MCC Impact – March 2011

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Metropolitan Community Churches

Tearing Down Walls.  Building Up Hope.

MCC Impact

UP (Unashamed Praise) RELEASED

“UP” is a brand new compilation CD of LGBT Christian artists and their music created by Shawn Thomas. It features 14 singer/songwriters, groups, and duos with a wide variety of music styles from praise and worship, to jazz, to dance, to gospel, to folk and rock.

Eight of the artists/groups are MCCers. They are Affinity Praise, Rev. Delores Berry, Susie Brenner, Jeremiah Cummings, Justin Ryan, Marsha Stevens-Pino, Shawn Thomas, and Shelly Torres-West.

You can learn more or order a copy at www.unashamedonline.com, which includes links to all 14 artists and their websites!  Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqIBkgQ-3f8, too!

BUSY CHURCHES

Cornerstone MCC (Mobile, Alabama) is developing a Theology of Hospitality: “From the parking lot to the pew and beyond”.

MCC Windsor (Ontario) is instituting their first ever Youth/Teen Ministry. Additionally, they have just begun a new study group, The Bible in a Year.

Hand and Foot. No, these aren’t body parts. It’s the name of a popular card game. MCC Key West (Florida) hosts a Hand and Foot tournament each month as a fundraiser for the church. Last month they cleared $600 (USD).

TransHOPE, the transgender ministry group at Vision of Hope MCC (Mountville, Reading, and York, Pennsylvania) was invited to lead the worship service at the Third Annual Keystone Conference:  A Celebration of Gender Diversity!  The five day conference is hosted each year by TransCentral PA. The theme for the service was “TRANS/forming Our Praise:  A Time of Spiritual Enrichment and Truth-Tellin'”.

At St. John’s MCC (Raleigh, North Carolina) they are finishing a three month study of all of the faith traditions represented in their congregation.  They studied and discussed each one during their Topics at Ten on Sunday mornings and then participated in progressive dinner groups to get to know one another better.

MCC Manchester (England) has begun a parish extension in Dublin, Ireland! Deacon Stan Dolan, who holds two degrees (theology and pastoral care/chaplaincy) and is working toward credentialing in MCC, is leading the group. They chose the name Branching Out and meet every other week for now. https://sites.google.com/site/branchingoutcc/

Geocaching???  Yes, on Saturday MCC Tampa (Florida) had a cookout, yard games, and a geocache, a treasure hunt with a GPS.  Teams were given the coordinates for various treasurers hidden throughout the park. There were even surprises for the kids at each cache.

MCC of the Chesapeake (Annapolis, Maryland) voted 15-0 to disaffiliate and become a spiritual community, rather than a Christian church.

“LGBT Parenting: ‘Out’ Parenting in a Straight World” will be offered at MCC Austin (Texas) on 19 March 10:00 – 1:00 with lunch and childcare provided.

The folks at Jesus MCC have been challenged to raise their weekly giving by $1700 (USD) because membership and giving have remained flat for several years. When they accomplish their goal, they will hire Vivian Wyatt, their former clergy intern who is about to complete her M.Div.

“The Vagina Monologues” will be presented at MCC/ICM Los Angeles (California) on 19 March at 7:00 to benefit the Susan Horn Surgery Fund.

MCC of the Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Pennsylvania) is having a Green Potluck and Beat the Winter Blues Game Night next Saturday. There will be green potatoes, green bread, and green cake, for sure!

Planning ahead! MCC in the Valley (North Hollywood, California) is planning an MCC Day at Disneyland on 21 May. If you are going to be in the area, join MCCers from Southern California for a fun-filled day! Please RSVP to MCCV so that they can secure discounted tickets.

MCC Toronto (Ontario) has instituted yet one more way of being inclusive. At one station for Communion they are offering gluten free wafers.

Last week Open Circle at The Villages MCC (Oxford, Florida) began their new fitness group. They are focusing on being healthy from the inside out and will focus on the word of God, explore attitudes and behaviors that have developed over time, and investigate ways to improve their overall health.

“Gender Identity and the Faith Community” is the series this month at Agape MCC (Ft. Worth, Texas).

Children’s Sunday School Classes are held for children age 5 through 5th grade twice a month at Joy MCC (Orlando, Florida). They use a multimedia approach which blends Scripture lessons with dramatic videos, hands-on activities, discussions, music videos, songs, and games.

A group from MCC of the Rockies (Denver, Colorado) led by Todd Hartman and Jerry Austin hold a devotional time every Thursday evening at the Spearly Center for individuals who are neurologically challenged. They have prayer, a brief message, and sing with the patients.

Unique Fundraiser! At MCC Topeka (Kansas) a church member is offering to do tax returns for other people with the cost being donated to the church.

Another One! Munchin’ 4 Music & Ministry is the newest fundraiser at MCC Winston-Salem (North Carolina). Congregants volunteer to host a dinner party in their homes and ask their guests for donations for the church’s audio/video worship needs.

King of Peace MCC (St. Petersburg, Florida) held their Flapjacks and Flea Market last Saturday.

MCC Newcastle (England) is moving into the main church for their worship services. To get ready they are going to have an Embrace the Space event in the sanctuary to see how they can transform it into their own for their Sunday evening services. Later on they will have an Art and God session to create banners for their services.

Exodus MCC (Abilene, Texas) will have a congregational picnic on the 27th.

Earlier this month Laszlo Papp and the Fort Lauderdale String Quartet, as well as the Dueling Divas performed at Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida). Vickie Shaw will be there Saturday night and Matt Abler on 2 April.

“Holding on when We Need to Let Go: A Spiritual Study on the Practice of Forgiveness” is being facilitated by Jude Litzenberger this month at MCC San Diego (California).

Pride already? Yes. At Gentle Shepherd MCC (Phoenix, Arizona) their Pride committee is already meeting to design their float and plan other activities for the 16-17 April event.

Children’s Sunday School for those 5-12 began yesterday at MCC Charleston (South Carolina). Their first project will be developing a drama for Easter.

At the Bingo Night at All God’s Children MCC (Minneapolis, Minnesota) next Saturday, everyone wearing green will be given a prize in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

aChurch4Me? MCC will begin two new groups this week. “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” will focus on breaking the bonds of the past and exploring ways to stop doing and begin being. “Crazy Love: Exploring the Relentless Love of God” will focus on that love which calls people to radically address the problems of their community, city, and the world.

On the 27th Marshall Grant Ministries will kick of the weeklong festivities leading up to the Building Dedication at FirstCoast MCC (St. Augustine. Florida). Congregants are gathering items from their first 13 years to place in a time capsule to be opened in 2026, 13 years from now.

JAMAICA

We are all aware of the bitter homophobia in Jamaica where gay men have been slaughtered. It has been overshadowed in recent news by the equally virulent homophobia in Uganda, but it is still happening in Jamaica and other places, too.

The Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals, and Gays (JFLAG) is petitioning their Parliament to include protection for LGBT people in their national Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

JFLAG, Sunshine Cathedral MCC Jamaica, and others in the community there need our support, as well as our prayers. Click hereto sign their petition to include sexual orientation based anti-discrimination in the Charter.

OUR PEOPLE

For the past five years Rev. Karl Hand, pastor of CRAVE MCC (Sydney, Australia), has been involved in a campaign for Marriage Equality. Thousands attend their rallies each quarter, which are increasing in intensity as the Australian Labor Party will meet in December to reconsider its stance on same-sex marriage. He will be speaking at the next rally which is on Saturday.  https://www.caah.org.au/events#rally

Rev. Andy Braunston was honored with an invitation to be a guest preacher at Trinity College Chapel in Dublin, Ireland (the equivalent of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, or Yale). It was part of a series called Seeing Salvation looking at different pieces of art.  He spoke of Salvador Dali’s Christ of St. John of the Cross, which has a dual perspective. The crucifixion is seen from above, as if from God’s perspective, yet the bottom of the picture is seen from a human perspective. https://www.mccmanchester.co.uk/news.htm

The first combined Network Gathering with MCC churches from Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, and Nebraska will be held 1-3 April at MCC of Greater St. Louis (Missouri). Bishop Yvette Flunder of the Fellowship Churches and Rev. Elder Lillie Brock will be the featured guests.

Jerry L. Sagat, the father of Rev. Barbara S. Sagat and father-in-law of Rev. Sharon Stover, passed away unexpectedly the end of last month following a brief illness with cancer.

Rev. Bernie Barbour was just elected with 100% of the vote to be the permanent pastor of MCC Amarillo (Texas), after having served as their interim since August 2008. .

Rev. Kieren Bourne spoke to the LGBT & Friends group at the University of Bath (England) to help them understand the love of God and dispel the untruths that are used to bash them.

Donna Twardowski will be ordained at Church of the Trinity MCC (Sarasota, Florida) on 20 March at 3:00.

Next Sunday Rev. Ray Neal will be the guest speaker at Prime Timers,the gay senior group.  He will share about Emerald City MCC (Seattle, Washington) and show the documentary Call Me Troy.

