MCC Founding Pastor Presides at Blessing of Same-Gender Couples in Cuba

posted in: marriage, MCC News | 0

Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President, sponsors blessing ceremonies and celebrates Cuba Pride

 

In another historic first for Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of MCC, was one of the presiding clergy at the first blessing of unions in Cuba. About a dozen couples pledged their love to each other as part of Cuba Pride on May 9, 2015. The Associated Press reported:

 

Luis Enrique Mederos and his partner for 14 years, Alain Morales, approached clergyman including Troy Perry, founder of Los Angeles’ gay-friendly Metropolitan Community Church, and held hands beneath a canopy while the pastors blessed their relationship.  “Luis, I give you my life,” Morales said, as the crowd of 300 applauded and cheered.  “It’s a step to strengthen our relationship because we’re both religious, believers,” said Mederos, a 47-year-old graphic designer. He said he saw the ceremony as an important step toward the eventual legalization of gay marriage in Cuba.

 

Mariela Castro was in the middle of Cuba’s Pride celebration, and she gave her blessing to the proceedings but was not present for the actual blessing of the unions. The MCC delegation had informal conversations with Mariela Casto and met more formally with Cuba’s Religious Affairs Commissioner, with officials in the Cuban Council of Churches, and with the Fraternity Of Baptist Churches in Cuba.

 

MCC leaders traveled to Cuba on April 28 at the invitation of leaders of the Baptist LGBTQ group, Abriendo Brechas de Colores, from the Federación de Iglesias Bastistas de Cuba.  Supporters convened at the Evangelical Seminary of Matanzas, Cuba, where they heard MCC experiences of almost 50 years of ministry with people of faith who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ), as well as people who are not LGBTQ but who value an open church community.

 

Rev. Elder Troy Perry traveled with his husband Phillip De Blieck, as well as the Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West, and the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez. The delegation talked with Cubans about the global challenges faced by LGBTQ people of faith and plan to continue collaborations with LGBTQ religious leaders in Cuba.

 

“As the founder of MCC going back to 1968, I have lived long enough to see so many churches open their doors — and to see MCC congregations on almost every continent,” said the Rev. Elder Troy Perry. “It is exciting to be part of a moment when Cuban people of faith and political leaders are opening doors to all loving couples and to LGBTQ people!”

 

“We were honored for MCC faith leaders to be part of this historic event,” said global MCC Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “These blessings for loving couples in Cuba parallel MCC’s many firsts — first to marry same-sex couples, first to convene AIDS awareness day, and first to provide a welcoming worshipping community for LGBTQ people.”

 

“Throughout the Americas and the world, people know that Cuba’s future will impact everyone’s future,” said the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez, head of the Latin American MCC network. “I meet people in los pueblos where they live their daily lives and increasingly see families supporting each other, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. I am so hopeful about supportive relationships with our partners in Cuba.”

 

Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West, a leading author for the MCC Theologies Team, said, “I was ordained as a Southern Baptist before I came to MCC, and I was so blessed to talk with my Cuban Baptist family in the faith. The possibilities of building partnerships that help everyone are real.”