MCC Impact – March 2011

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Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

MCC Impact

 

ARTISTS AT WORK

MCC of the Blue Ridge (Roanoke, Virginia) hosted an incredible art exhibit called “Labyrinth,” in collaboration with the city’s Marginal Arts Festival. Over 200 people attended the opening reception and viewed the exhibit.

The church saw the potential of their unused third floor space, so they invited local, state and national artists to adopt the unused rooms and install art exhibits. Every room on the third floor, plus two rooms on the main floor, were used. Five artists from their church were among the participants. Two of them refinished the balcony, producing a masterpiece to compliment the stained glass windows.

One of the most unique creations was featured in The Roanoke Times. Artist Ralph Eaton took a room full of unused oak Sunday School chairs and created a “Chairway to Heaven” by stacking and cabling the chairs into a cathedral-like archway.

CELEBRATIONS

Christ Chapel MCC (Santa Ana, California) will be celebrating their 40th anniversary the weekend of 9 April. Jay Bakker will be their keynote speaker on Saturday evening, when the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will also perform. There will be a special service of celebration on Sunday at which founding pastor Rev. Rodger Harrison will be a special guest.

Tree of Life MCC (Ann Arbor, Michigan) will celebrate their 18th anniversary on 3 April, the same day that they will officially close the church. There will be a luncheon after worship featuring messages from people who have been touched by the ministry of the church. They are donating their altar ware, linens, and vestments to other MCCs.

FirstCoast MCC (St. Augustine, Florida) will dedicate their new building, much of which they completed themselves, on 3 April.  Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson will officiate.

Rev. Harry Knox asked the folks at Resurrection MCC (Houston, Texas) to establish a fund to replace the gutters on the church building rather than give him presents for his 50th birthday. This birthday is especially meaningful since for half his life now he has been HIV+.

MCC in the Valley (North Hollywood, California) and MCC/ICM Los Angeles (California) will celebrate their Third Annual Griffith Park Picnic together on 10 April. They will spend the afternoon eating, visiting, and playing family-friendly games.

Cornerstone MCC (Mobile, Alabama) celebrated their ‘Founder’s Day’ 26th Anniversary. Corey Hieldebaugh, an M.Div graduate from Pacific School of Religion, spoke on “Into the Future with Hope!”

LENTEN ACTIVITIES 

In addition to a Fish Fry every Friday night, Church of the Trinity MCC (Sarasota, Florida) is meeting is small home groups to study Let Your Life Speak, Listening for the Voice of Vocation, which complements the Sunday sermon series on the spiritual practices of listening and discernment.

MCC Topeka (Kansas) is participating with the Seabrook Area Churches in a weekly Lenten Breakfast series, “The Meaning of the Cross in Contemporary Faith”.

At MCC Austin (Texas) the theme for this Lent is “I Wonder as I Wander”. Each Sunday they are exploring something about which people wonder … “Did Jesus Exist?”, “Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?”, “Is Christianity the Only Way to God?”, “Science and Christianity”, “The Doctrine of Original Sin”, and “The Question of Free Will”.

MCC of the Spirit (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) will view The Passion of the Christ on 8 April.

MCC San Francisco (California) is opening their sanctuary at specified times throughout Lent for a quiet time of meditation, reflection, and prayer.

Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) is raising funds for the XanGo Goodness Meal Packs program, a worldwide movement to address severe malnutrition. $90 (USD) provides a child with nutritional meals for one month. Their Lenten goal is to be able to feed 70 children for a month.

Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy is leading a Lenten Bible Study in her home for the Emerald City MCC (Seattle, Washington) community.

A group is gathering before worship each Sunday morning at Imago Dei MCC (Glen Mills, Pennsylvania) for Lenten Devotions.

“Love is …” is the theme for April Sunday worship services at MCC Newcastle (England). Additionally, they will focus each Sunday on a different aspect of MCC Global Ministries in preparation for their Easter Sunday offering for MCC’s work in Russia, the Philippines, and a safe house in Uganda.

