I would like to recognize Linda Beckstead and Terry Curry, our Network Leads for this area, who are representing MCC during this difficult time. Linda was on the ground the first day anyone was allowed in the city, organized clean-up and distribution of supplies, and stayed in constant communication regarding needs. Terry provided vital support, even though she was out of the country. Both are doing a fantastic job!
And kudos to Kurt Krieger, Melissa Smithee, and Katie Hotze-Wilton for all the work they did to support the local church and the network, as well as planning and coordinating last Sunday’s worship service.
I wanted to share some information with you from the past week of activity in and for Joplin. The generosity of MCCers and people around the world continues to amaze us.
At least 10 trucks, including a twenty-one foot trailer, brought supplies and food.
Over $1,000 (USD) in gift cards have been donated.
At least 6 MCCs assisted with clean-up and the worship service. We know of representatives from First MCC of Kansas (Wichita), MCC of Greater Saint Louis (Missouri), MCC of Topeka (Kansas), MCC Omaha (Nebraska), Spirit of Christ MCC (Joplin, Missouri), and Spirit of Hope MCC (Kansas City, Missouri).
115 people attended the Come As You Are Community Healing Service, during which over $1,000 (USD) in donations was collected.
At least 4 MCC churches contacted Spirit of Christ MCC directly to offer monetary donations.
$9,621.40 (USD) has been donated (as of Friday, 3 June) to MCC’s Disaster Relief Fund, which we began distributing last week.
I feel the need to reiterate what I know of disasters and also have heard from people volunteering in Joplin; many well-meaning people show up at disaster sites or insist on helping before needs are assessed. This is often more harmful than helpful. Please be respectful of people and communities, and do not assume you know the best way to help.
Here’s a great picture and story from the worship service:
Rev. Steve Urie, pastor of SOCMCC, was presented with a newly framed copy of his ordination certificate that was found in the rubble, along with a copy of his certificate of service for his work in previous years with disaster relief. Oh, the irony.
And here is a wonderful testimony to MCC by an HRC board member.
We are making plans for Phase II support. Check for updates on the MCC Disaster Relief page on our website.
To donate to MCC’s Disaster Relief Fund, which allows us to respond quickly in cases such as this:
Received the Koinonia distinguished service award, and as the highest-ranking academic student, also carried the PSR banner at the Commencement ceremony.
Patrick Ryan – Pacific School of Religion
John Ransom – Florida Center for Theological Studies
Megan More – Claremont School of Theology
Chelsea Masterman – Pacific School of Religion
Joshua Love – Episcopal Divinity School
Katie Hotze – Eden Seminary
Earning “The Robert L. Tiemann Book Award” – given to a student of the Seminary who is deemed by the administration to excel in business acumen that will be transferable and useful in the ultimate ministry of the recipient
Candy Holmes – Episcopal Divinity School
Joint recipient (with Jim Merritt) of .
Jakob Hero – Pacific School of Religion
Received the preaching prize at graduation, and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Boswell prize for GLBT scholarship.
Norma Gann – Brite Divinity School
Johnna Faber – Lancaster Theological Seminary
Received the Rev. Thomas W. Rhoads Academic Prize in Biblical Interpretation (Old Testament)
Leonard Dacy – Brite Divinity School
Received the 2011 Chalice Press Book Award, and the 2011 Latino/a Church Studies Award
Dustin Williams (Hispanic Studies) – Louisiana State University
Jen Jones (Sports Management) – University of the Pacific
Diane Pierce (Interdisciplinary Studies) – Ellis University
Robin Davvis (Healthcare Management) – Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Joe Shore-Goss (Spiritual Direction) – Stil Point Center for Spirituality
John Magisano (Economic Development Finance Professional) – National Development Council
Also received a certificate in Interim Executive Leadership from the Support Center for Nonprofit Management, and will receive a certificate as an Organizational Development Practitioner from the NTL Institute this month
Roger Bernardo (Carpentry) – Piscataway Vo-Tech
LA’S FIRST LGBT HERITAGE MONTH – TROY PERRY HONORED
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and Christopher Street West/LA PRIDE (CSW) kicked off the City’s first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Heritage Month celebration at 10:00am on Friday, 3 June 2011, in the City Hall Council Chambers in Los Angeles, California. The City’s first ever LGBT Heritage Month themed “LGBT LA: Paving the Way Toward Equality” highlighted Los Angeles as a driving force in the LGBT equality movement. The event was presented by Toyota and Toyota Financial Services.
