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 Metropolitan Community Churches Headline NEWS

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope. Issue Number: One

Statement from the Office of the Moderator

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson

Metropolitan Community Churches

For Immediate Release:  13 February 2010

 

MODERATOR OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCHES

CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION

IN THE ARREST OF GAY KENYANS

 

As people around the world prepare to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, yesterday’s arrests in Kenya highlight the continuing struggle among LGBTQI couples for the right to bless and build consensual, loving relationships. 

 

Five guests preparing to celebrate a private same-sex wedding were arrested in Mtwapa after locals alerted the police of the intended nuptials. Reports also suggest that two of the men were victims of mob violence, as a crowd gathered around the villa, and later, the police station where the men were being held.  Friday’s raid followed a similar situation on Thursday, when officials intended to break up another ceremony but the couple and guests escaped before being arrested. 

 

Kenyan police officials say the Friday wedding party will be subjected to an internal medical examination before charging them with homosexuality, a charge punishable with imprisonment. District Officials and local Christian and Muslim clerics have publicly praised the local community for their diligence in reporting the men. Their statements suggest that there is little distinction in public perceptions between committed same-sex couples and the culture of  sex-tourism which is prevalent in local coastal resort towns.

 

These incidents continue to bring focus to the struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in eastern Africa: 

  • In Blantyr, Malawi, a judge recently denied bail for the second time to Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, citing fear of violence against them as the reason. They remain in jail after being arrested during their engagement celebration in December. 
  • In Uganda, tensions are running high as Pastor Martin Ssempa continues to organise a “million-man” march on 17 February in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a bill proposing harsh sentencing, including the death penalty in some cases. Local human rights organisations in Kampala are bracing themselves for the possibility of escalating violence against LGBTQI people in the wake of the march. 

These events, in light of the history of Valentine’s Day, carry a sense of tragic irony. The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that one of the three St. Valentines associated with the 14th of February was an African whose history has largely been lost. He was martyred with several friends in unknown circumstances. Today, I am keenly aware that too many of our African siblings struggling for equal rights to self-expression and loving relationships have been lost in unknown circumstances. May we resolve that not one more lesbian will be raped without outcry; or a transgender sibling murdered without investigation; or a same-sex couple victimised by mob actions and religiously condoned violence without it being known, exposed and remembered.

 

This Valentine’s Day, I call on people throughout the world to remember, pray and act in support of our LGBTQI and allied communities in Africa.  MCC has African members who are involved in these continuing struggles locally, continentally and internationally. Whether testifying before US Congressional Committees in Washington, DC or working with passion on the ground in churches, hidden cell groups or NGOs in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and South Africa, they are standing courageously for the right to love. I call on our entire Fellowship and our friends to stand in Spirit and solidarity with each one of these freedom fighters and liberty lovers. 

 

This Valentine’s Day, I call on religious and civic leaders throughout the world to condemn religiously fuelled anti-homosexuality violence, whether carried out with stones or brutal legislation. Gay bashing is gay bashing, whatever the form.  Our people bear the scars of homoprejudice in our bodies and lives. We proclaim that the time has come for homoprejudice to be named for what it is—-a sinful prejudice that steals, kills and destroys precious lives created by a good and just Creator.

 

This Valentine’s day, I call on lovers throughout the world, whether we are able to do so publicly or only privately, to give thanks for the partners God has given us.  May we build lives of substance and mutual care—-a good, blessed and joyful thing to do. Let us value our love with the fulness of sacred promises, resisting any lessening of our relationships and commitments through external or internal pressures. Together, we stand as Light, braving the winds of misinformation and unknowing. Together, we stand as Truth in a world that hungers for genuine love.

 

Our prayers and shouts of protest go out for those arrested in Kenya this weekend. We call for the immediate release of our brothers, in the name of all that is just and right.

 

May God bless and protect them,

 

 //signed

+Nancy

 

The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson

 

 This statement prepared in conjunction with The Moderator’s Global Justice Team,

Rev. Pressley Sutherland, Global Justice Liaison for Africa, and Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.