MCC Omaha (Nebraska) is doing a prayer and study time on “Who do you say that I Am?”.

MCC San Jose (California) is joining with three other downtown churches to offer special events during Lent, including weekly Soup Suppers with programs and Holy Week services.

At First MCC of Atlanta (Georgia) they have asked congregants to put aside $2 per day during Lent in order to have a Miracle Sunday offering on Easter. Their goal is $12,000 (USD).

The Hunger Action Team at aChurch4Me? MCC is collecting one food item from each congregant each Sunday during Lent to donate to the Lakeview Pantry.

The folks at Gentle Shepherd MCC (Phoenix, Arizona) are carrying a nail in their pockets throughout Lent to remind them of Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice. They will be collected as part of the Good Friday service.

As part of their B1 curriculum (Be One – a disciple), MCC of Greater Dallas (Texas) is offering “Christianity 101 from a Progressive Perspective” on the Sundays during Lent.

The Lenten Study at MCC Illiana (Portage, Indiana) is MCC’s “Holy Conversations”.

CHECK IT OUT! 

Rev. Dr. Patrick Cheng’s new book, Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology, has been released and is available in paper format and in digital download for the Kindle.

This book, written to fill a huge gap in the literature, is the first accessible introduction to LGBTQ theology for pastors, people in the pews, and non-specialists alike. It traces the genealogy of queer theology from the 1950s to today. Rev. Chris Glaser noted that it is “thoroughly Christian and thoroughly Queer”.

There are study questions and suggestions for further reading, so it is ideal for congregational use.  It also has an extensive bibliography that includes the work of many MCC leaders, such as Rev. Elder Troy Perry, Rev. Dr. Mona West, and Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.

You can read the reviews by Dr. Carter Heyward, Dr. James Cone, Rev. Chris Glaser, Dr. Elizabeth Stuart, Rev. Dr. Bob Shore-Goss, and Virginia Mollenkott at this direct link on amazon.com. Additional information can be found at patrickcheng.net.

In addition to being MCC Clergy, Rev. Dr. Cheng is the Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School.

PEOPLE

MCC Rehoboth (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware) will bid a fond farewell to Rev. Dr. Dusty Pruitt, their interim pastor, on 3 April. The next Sunday they will welcome Rev’d. K’Lynne McKinley to the pulpit. She is an ordained Baptist clergyperson who will be transferring her credentials to MCC.

Rev. Chris Dowd is retiring from his role as MCC’s ecumenical officer for the United Kingdom. Thank you, Rev. Dowd, for your many years of service.

Randy Roberts Potts is the gay grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts. He has worked with juvenile delinquents and as a social worker, middle school English teacher, and freelance writer. He was a speaker on the RSVP 25th anniversary cruise and will be speaking at Kansas City Pride in June. He is available to speak at MCCs and other events. Click here to read a Washington Post article.

Clergy Intern Neil Jones has been liaising with local police regarding the increase in religious-based homophobic literature around North and East London, England.

At the Indiana Senate Hearing on H.R. 6, Rev. Jeff Miner testified against legislation that would amend Indiana’s Constitution to deny gay couples equal protection under the law.

A Potluck is planned for 3 April at New Light MCC (Hagerstown, Maryland) to welcome Rev. Michael Hydes home after his three-month sabbatical.

MCC clergy intern Mary Cantrell is the interim at MCC Wichita Falls (Texas).

Ray Boltz will be live in concert at MCC Richmond (Virginia) on 9 April at 7 pm. He is the recipient of three Dove Awards, has sold over 4.5 million records, and performed in every US state, as well as in Bangladesh, Botswana, Cambodia, Canada, India, Mexico, Nepal, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Tickets are $20 (USD) in advance or $25 at the door. Admission includes a Post Concert Reception, autographs, and refreshments.

Heather Bambrick, Julie Michelsm and Diane Leah presented the “Leading Ladies Concert” last Saturday night at MCC Toronto (Ontario).

An oral history interview with Rev. Elder Darlene Garner has been added to the LGBT-Religious Archives Network as part of a series of interviews with Black LGBT religious leaders.

Deepest sympathy is expressed to Rev. Bruce Barton. His partner, Bruce Harmon, a longtime lay leader and denominational volunteer, had a massive heart attack and went home to Heaven on the morning of the 17th

Jane Syftestad will be in concert at Exodus MCC (Abilene, Texas) on 2 April.

Rev. Tommy Hutson has resigned his position as Associate Pastor of Congregational Care at MCC Charleston (South Carolina), but will stay an active member of the congregation.

Sue Piva of All God’s Children MCC (Minneapolis, Minnesota) was presented with the J. Irwin Miller Award of Excellence, the highest national honor that can be bestowed on a Cummins employee.

Rev. Renwick Bell was on an interfaith panel to discuss Perspectives on Social Justice and Action.

Rev. Kieren Bourne was invited to preach at the Bath Abbey (Bath, England).

Rev. Wes Mullins recently partnered with Colorado Springs faith leaders, including Rev. Elder Nori Rost, in a rally to show support for the Civil Unions Bill now being considered in the Colorado Senate.  The bill is supported by over 130 faith leaders and over 30 organizations, including all the MCC churches and pastors in Colorado.

Rev. Patrick Rogers has joined the staff of Holy Cross MCC (Pensacola, Florida) as Minister of Congregational Life and Outreach. The installation festivities will be 16-17 April.

IMMIGRATION ASSISTANCE

MCC Manchester (England) has been intimately involved in helping five members of their congregation receive legal status in the UK over the last several years.  Most recently Masoud has had his application for British citizenship approved.  When Masoud first arrived in MCC he was a “failed asylum seeker” with no legal right to live or work in the UK.  Through the work of the Immigration Aid Unit he made a new application for asylum, improved his education, and worked very hard in a range of jobs.  His papers allowing him indefinite leave to remain in the UK came through 18 months ago and now he is becoming a citizen with plans to attend university in September to study for a Master’s degree.

Currently the church is working with Nasrin from Iran. When she was 21, she came under pressure from her family to marry despite her wish to pursue a career.  However she had no choice – women do not have many options in Iran.  Her husband beat her every day and raped her many times. Nasrin was not allowed to work, to leave the house alone, or to have any contact with her family and friends. When her son Mojtaba was born, her husband was violent to him as well. The police would not allow her to file a complaint without her husband being present. Domestic violence is not illegal, and it’s almost impossible for a woman to obtain a divorce. Her family was unable to help. Finally, she and her son come to visit her sister in the UK. She claimed, but was refused, asylum. With help her appeal was finally successful.

Throughout Lent, MCC Manchester congregants are filling Smartie (a candy) tubes to raise money for the Immigration Aid Unit who have helped save the lives of five in their congregation.

What is your church doing to make a difference in people’s lives? Send your story .

NETWORK NEWS

The first MCC of the Heartlands Network Gathering will be 1-3 April at MCC of Greater St. Louis (Missouri). Churches from Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and Indianapolis will all come together for fun, fellowship, food, workshops, and worship. The weekend begins on Friday with a “Meet & Greet” and continues through Sunday morning with a magnificent spirit-filled worship service featuring Bishop Yvette Flunder. Ray Boltz will be in concert on Saturday night. Workshop presenters for the weekend are Rev. Elder Lillie Brock, Rev. Paul Eknes-Tucker, Rev. Tom Emmett III, Rev. Tania Guzman, Rev. Melissa Smithee, Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, and Rev. Dr. Carol Trissell Thompson. Registration is $25 USD. Register Now. For more information, please call 1-785-608-6868.

ACTIVE CHURCHES 

MCC Quezon City (Philippines) has had excellent news coverage recently. Click here to read the first article, and click here to read the second one.

The next RelationShift Dinner for folks at MCC of the Rockies (Denver, Colorado) will be 9 April. It is an opportunity for people to be with their church family outside of worship services in a relaxed setting.

MCC Brightwaves (Brighton Beach, England) has just begun the Creating a Life that Matters course.

MCC Tampa (Florida) is sponsoring a team in the Relay for Life of Seminole Heights on 1-2 April.

MCC of the Lehigh Valley will host a gathering for workers on 11 April at 7 pm. Building a Better Work Life will feature ten minute teachings on “Work-Life Integrity”, “Being a Joy to Your Employer”, “Kindness at the Workplace”, and “Developing a Long-Term View of Work”.

MCC Las Vegas (Nevada) selects another MCC and pastor to pray for each month.

Jesus MCC (Indianapolis, Indiana) voted to change their name to LifeJourney Church and adopted a 25 year strategic plan.

MCC Key West (Florida) just received a $25,000 (USD) matching grant for Ms. Kitty’s Pantry, their premier food ministry service, and is busy finding donors to help match the funding.

Journey MCC (Birmingham, England) has instituted the church’s newest ministry, Vegged OUT, a community café that offers a delicious vegetarian menu.

There’s a new paper recycling bin at Joy MCC (Orlando, Florida). Not only are they keeping all kinds of paper out of landfills, they are also being paid for their used newspapers, cardboard, office paper, etc.

Church Hops?  Resurrection Beach MCC (Costa Mesa, California) meets at 7 pm on Sunday evenings, but many of their members are free on Sunday mornings, so they “Church Hop” once a month to visit other MCCs or gay-friendly congregations.

MCC North London (England) just begantheir second CLM course and anointed three new Lay Deacons to assist with ministry.

Vision of Hope MCC (Mountville, Reading, and York, Pennsylvania) will begin a Book Study in York on 14 April. The coordinator will be Johnna Faber, their intern from Lancaster Seminary.

In the US, everyone knows about March Madness (college basketball tournaments). And if you are a women’s fan, you know about the Lady Vols! Well, Poised for Greatness (a team raising funds to pay off the mortgage early) at MCC Knoxville (Tennessee) is accepting pledges from their congregation for every bracket to which the University of Tennessee team advances!

MCC Corpus Christi (Texas) will begin a 12 week study on 3 April. The One Anothering Class will focus on building strong relationships and caring for each other in the church community.

SunCoast Cathedral MCC (Venice, Florida) raised $429.61 (USD) to donate to CRAVE MCC in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the devastating earthquake there.

MCC Bournemouth (England) is having major renovation work done to their historic building.

Over the weekend MCC of the Palm Beaches (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) participated in Pridefest by marching together in the parade and sponsoring an information booth at the festival.

Open Door MCC (Boyds, Maryland) is now making Hygiene supply kits for the people of Japan, as well as for the homeless in their part of the world. Kits include soap, towel, nail clippers, band aids, toothbrush and paste, and comb in a zip lock bag.

Agape MCC (Ft. Worth, Texas) just completed the study, “Discover Your Inner Goddess”.

King of Peace MCC (St. Petersburg, Florida) is hosting an 8 day western Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Miracle 17-25 October. Cabins begin at $754 (USD) per person and include a round trip bus ride from St. Pete to Ft. Lauderdale for embarkation. Call Ron Oconnor at 727-367-3730.

Beginning this week Reconciliation MCC (Grand Rapids, Michigan) will have groups in two different areas doing a weekly study on Max Lucado’s A Gentle Thunder: Hearing god Through a Storm.

MCC NOVA (Fairfax, Virginia) will begin their Bingo fundraisers again on 9 April.

