have sustained our mission and ministries this challenging year, we have been able to respond quickly to opportunities and to threats against us and our brothers and sisters, in the United States and around the world.
This was the year that would produce the headlines, “Hang Uganda’s top Homos,” inspired, in part by US Evangelicals preaching their brand of religious homophobia; it was a year in which the visibility of LGBT teen and young adult suicides would shake the US; it was a year in which “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell,” the policy excluding gays from serving in the US military, is being toppled in the courts and in the court of public opinion; it was a year in which political polarization and economic uncertainty, world-wide, challenged us to the core.
Yet, because you and I believe that by dedicating our time, talents and treasure to challenging injustice and building a strong, dedicated spiritual community together, we have blessings to count and achievements to celebrate in every area of our life as a church, spanning all our ministries.
As a denomination, the vision of our lay leaders, clergy and Elders brought us a successful General Conference in Acapulco, Mexico, where we
We adopted a new streamlined structure, with
Our new and renewed resources, programs for churches and opportunities for leadership development are mobilizing MCCers to grow in faith and in mission:
§ Church Summits are really making a difference as Elders offer their skills as teachers and coaches to our boards and church leaders; Program summits in Worship and Stewardship will begin in 2011;
§ First clergy preparation retreat was held in Asia, in The Philippines, with seven outstanding candidates from that country and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
§ First Leadership Mentoring Retreat was held for those who feel called to serve MCC;s local and global mission in some way-two more will held in 2011!
§ New MCC Church Plants, such as Open Circle in the Villages, Florida;
§ A new Church Planting Strategy Team called into being, working with North American Hispanic Church planting group; resourcing and coaching church planters;
§ MCC welcomed Rev. Harry Knox, from the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, to the ranks of MCC clergy as he becomes Senior Pastor of Resurrection MCC in Houston, Texas;
§ Published our new Trans Resource: MCC TRANSFormative Church Ministry Program (click here to view and download);
§ Published our first Planned Giving guide for Churches (view)
§ Planning PAD Conference in Washington, DC. In May 2011, with 600 participants anticipated!
§ Generosity and focus made this possible. Thank you.
This year, as in every year, there are opportunities-often heartbreaking ones-to bear witness to God’s love and compassion. These crossed the thresholds of MCC around the world this year:
§ Haiti – MCC, with leadership from ICM in Santo Domingo, mounted a major response to the devastation, supporting Housing Works, an HIV/AIDS organization helping in Haiti; ICM Santo Domingo made three trips to Haiti to bring tents, food and medicine purchased with more than $46,000 given by MCC people;
§ Pakistan – the first three women enrolled in school funded by MCC; with professional certificates, they can support themselves and other women like them who do not want to be forced into arranged marriages;
§ MCC initiated “Clergy Against Bullying,” a coalition of national LGBT religious leaders, allies from mainline churches and the United States National Council of Churches; and
§ Created a YouTube video, “God is not a Bully;”
§ Marriage Equality-we continue to be on the front lines, including in the UK;
§ MCC was represented at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna.
In these challenging economic times, MCC can press on to do the work of sharing good news in a world filled with hateful rhetoric, because your prayers and your gifts of time, talent and treasure make tearing down walls and building up hope tangible and real.
In so many corners of the world, people are still just beginning to hear the story of the gay church, the church with AIDS, the Human Rights Church, and our message of love and liberation. Teens all over the world need us and our positive message of God’s love for all people, including LGBT kids.
Today I ask your help to prepare MCC to bear witness to hope in 2011. Our common mission needs you to be involved in significant ways:
§ Pray for MCC each and every day;
§ Tell someone you love about the life-saving, life-giving message of MCC, and invite them to join you in supporting our common work;
§ Support MCC financially. Giving supports our life-changing work. In this season of giving and thanks giving, join me and legions of others in giving generously where it matters so dearly. [Give online now!]
Thank you for your faithfulness. It is just what the world needs.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Nancy Wilson
Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches