Statement from International Task Force Steering Committee
After months of compiling information from different sources, the three members of the International Task Force (ITF) Steering Committee met 6 – 7 May 2011, with Raquel Benitez (Governing Board) in Pennsylvania. This was the first face-to-face meeting where a strategy of development was created as the ITF moves toward presenting the final proposals to the General Conference in 2013. Bringing a wealth of valuable input from group skype calls, the Steering Committee identified key issues from which to stimulate further conversation. As the group delved deeper, they identified many of the challenges facing UFMCC globally. During the two days of intense talks, the group was privileged to have input from Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson (Moderator), Rev. Tony Freeman (Vice Chair of the Governing Board), Rev. Elder Diane Fisher, Rev. Pat Bumgardner (Global Justice), Rev. Dr. Mona West (OFLD) and Professor Juan Battle (CUNYGraduate Centre). We would invite you to follow our progress and offer suggestions via the ITF web page. The group would like to thank Rev. Janice Bowker, the Board and members of Imago Dei MCC, for their generous hospitality and support in assisting the important work in furthering the goals of UFMCC in the world today.
MCC Statement on International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHO)
Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide reaffirm our support and place in an international movement toward the equality for all people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
We acknowledge the interconnectedness of our oppression and understand that, in solidarity, we can overcome the forces that attempt to hold us back and marginalize our diverse and ever-expanding community. As a Denomination, we stand up and support the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (17 May 2011).
Metropolitan Community Churches see the sacred worth and divinity within all people as children of God and believe we are all of equal worth. To carry out that vision, we are committed to social action in our communities, nations, and world. This year’s Easter offering will support our continued work in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia.
As Christians, we are called to be a voice for those whose voices have been silenced and to empower those who have been oppressed. ILGA reports that 76 Countries in 2010 prosecute people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, with some sentences as harsh as the death penalty. Likewise, the TVT project released a report that found since January 2008, there have been 539 reports of trans people murdered in 42 countries. These alarming numbers are the result of state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia.
On Sunday, 15 May, we asked our churches worldwide to join us in a time of prayer against all forms of oppression, intolerance, and inequality. As we approach the Christian season of Pentecost (14 June), we remember how all heard the Spirit in a way they could most easily understand. No one was ignored or left out. Everyone heard the good news. Jesus calls us to give of ourselves to serve others and to stand with the marginalized and oppressed. Thus, we call for a renewed dedication to service and activism in our churches and in our communities.
We remember the words of Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey), spoken in 1838, “Until We Are All Free, We Are None Free.” Pray for freedom and tolerance.
Registration is now open for MCC’s new Lay Leadership Certificate Program!
L.E.A.D. (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) is a program developed specifically for laity in MCC to provide an opportunity for spiritual growth and the development of leadership skills so that they may be effective leaders in the church and the world. Persons who complete the L.E.A.D. Certificate will be placed on a Leader List available to Elders, Senior Staff and MCC Clergy for the purpose of creating a leadership pool from which to choose trained laity to serve in leadership positions in MCC at the denominational, local and international levels. For a list of the core competencies for the L.E.A.D. program, click here. For a listing of courses for the L.E.A.D. program, click here.
There is an application process for the program, and attendance at a L.E.A.D. retreat is required. The first L.E.A.D. retreat, which is a pilot for the U.S. and Canada, will be offered 18-21 August 2011 at Dayspring Retreat Center in Ellenton, Florida. The cost of the retreat is $400 USD, which includes tuition, three nights’ lodging and all meals. Thedeadline for applications to the program is July 5. To download an application packet, click here. Space for this first L.E.A.D. retreat is limited to 30 persons.
In 2012, L.E.A.D. retreats will be planned for venues outside the U. S. and will be designed to be culturally relevant wherever they are offered. The OFLD plans to offer retreats on a regular basis to accommodate all those who wish to participate in the program.
Pastoral Statement from MCC on the passing of Dr. Robert Carr
Dr. Robert Carr
Director of Policy and Advocacy
International Council of AIDS Service Organizations
Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute mourn Dr. Robert Carr, human rights activist and founder of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, who died this week in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Carr was a friend to so many, and a hero to the movement in Jamaica.
Dr. Carr served in many roles during the last tumultuous decade in Jamaica and in the Caribbean, fighting for human rights for people with HIV/AIDS and sexual minorities. As a social worker and academic, Dr. Carr sought to bring a better understanding of the conditions and realities faced by such vulnerable communities, and risked himself and his reputation to bring about much needed change….
Dr. Carr’s efforts for human rights were tireless. He was a very warm supporter of the efforts of Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church in Jamaica, and of MCC globally. He was a trusted, valued colleague in the human rights and HIV/AIDS community globally, especially in his new role as the director of the International Council of Aids Service Organisations (ICASO), based in Toronto.
Our sources on the ground, as well as numerous news outlets, confirm the good news: Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill shelved as parliament adjourns. For more details, click here.
Thank you to all who prayed and took action to help bring this about.
Is MCC looking for you?
MCC is accepting resumes for our open Communications Director position. The full posting description can be found here. The highlights:
Provide vision and leadership for our communication function
Lead us to coordinate message content and delivery
Comfortable working with both traditional and new media
Full-time position, 37.5 hours per week, eligible for our standard benefits package
Resume and cover letter due by May 27, 2011
Sexuality and Spirituality course at Lancaster Seminary this summer
Rev. Dr. Mona West will be teaching Sexuality and Spirituality in Lancaster Theological Seminary’s Summer Academy, June 20-24, 7-8:45 pm. This course will satisfy the ordination requirement in MCC and will also count for credit toward the new L.E.A.D. Lay Certificate Program. Cost for the course is $160 USD. For more information, click here.