Spring, Spaghetti, and Song is the theme for an event at Open Circle at The Villages MCC (Oxford, Florida) on 9 April. There will be a sassiest sauce contest and entertainment by various musicians.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau in New Orleans, Louisiana, asked for two men from the Big Easy MCC to participate in a video about the city in order to show the diversity that is part of New Orleans.

MCC San Diego (California) will participate in the Uptown Faith Community Service Center’s clothing drive on 10 April, collecting gently used items for people who are homeless.

During Baylor University’s Justice Week, Central Texas MCC (Waco, Texas) had a booth to share information about their church and its HIV and transgender ministries.

MCC Charleston (South Carolina) just began a small group, “Making Peace with Your Past”.

MCC Fredricksburg (Virginia) collected 71 pairs of shoes, which they donated to a church in Alexandria whose ministry is to people who are unemployed, disabled, or homeless.

“Listening to God: A Guide to Spiritual Discernment” is the newest class being offered at New Life MCC of Hampton Roads (Virginia).

MCC of the Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa) presented the winner of their Chili Cook-off with $100 (USD) last Sunday. They also had a silent and live auction and a show during the event.

Spirit of Life MCC (New Port Richey, Florida) will have a Spring Picnic and BBQ on 2 April with games, praise music, and , of course, great food!

Holy Covenant MCC (Brookfield, Illinois) is looking for “hopping” volunteers for their annual Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on 16 April, which brings in many neighborhood children and families.
March 2011 – Volume II
 

People of African Descent, Friends & Allies Conference

Loving Ourselves Into Liberation

The MCC Conference for People of African Descent – Our Friends and Allies will be at the Fairmont Hotel,  Washington, DC – May 19-21, 2011 Click here to register today!

Join the MCC PAD Conference at the 2011 HRC Clergy Call for Justice and Equality

May 22-24, 2011

Washington, DC

RSVP now:

HRC.org/ClergyCall

 

Join The State of MCC Webinar on March 31st

 

Dear Members and Friends of MCC,

 

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson and the Governing Board of MCC would like to invite you to join them on March 31st for a webinar presentation on the State of MCC.  The Governing Board is anxious to share with the members and friends of MCC what has been happening in the months since General Conference.  These have been busy times, and we would like to ensure that we are communicating with each of you directly regarding many interesting and exciting activities.

Since the use of webinars is new to MCC, if this method of sharing is useful and successful, we will consider adding further webinar’s.  They will serve as a means for the Governing Board to present and receive information.  To that end, we hope you will join us in support of this new method of information sharing.

 

On this webinar the following will be presented:

  • Report out from the most recent Governing Board Meeting
  • Information on current denominational programs and initiatives
  • Update on the current financial status of our denomination

This webinar will be offered twice on Thursday, 31 March:

1. Noon – 1:30 PM/ET (5:00 – 6:30PM GMT)

 

2. 7:00 – 8:30 PM/ET (1 April, 12:00 – 1:30AM GMT)

 

You can access the webinar in two methods:

1. To listen to the presentation only by phone call:

a. Dial-in Number: 1.218.936.4141

b. Enter Participant Code: 778024

 

2. To listen and view the power point presentation, please use the following information. With our online meeting software, you have the option to listen to the conversation and view the meeting presentation without having to dial in to a conference phone line. Please be sure that you have speakers connected to your computer or that you are using headphones to listen in and check to be sure that the volume on your computer is turned up. To join the meeting, click on the link below or copy and paste the link into the address bar of your web browser. Additionally, please do not use the link prior to the scheduled webinar, as it will not appear to be a valid webpage.

 

Click here to connect and choose the option to enter as a Guest, then enter your full name and your email address in the “Type your name” field. This will allow the meeting presenters to identify you should you have any questions or comments during the meeting. Please enter the information in the following format:

Firstname Lastname, EmailAddress (Bob Sample, )

 

Presenters will be:

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Presiding Elder/Moderator of MCC

 

Rev. Tony Freeman, Vice-Chairperson of the MCC Governing Board

 

Ms. Liz Bisordi, MCC Governing Board Treasurer

 

Ms. Barbara Crabtree, Director of Operations

 

Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, Governing Board Member & Webinar Facilitator

 

Please Note: The webinar will be in presentation mode. All lines will be muted. The presentation will be recorded  and uploaded at a later time to the MCC website. If you have questions during the webinar, please send an email .

