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Walk for Tolerance on April 7, 2010,
Marked a Historic First for Montego Bay, Jamaica
MCC Delegation Participated In First-Ever Public March
Rev. Nancy Wilson Arrived In Jamaica Directly From
White House Easter Prayer Breakfast With U.S. President Obama
MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA— The Rev. Elder Nancy L. Wilson, moderator of the international movement of Metropolitan Community Churches, participated in the first-ever public HIV/AIDS march in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, along with a delegation of MCC leaders.
The public event, known as the Walk for Tolerance, was sponsored by Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, the largest and oldest Jamaican non-profit organization providing support services to persons with HIV and AIDS. The goal of the public walk in Montego Bay was to engender goodwill, support and tolerance for persons living with HIV and AIDS. The march, which drew 150 participants was a historic first for the Montego Bay community.
Joining Rev. Wilson were Rev. Pat. Bumgardner, chair of MCC’s Global Justice Team, Rev. Robert Griffin, MCC Liaison to Jamaica and Staff Pastor for Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), Rev. Michael Diaz, volunteer coordinator for Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), and Rev. Jim Birkitt, communications specialist and writer.
“Jesus stood with those who were marginalized and rejected by their societies. Jesus loved those who had been made to feel like outcasts; Jesus welcomed such, embraced them, loved them and cared for them. Those who would be Jesus’ followers today must show God’s same extravagant love,” added Wilson.
Following the march, Rev. Wilson preached at a worship service of Sunshine Cathedral Jamaica.
Click here to read the entire press release.
Dear MCC pastors, lay leaders, congregations:
I am pleased to share with you a resource from Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman on church finances in tough times, that I hope you will find encouraging, timely and useful.
As I travel around to MCC churches, and have contact with so many of you, I want to share some brief thoughts, reflections and encouragement:
This January, the amount of tithes to MCC you reported was excellent, an improvement over last year, and yet, we received only 80% because we know churches are facing tough times and some are delaying paying tithes.
Churches are much better at sending in reports, which helps us understand where you are, and the trends – thanks to church treasurers and boards for keeping in touch.
Even with all of the cuts we made to the MCC budget last year, that has not enabled us to keep up with this shortfall in tithes, due to the economy. We are continuing to monitor diligently, make cuts responsibly, and struggle with not undercutting services to our churches.
You gave $33,000 to our efforts for Haiti!! In must one month – amazing! And, many churches signed up for the Easter offering, believing that giving MCCers a chance to give over and above does not negatively impact tithes. MCCers are givers, and we give with our hearts.
Some churches have told me they assume they cannot vote at conference if they are behind in tithes, and are not planning to come. Please know, we will work with you, and help you in this time of great challenge! Of course we want you to pay your tithes, but, we really want you to come to conference. Talk to us!
Airfares are coming way down to Acapulco, and our room rates are phenomenal! Someone in your church or community has frequent flier miles that they may be able to donate. We hope you will make sure your church is represented. We are very close to meeting our baseline goal for conference registrations, our hotel room block, and we have a quorum in both houses of General Conference. We have amazing worship, training and inspirational opportunities for MCC.
Pray with me, that we will do everything we can do to be both responsible and full of faith and hope in these times where our people need to trust and rely on our leadership, locally and globally. Pray for me, and our leaders, as we tighten our belts and ask fewer people to focus and do more.
I will pray for you, that the generosity of our people, and the grace and abundance of the wonder-working God we know in Jesus, will sustain you, and give you great hope and peace today.
And, pray for me, and our Elders and leaders as we look ahead to General Conference, our global family reunion — to a time of sharing a new vision of ministry, deep personal connections, renewed friendships, and honest dialogue. I am confident that the Holy Spirit God will lead us and provide for us at this crossroads.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson
Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman
Stewardship and Church Finances in Hard Times
There is no question that we have been experiencing challenging financial times globally. Many people have come into our churches with the norm of our culture in terms of having debt, whether small or large. Many others have no knowledge of tithing or having a spiritual financial discipline. Fortunately, there are others in MCC who are highly committed to God and who see making a financial commitment to the life of the church as one part of their spiritual growth.
Here are just a few resources:
“Creating Congregationsof Generous People: Money, Faith, and Lifestyle Series,” Michael Durall published by Alban.
Asking parishioners for money is very different from creating congregations of generous people. In this provocative book, stewardship consultant Michael Durall argues convincingly that annual pledge drives inadvertently perpetuate low-level and same-level giving in congregations. Written with the voice of experience, this book will help clergy and lay leaders initiate and sustain effective stewardship programs. Durall believes that asking for money eventually becomes routine, even tedious-but creating a congregation of generous people becomes ever more meaningful with passing time.