Update on MCC’s Haiti Relief Efforts
From Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson,

Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches

  
One day following the disastrous earthquake in Haiti (January 2010), MCCers around the globe began to respond with prayers and gifts of relief.  As of 10 February 2010, MCCers donated $26,000 to our Disaster Relief Fund for Haiti.
 
On Thursday, 11 February 2010, Rev. Tania Guzman, and a group from ICM Santo Domingo including Haitian members of the church, transported supplies to 20 families in Haiti. Supplies include tents, sleeping bags, food, water, and medical supplies to each family, who have been living in very dire conditions since the earthquake.  The delegation, hosted by MCC Santo Domingo (in the Dominican Republic) also carried love, and prayers and comfort as they travelled.
 
We are so grateful for the ability to make the first grant from our Haiti Relief fund for these purposes.
Thank you MCC!!
 
On the weekend of 6 February 2010, Rev. Nancy Wilson visited the church in Santo Domingo, as they dedicated their new facility in the heart of the “zona colonial,” an LGBT friendly neighborhood of Santo Domingo. Almost 60 people attended the service. Rev. Wilson also met with the board of the church, and about a dozen Haitian members, who described the chaos and terror in Haiti following the massive earthquake several weeks ago. Haitian members of MCC have been going back and forth to Haiti, helping as much as they can, but the trip this week will make all the difference to those 20 families.
 
In addition to MCC’s funds, we are grateful to SunCoast MCC in Venice, Florida, who are regular supporters of ICM in Santo Domingo who also sent funds this week for the trip.
 

 
Click here to view an album of photos taken during this visit.

 

 
Please continue to pray for the safely and success of continuing relief efforts
.

Featured In This Issue
Moderator of MCC Calls for Action
Update on MCC’s Haiti Relief Efforts
On The Ground……
From the Editor
Find MCC on Facebook
Find MCC on Twitter
Contact Us

On The Ground… 

 

Rev. Tania Guzman of MCC Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) Shares Her Story from the Haiti Relief Efforts
 
12 February 2010
 
We have just arrived back in the Dominican Republic and are exhausted from the events of the day.

 
The team of five volunteers and three drivers from ICM Santo Domingo departed for Haiti at 4am on Thursday, February 11th.  From the church were Rev. Tania Guzman, Wilkin and three Haitian church members (Webster, Gregory and Jonel) who are very familiar with navigating Haiti and whose families still live in the areas affected by the earthquake. 
 
We developed a very effective system that involved having the church members contact their families and select one person for us to deliver the food to.  When we approached the drop off points, we contacted the individuals via cell phone.  Once we arrived at each point of delivery the contact person was already there waiting for us and we only had seconds to get all the food out of the bus and leave before we were noticed and crowds would gather. 
 

Each person receiving the delivery was so grateful and happy and blessed our efforts and the journey.
 
Click here to read the rest of the article.

General Conference
 

Join the Effort

 

The fastest and easiest way you can help the efforts for disaster relief in Haiti is through giving. We are asking for donations of $5 and $10…or as much as you can give…to build up support and assistance to survivors in Haiti.

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From the Editor  

 

Welcome to the first issue of MCC Headline News! 
13 February 2010
 

It is our goal to help keep you connected to the events, issues and causes that impact our global community.  We are have been prepared for a time such as this and we hope that this publication will inform and equip each of us to tear down walls and build up hope in every corner of the world that we find ourselves.  Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Namaste,

Kathy Beasley, BSBM, MAOM

Director of MCC Communications, Justice & Evangelism

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For Additional Information

 

Kathy Beasley, Communications Director
Metropolitan Community Churches
P.O. Box 1374 Abilene, TX (USA) 79604
Email: [email protected]
Website:  www.mccchurch.org

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About Metropolitan Community Church (MCC)

 

Metropolitan Community Church, founded in 1968, is a human-rights movement and ministry operating as a Christian denomination in 25 countries around the world. MCC has often been and continues to be one of few leading advocates for vulnerable people in places where religious orthodoxy, sexism, and homophobia can result in violence and death. MCC’s promise is stated in its tagline “Tearing Down Walls. Building Up Hope.”

For more information about MCC visit: https://www.mccchurch.org.

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