Rev. Harry Knox and other clergy and human rights activists in Houston, Texas, created a video postcard, which they sent to the US Department of State concerning the rise of deadly homophobia in Uganda. https://www.ResurrectionMCC.org/Uganda

LEARNING AND SHARING DURING LENT

Throughout Lent at Spirit of Hope MCC (Kansas City, Missouri) they are looking at how the process of metamorphosis is similar to stages in their personal lives and the life of their church. The theme is portrayed in the Sunday sermons and then discussed in small group studies on Sunday and Wednesday nights at church, or in various homes throughout the week.

MCC Richmond (Virginia) is offering “Love at Last Sight: 30 Days to Grow and Deepen Your Closest Relationships” during Lent. Participants receive a bracelet and a bookmark.

The Lenten Journey Walk at MCC Knoxville (Tennessee) will be done in small groups studying The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach Us about Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. The groups are meeting in various parts of the area on different days.

One of the special opportunities during Lent at MCC of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, California) will be a screening of the film Jihad for Love, a documentary of LGBT folks in Isalm, with a discussion led by Dr. Matthew Simonds.

At Resurrection MCC (Houston, Texas) they have several ongoing studies, including “Bullet Proof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide to LGBTQ Christians”, “Following Jesus: Discipleship 101”, and their Lenten Connection Groups are using Robert Holden’s book, Happiness NOW!, to embark on a spiritual exploration towards sacrificing self-doubt, feelings of unworthiness, fear, and shame.

MCC Omaha (Nebraska) is offering a study and prayer group on Thursday mornings entitled “Who Do You Say that I Am?” and another on Sunday afternoons “Overcoming Obstacles to Living an Abundant Life”.

Eight groups in various areas served by MCC Portland (Oregon) will share “Cries of the Spirit: A Season with the Psalms” as they look at the full range of emotions expressed in the psalms.

Ashes to Fire is the theme for Lent and Eastertide at MCC Albuquerque (New Mexico). From the ashes of Ash Wednesday to the flames of Pentecost, they will experience interactive prayer stations, new contemporary music, and much more as they follow in the footsteps of Jesus, longing for a closer relationship with Christ and coming to know the power of God’s love burning in their hearts.

“40 Days of Great Expectations” is the theme at First MCC of Atlanta (Georgia). The six Sundays of Lent will be a spiritual journey of personal growth and understanding as they focus on their expectations of God and God’s expectations of them.

“Jesus’ Blueprint for Prayer” is the topic for the Lenten living room series at SunCoast Cathedral MCC (Venice, Florida) this year.  They will have two groups meeting in Sarasota, one in North Port, and one in Venice.

MCC New York (New York) is offering two different groups during Lent. One is a Prayer Meeting focusing on the transformation that happens when we pray. “What’s God Got to Do with It?” will use short stories, video clips, and spiritual exercises to look at the fundamental human yearnings of hope, meaning, freedom, and fullness of life.

As their Lenten series, MCC Fredricksburg (Virginia) is using “Holy Conversations”, which was developed by the MCC Theologies Team. Click here to learn more.

At MCC San Francisco (California) the home-based groups are using a fun discussion guide based on the delightful movie Chocolat. They’ll use clips from this insightful film as a springboard for sharing, passages from the sacred texts of scripture, poetry, and –most importantly– life experience, to explore spirituality.

UPDATE FROM REV. DELORES BERRY

Hi, Wonders of God!

While I was in the hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, for pneumonia, it was discovered that my resistance was very low and they gave me two antibiotics for an injury to my foot.  The medicine increased my potassium to an overdose level, which made us think it was my heart again.

All this is well on the way to being healed and I have resumed my full travel schedule in MCC.

Thank you for your prayers … they work every time!

~ Rev. Delores and Judy

STUDY ON GAY FATHERS

Romi Mann, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California, has requested assistance from MCCers who are gay fathers. His dissertation explores how becoming an openly gay father impacts the relationships of gay men with their own parents.

The anonymous online survey is for gay men who became fathers after coming out. It takes 20-30 minutes to complete.  https://sgiz.mobi/s3/Gay-Dads-Survey You may contact him directly for additional information.

March 2011 – Volume I
People of African Descent, Friends & Allies Conference

Loving Ourselves Into Liberation

The MCC Conference for People of African Descent – Our Friends, and Allies 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:  www.hrc.org/ClergyCall

Moderator of MCC Issues A Call to Prayer Regarding the Earthquake in Japan

“We pray for all people in the aftermath of the earthquake and in the paths of the waves, for our MCCer’s in the Philippines, in Hawaii, and on the coast of the western hemisphere”

 

Click here to read the entire article.

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 for 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, 2011 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

https://www.dianabutlerbass.com/. To find out more about the Duncan Retreat Center go to www.duncancenter.org.

 

Click Here to Register Today!