Net Results: For clear and helpful articles on stewardship and much more subscribe to Net Results, a quarterly digital magazine that speaks to pertinent issues faced by churches today. Cost is $19.95 per year. www.NetResults.org. The May – June 09 issue is dedicated to the topic of Stewardship with many excellent articles.
“What About Tithing,” an article by Rev. Elder Don Eastman helps those of us in North America understand how tithing is viewed today and offer some thoughts on moving forward within MCC. https://www.minxcenter.org/minxcenter/blog/tithingEastman.htm
MCC Board of Directors Training
Coordinated by Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman
MCC Resource Specialist for Church Development
The health and vitality of the local church often reflects the leadership of both the Pastor and Board. Hopefully this manual will provide you with resources that will help you be effective in the ministry before you.
UFMCC Bylaws refer to a “local church administrative body.” In most cases local churches have chosen to call this body the Board of Directors, which is the name that is used in this body of work. Whatever your church chooses to call this group of elected people a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities is essential.
Previous Board material that was on the MCC website has been reviewed, much of it updated and additional material has been created. I especially want to thank Rev. Elder Don Eastman, who for many years has authored excellent material for MCC Board of Directors. With his permission, I have included much of his work here. I also want to thank our Elders, staff and many other people around MCC who have helped in the editing of this material.
It should be noted that this manual is NOT complete. In fact, it will never be complete. More sections will be added as material becomes available. As changes are made a notification will be noted on the MCC website.
There are two distinct sizes of churches within MCC, those below 75 in average Sunday attendance and those above. Therefore, this manual is being adapted for each size even though much of the material is the same there are specific areas that are addressed by size.
At the end of most sections you will find Discussion Questions. Hopefully whenever a new Board is elected extensive Board training will take place. The Discussion Questions are designed to help the Board process what it has been reading. The questions can also be helpful for a Board member to review individually. Have each person write the answer to each question and then discuss as a group.
In Section II you will find Resources containing a listing of books and websites giving excellent material for you to explore. Recommendations are welcome. There are also additional resources mentioned within certain sections as well.
Click here to review and download the manual.
May this material provide useful tools for you and your church. I welcome your feedback.
Peace and Possibilities,
Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman
MCC Resource Specialist for Church Development
2010 Earth Day Prayer
by Rev. Elder Diane Fisher
God of creation, we give you thanks
You have given into our care this earth
The lakes and rivers, the trees and flowers
The sand and cactus, the snow and the rain,
The warmth of the sun and the vastness of the night sky
All of these, into our care.
We have used the earth, we have spent her resources
We have not cared for her creatures.
We have been a people of consumption
In a world that needs tender nurturing.
Help us to be a changed people
Tending the earth, repairing the damage
Treating each gift, of air, of plants, water
With the care they deserve, that we deserve
Help us to treasure each running brook, each glass of water
Each step on the earth to treat as sacred
When we see a bird winging its way across the sky
May they echo our prayers to you God, taking flight
As we feel each gentle breeze, or the bite of winter days
May we treat them as your caress
Help us to be your caretakers
With awe and with reverence
Faithfully tending this earth that you gave us,
Let this be our gift to you God
On this Earth Day to offer our commitment
To live more simply, value more deeply this precious gift
In your many names we pray,
| MCC Staff News|
Congratulations to MCC Staffer, Angel Collie who was recently awarded the 2010 Bernard Boyd Memorial Prize at the University of North Carolina!
This award was established in 1979 by the Department of Religious Studies in memory of Bernar
New – MCC WEBINAR
Board of Director Training – Best Practices of Effective Boards
Date: Thursday, 27 May 2010 Time: 4PM – 5:15PM (EST)
Cost: Free, registration is required and space is limited.
Focus: Three key areas effective Church Boards do well and is something all church boards can learn to do.
This Webinar is a companion to the new MCC Board of Director Training Manuals. Click here to view and download the manuals.
Length: 1.25 hours
Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman has served on Board of Directors in MCC for over 35 years either as a lay board member, pastor, trainer/consultant plus she has served on denominational boards. Prior to MCC Arlene worked with not for profit organizational boards. She most recently completed the new MCC Board of Director Training Manuals which is currently on the MCC website as a free downloadable resource.
To sign up, click here to email Rev. Arlene.
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