Mayor Villaraigosa presenting award to Rev. Troy Perry
(photo credit: Mark Hahn)
At the formal Council presentation, the Mayor recognized CSW co-founder, the Reverend Troy Perry, with the Spirit of Los Angeles Award; media strategist Chad Griffin with the Dream of Los Angeles Award; and actress and comedian Wanda Sykes with the Hope of Los Angeles Award. Vox Femina led the Council procession.
Chad Griffin, Wanda Sykes, Mayor Villaraigosa, Rev. Troy Perry
(photo credit: Mark Hahn)
Following the event in Council Chambers, there was a reception on the South lawn of City Hall with Master of Ceremonies Alec Mapa, special guest Dustin Lance Black, and live performances by So You Think You Can Dance, musician Our Lady J, and Out & About Tours.
The Mayor held a private reception with LGBT leaders at his private residence, the Getty House, to commemorate Christopher Street West/LA PRIDE’s 41st Anniversary.
To read about the event, click here. To see a full album of pictures from the event, by Mark Hahn, click here.
Following a viewing of For the Bible Tells Me So, Rev. Paul Whiting, pastor of MCC London (Ontario), spoke on a panel before a crowd of 180 at the offices of their local Board of Education.
Rev. Dr. Mona West will be teaching Sexuality and Spirituality in Lancaster Theological Seminary’s Summer Academy, 20-24 June.
Rev. Dr. Tony Thieman-Somora is writing the section on mental illness and dealing with combative clients for a new training and webinar series, which will be used throughout the state of Illinois.
Jen Taylor is planning to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event, so her friends at Divine Peace MCC (Pontiac, Michigan) helped her raise funds by contributing the donations from one of their Sunday dinners.
The Angel Collie story is available on the website of St. John’s MCC (Raleigh, North Carolina). It’s the transition story of our own MCC staffer in his own words and a delight to read. Click here.
Rev. Boon Lin Ngeo was the guest preacher Sunday at Open Arms MCC (Rochester, New York).
Florin Buhuceanu represented MCC in Berlin, Germany, during the 2011 General Meeting of the European Gay and Christian Forum, where he offered information about the ongoing projects concerning Eastern Europe during a workshop and organized a booth about MCC work in this region.
Pastor Melissa Smithee threw out the first pitch at the Omaha Storm Chasers’ Diversity Night. Thirty folks from MCC Omaha (Nebraska) were there to watch and to staff an information booth about the church.
Rev. Melanie Martinez wrote an article, which appeared in the Sunday edition of the Abilene (Texas) Reporter News, about bullying and her participation in the Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call in Washington, DC. You can read the article here.
Jane Newallwas appointed to the national Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisor Board.
Remembering Stonewall will be a Pride event for the community next Saturday at FirstCoast MCC (St. Augustine, Florida). There will be vendors, food sales, and a picnic outdoors, with movies all day inside in the air conditioning.
Next weekend, all of the MCCs in and around Washington, DC, will participate in the Capital Pride March on Saturday and Celebration on Sunday. Churches confirmed are Holy Redeemer MCC (College Park, Maryland), MCC of the Blue Ridge (Roanoke, Virginia), MCC DC (Washington, DC), MCC Fredricksburg (Virginia), MCC NOVA (Fairfax, Virginia), MCC Rehoboth (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware), MCC Richmond (Virginia), New Life MCC of Hampton Roads (Norfolk, Virginia), New Light MCC (Hagerstown, Maryland), and Open Door MCC (Boyds, Maryland).
SunCoast Cathedral MCC (Venice, Florida) will host an evening of Pride consisting of a Spaghetti Dinner, a panel presentation, and a book signing by their own Richard White, author of A Fairy in the Palace.
Appalachian MCC (St. Alban’s, West Virginia) is working on their annual Pride Hot Dog Sale. They’ll have 500 hot dogs, 100 vegan dogs, regular and vegan chili, slaw, chips, and soft drinks for sale at the state-wide event in Charleston on Sunday.
In Seattle, Washington, they will be observing Pride 19-26 June. Emerald City MCC will be involved with all the events, especially the Interfaith Service which they will be planning and hosting with All Pilgrims Church. Other sponsors include First Baptist, Prospect UCC, University Baptist, University Christian, and University Lutheran.
Church of the Trinity MCC (Sarasota, Florida) will host an MCC Pride Tea Dance on 18 June at 4:00pm.
This month, New Spirit MCC/UCC/DOC (Berkley, California) will feature original compositions and arrangements by LGBT composers, many of whom will be present in their worship services.
Gentle Shepherd MCC (Phoenix, Arizona) won the prize for the best float in their city’s Pride Parade!
MCC Illiana (Portage, Indiana) will have a float in the Northwest Indiana Pride Parade on Saturday.
At the conclusion of Pride events there, MCC Albuquerque (New Mexico) will host the Pride Worship Service next Sunday.
