The MCC Council of Elders Report – June 2020

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2020 Council of Elders

Recognizing their terms on the Council of Elders will expire on December 31, 2020, the members of the Council of Elders (COE) want to provide an update on their current work, as well as inform the larger denomination about the projects they will be engaging in for the next 6 months. If you have any comments, advice or other helpful ideas, please let us know. [email protected]

– Resuming the Council of Elders Weekly Call to Prayer –

After a hiatus following Epiphany, the Council of Elders has resumed the COE Weekly Call to Prayer. Each month an Elder recruits authors for the weekly prayer, which volunteers translate into English, German, Portuguese and Spanish. Many congregations connect with the COE through the weekly prayers, for example, publishing the prayer in their church weekly e-newsletter and worship bulletin.

– Issuing public statements on justice issues –

The Elders will continue to issue public statements on important social justice issues. Some of the past statements have dealt with gun violence, increasing acts of violence against persons of Asian descent, and MCC as a Sanctuary denomination. Future statements will be issued concerning current events and international days of recognition. These statements and other COE related activity will be shared on social media, including the COE Facebook Group. We invite you to join the COE Facebook Group. MCC Council of Elders Facebook Group

– Revising the Clergy Manual –

The COE will be reviewing the Clergy Manual, aligning it with the current practices in the denomination, and at the same time, being mindful of the future trends in ordained ministry.

– Amending the UFMCC Bylaws on Affiliated Churches –

The COE recognizes the Bylaws dealing with affiliated churches are in need of updating, making them more sensitive to new realities, particularly when dealing with the virtual world we inhabit.

– Reviewing the judiciary process –

In line with updating the clergy manual and revising the Bylaws on affiliated churches, the COE will be reviewing the judiciary process with an eye toward improving this important process.

– Exploring flexibility for authorized pastoral leadership –

The COE recognizes pastoral leadership is changing, with ordained pastors becoming bi-vocational and lay pastors filling long-term vacancies in churches that have not been successful in recruiting ordained clergy as pastors. Given this new reality, the COE is exploring a way forward to authorize pastoral leadership that meets the current needs of our congregations.

– Working with the Commission on the Pathway of Healing and Reconciliation –

The 2019 General Conference referred the following motion to the Governing Board:
“Commission on the Pathway of Healing and Reconciliation” submitted by the Governing Board –for the incoming Moderator and Governing Board to create a Commission to continue a pathway of healing and reconciliation in order to shine a light on elements that have fractured MCC relationships since General Conference 2016 and continues. The commission composition will include representatives from Governing Board, Council of Elders, Strategic Leadership Team, Intentional Transition Team, Laity, MCC churches, and outside consultants, to name a few.”

The COE will be available for spiritual support of the persons appointed to the Commission. In addition, the COE is in the process of reviewing all the work products, reports and recommendations from the PAD (People of African Descent) Conferences, The Taskforce on Race and Gender, Recommendations on Diversity and Inclusion to the MCC Leadership (2014), the PAD (People of African Descent) Summary Report on Activities and Accomplishments (2017) and other documents. The purpose of this review is to identify recommendations to the COE concerning issues of race, gender, etc., so that the COE can actively pursue these recommendations.

– Retirement of Rev. Elder Mona West –

It was with sadness and deep appreciation that we received the decision of Rev. Elder Mona West to retire as an active MCC clergyperson and step down from the Council of Elders. A separate notification went out to the denomination about this. We will miss her wit and wisdom.

– “Spiritual Nourishment” –

In addition to these listed activities, during the current COVID-19 crisis, the Elders are sponsoring a bi-weekly live broadcast “Spiritual Nourishment”, which examines various spiritual practices.

The Elders remain available to their Point Elder congregations, pastors and clergy, for spiritual support and pastoral care.

The members of the Council of Elders have been honored to serve Metropolitan Community Churches as the denomination’s spiritual body. The Elders look forward to an inspiring and grace-filled six months as they continue their service to the Metropolitan Community Churches.

In Christ,
Rev. Elder Ines-Paul Baumann
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner
Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston
Rev. Elder Tony Freeman
Rev Elder Héctor Gutiérrez
Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson
Elder Nancy Maxwell
Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León