Look forward you to joining us!

 

Peace and blessing in this season of Lent on our way to Easter joy!

 

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson

Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin

 

One Day Without Shoes!
Join over 250,000 people around the world on 5 April 2011. Make a statement. Raise awareness.
Learn more here.

 

DAY of SILENCE
This is marketed as a National event for the US, but it can be observed anywhere. What are YOU going to do to end the silence?
Join MCC, GLSEN and hundreds of thousands of students as we take a vow of silence on 15 April 2011 to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harrassment.
More details can be found here and here.

 

 

MCC Announces Upcoming Young Adult Retreat!

Led by young adults, this Young Adult Retreat will be an experience of meeting and connecting with your peers, having spirited discussions, and working on strategies for empowering our young adults in their home churches and in MCC’s around the world. The retreat will take place July 27-July 30th in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The event will being at 7:00pm on the 27th and will end at noon on the 30th. This retreat is intended for only those 18-35 years in age.

We will spend time identifying who we are as a young adult group, working to serve others through a service project, discussing the future of MCC with MCC leadership and taking time for Spiritual Connection. We will also focus on coming out of the retreat with a clear vision of what we, the young adults of MCC, see as our future.

The host church for the retreat is Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Sunshine Cathedral has graciously agreed to host our retreat in July and will provide lunch and dinner for retreat attendees on the Friday and Saturday of the retreat.

 

The host hotel is the Hyatt Place Ft. Lauderdale Airport North, 1851 SE 10th Ave, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The group rate is $69 (+tax) per night for double occupancy. The hotel does feature complimentary internet and complimentary continental breakfast. In addition, the hotel has a complimentary airport shuttle that runs from 5:00am-12:00am (midnight.) To make a reservation call 954-763-7670 and mention our group name MCC Young Adult Summit, or click here to select dates of stay and enter group code G-MCCY to receive our discounted rate.

 

To keep costs low and make this retreat as accessible as possible we have set the registration rate at $50 per person. To register please CLICK HERE.

 

If you have any questions or need more information, email .

 

 

Reflect, Renew, Refresh!

Diana Butler Bass

OFLD Clergy Retreat with Diana Butler Bass

September 12-14, 2011

Duncan Retreat Center, Delray Beach, FL

 

Cost of the retreat is $275 US which includes 2 nights lodging (double occupancy with a private bath and wireless internet) and six meals. The $275 rate is good until May 5, 2011. After May 5, through July 5, cost for the retreat will be $325. Absolute deadline for all registrations is July 5, 2011.  Click here to register.

 

Thanks to a generous donation from MCC Austin, the OFLD will be able to offer a limited number of scholarships to help with the cost of registration for the retreat.  Please contact Rev. Dr. Mona West () to inquire about scholarship applications.

 

For more information on Diana Butler Bass and to view a video of one of her presentations, go to

dianabutlerbass.com. To find out more about the Duncan Retreat Center, go to duncancenter.org.

 

Correction from the March 8th Edition of the MCC Impact
MCC of the Chesapeake (Annapolis, Maryland) did vote to disaffiliate, as reported in the last issue of the MCC IMPACT. However, they report: “We are remaining a community steeped in the radical inclusiveness of Jesus. We opted to call ourselves a ‘Spiritual Community’ rather than a ‘Church’ in order to be more welcoming to those who deem themselves ‘spiritual, but not religious’ as well as to those who had rejected, or were rejected by, a previous church. Regarding our status as Christian, neither our mission, our vision, nor our core values have changed one iota.”