Rev. Delores Berry will be in concert on the 18th at MCC Knoxville (Tennessee). On Sunday, she will preach for the morning worship and lead a healing service that evening. The Pride Picnic, the longest-standing event in that area and hosted by the church, will be that afternoon.
MCC Charleston (South Carolina) had one convertible, three trucks, three banners, countless balloons, and at least 25 folks walking/riding in the parade … and they had new folks at church because of their booth at the rally!
As part of Pride, MCC Key West (Florida) will host a dinner at the New York Pasta Garden Friday night, with the proceeds going to their various ministries.
Spirit of Hope MCC (Kansas City, Missouri) hosted the Pride Interfaith Service with Randy Roberts Potts, the grandson of Oral Roberts, as the speaker. Participants included faith leaders and congregants from many traditions, the Kansas City Coalition of Welcome Ministries, and the Heartland Men’s Chorus.
King of Peace MCC (St. Petersburg, Florida) will sponsor a showing of Call Me Troy this Thursday. Next Thursday, they will screen In Anita’s Wake: The Irrational War on Florida’s Gay Families, a documentary about Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and the ongoing impact of Florida’s adoption ban. There will also be a question and answer time with Vicki Nantz, the film’s director.
Rev. Jimmy Creech, a long-time friend of MCC and author of Adam’s Gift, is available to preach and do book signings at any church. He is already scheduled at New Spirit MCC/UCC/DOC (Berkley, California) and MCC/ICM Los Angeles (California). Why not invite him to your church? Email Chris Weedy for booking information.
Justin Ryan’s “I’ve Been There” tour, an outreach to bullied and abandoned LGBT youth, began last month at MCC Pittsburg (Pennsylvania). He will appear at MCC Elizabethtown (Kentucky) on 26 June. Next month, he will visit several MCCs in Florida. For a preview, check out his video. For more information about his tour or to book him for your church, visit JustinRyanonline.com or email .
Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is looking for a full-time Director of LGBTQ Student Life. For more information, visit the website, click on Administrative/Staff Jobs (External Candidates), then on Search Openings. Leave all defaults, go to the field labeled: Auto req ID, and enter 23731BR.
MTV is planning a docu-series about youth (ages 14-21) with LGBT parents. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have MCC youth talking about their family’s involvement in church and their faith? GLAAD would like to train any families desiring to submit an application. Contact Ross Murray at for that assistance. To apply for the show, please send photographs, videos, and a brief description of each family member to . More information is available here.
Hands Across Hawthorne Bridge saw many participants from MCC Portland (Oregon). In response to an attack on two gay men for holding hands in public, members and friends of the LGBT community gathered and held hands spanning the entire length of the bridge.
The 4th Annual Broadway Series is underway at MCC Austin (Texas). The shows featured this year are “The Wiz,” “Pippin,” “My Fair Lady,” and “The Fantastiks.”
You never know who might be visiting your church! MCC Manchester (England) had a visitor who turned out to be a blogger who reviewed churches. You can read the review here.
As part of their weekly e-newsletter, Agape MCC (Ft. Worth, Texas) includes a Community Bulletin Board for congregants to post needs for jobs, furniture, moving assistance, items for sale, apartments to lease, etc.
Like to get your hands dirty? Then join the folks at All God’s Children MCC (Minneapolis, Minnesota) Saturday as they work in their eco-friendly rain garden.
First MCC of Atlanta (Georgia) launched Spirit of Broadway, its own theatre company. Recently, they presented an original production of “Reunion,” a musical modeled after the popular TV show “GLEE” addressing bullying in schools.
ICM Betel (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has recently begun an affinity group for members of the congregation who are People of African Descent. Their pastor is Rev. Marcio Retamero.
ICM Misericordia (San Salvador, El Salvador) has received the legalization of MCC in their country.
ICM Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) received the recognition of the government as a religious non-profit group.
Kids4Christ performed in sign language and dance for MCC Winston-Salem (North Carolina).
Rev. Sandy Osteen of Holy Cross MCC (Pensacola, Florida) and her son Ryan co-preached the sermon on Youth Sunday at Cornerstone MCC (Mobile, Alabama).
Pandamania VBS will take place at LifeJourney MCC (Indianapolis, Indiana) 20-24 June for 3 to 13 year olds. Then in July, those 8 and older will go to Camp Forust for five days.
MCC Richmond (Virginia) will be celebrating their 33rdanniversary 11-12 June with Rev. Delores Berry as their special guest. On Saturday evening, there will be a gala concert featuring Rev. Berry and Spirits of Joy/Voices of Praise. Rev. Berry will preach on Sunday morning and lead a Healing Service that evening. After morning worship, everyone will enjoy a potluck picnic.
Rev. Tania Guzman, Leader of the MCC Hispanic Ministry Development Team, will be the guest preacher on Pentecost Sunday at Joy MCC (Orlando, Florida). In the spirit of all people hearing in their native tongue, parts of the service will be bilingual (English, Spanish).
ICM Los Angeles (California) celebrated their 19th anniversary last Sunday with a reception after their weekly worship service.
Azania, the People of African Descent group at MCC Los Angeles (California), will host a Juneteenth Celebration Barbeque Chicken Dinner on the 19th after the 11 am worship service.
MCC of Greater Dallas (Texas) will have Jason and deMarco as their guests for Pentecost next weekend with a concert on Saturday and worship on Sunday.
After many years of pastoring and serving MCC, Rev. Elder John Gill is retiring. His last Sunday will be 12 June at Gentle Shepherd MCC (Phoenix, Arizona). Rev. Gale Rawson was elected yesterday as the new Senior Pastor.
Rev. George Chein has submitted his resignation as pastor of MCC Hartford (Connecticut). His last Sunday will be 12 June.
Safe Harbor MCC (Halifax, Nova Scotia) has voted to close. Their final service will be on 19 June with Rev. Elder Diane Fisher joining them.
MCC New York (New York) is now offering free, confidential, rapid HIV testing seven days a week. Additionally, they have expanded their syringe access program to three days a week for those needing clean syringes and a place to dispose of used ones.
MCC Toronto (Ontario) is expanding their work with refugees under their new Refugee & Immigration Project. In addition to their LGBT Refugee Peer Support Group, they will offer one-on-one support to those who cannot attend the group, financial sponsorship support for up to one year, small group spiritual support for a number of faith traditions, and advocacy for justice in refugee and immigration policy. Brian Brenie will serve as Coordinator.
Exodus MCC (Abilene, Texas) celebrated LOL (Live Out Loud) Weekend, during which congregants did something to serve others, such as participate with Habitat for Humanity, visit LGBT folks in a nursing home, pass out water and snacks to the homeless, mow a neighbor’s yard, run an errand for someone who is homebound, etc.
Open Circle at the Villages MCC (Oxford, Florida) collects newspaper, junk mail, and other recyclable paper for fundraising by Temple Shalom, who offers them space to meet.
Play Ball! Vision of Hope MCC (Mountville, Reading, and York, Pennsylvania) will enjoy an outing to the Reading Phillies game on Saturday.
Peninsula MCC (San Mateo, California) recently enjoyed a Game Day. Not only did they play board games after worship and lunch, they also went to see the San Jose Giants play the Stockton Ports.
Each Saturday this month, aChurch4Me? MCC (Chicago, Illinois) will offer the study “LGBT People in the Bible” for the community at the Center on Halstead.
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journalare the featured books in a 12-week study on creativity at MCC in the Valley (North Hollywood, California).
During Sunday School on the third Sunday of each month at Harvest MCC (Denton, Texas), folks share their personal testimonies of their experiences with God.
Heartland Community MCC (Springfield, Illinois) recently held their first training for “Over the Rainbow Senior Outreach,” a program they’ve developed to help churches and organizations become a community resource. The first session, which had participants from four different congregations, focused on the “Phone Pal” program. Volunteers were trained to make weekly calls to homebound seniors, especially in the LGBT community, who just need someone to talk to.
As part of their series on relationships, MCC of the Rockies (Denver, Colorado) will present Balancing Adult Relationships with Parenting Responsibilities, led by Sam Adams-Berger, LCSW, on 20 June.
This month King of Peace MCC (St. Petersburg, Florida) will be offering two classes: Developing Your Personal Strategic Plan (Part 1) and Budgeting for the Money-Challenged.
MCC Tampa (Florida) is having their own version of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. “Dust off those fancy hats, break out those stilettos, slide into the fanciest outfit you own, and make plans to attend our version of the Kentucky Derby. Buy a $25 horse for the race. As the ‘owner,’ you get to name your horse, pick your jockey, and pick the heat and lane your horse will race. During your race, you sit at the Owner’s Circle VIP box. If you win, you get a trophy and a photo taken in the winner’s circle. After the races, use leftover ‘betting bucks’ at the auction.”
Following a picnic on the 19th, Living Springs MCC (Bath, England) will have a Bring & Buy Sale, a great way to get rid of unwanted items, plants, etc., and to purchase those brought by others!
MCC Paducah (Kentucky) got folks to donate their loose change each Sunday by keeping a basket in the church foyer. Adults and children alike took a plastic egg from the basket and filled it with whatever change was in their pockets.