MCC Around The Fellowship Newsletter

The MCC newsletter reporting from MCC congregations all over the globe.

 In this Issue:

Spotlight on MCC

The Rev. Catherine Houchins, pastor of MCC of the Blue Ridge (Virginia) was named "Clergy of the Year" by the Mental Health Association of Roanoke Valley. The church added 44 new members last year and had an average attendance of 164.

Rev. Vicky Kolakowski has accepted appointment as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with the California Department of Insurance. A member of MCC San Jose (California), she is the first member of the U.S. transgender community to hold such a position.

After a long effort, the Uruguayan Government granted official recognition to Diaconía en la Diversidad ICM (Montevideo, Uruguay), which allows them to hold worship services. The arduous process was managed by attorney Renato Cánepa and Deacon Andrés Gerona. Rev. Araceli Ezzatti is the pastor.


Rev. Phyllis Hunt, senior pastor of MCC Tampa (Florida), was honored as "Citizen of the Year" by the Tampa Bay Business Guild. It was bestowed jointly upon her and Lorraine Langlois of Metropolitan Charities, a local HIV/AIDS social services agency. Both groups provide similar services to the Tampa community; rather than compete, they worked together to create the Metro Diversity Center.

Region 1 has revamped their Ministry Liaison Team. Rev. Rodney Staples will serve the US States of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. Rev. Robert Clark will work with the churches in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Rev. John Fowler will minister to all retired clergy and clergy on leave. Rev. Elder Debbie Martin will provide ministry liaison to California churches.

"Holocaust and Peace" was the theme of a service at Living Springs MCC (Bath, England). Rev. Kieren Bourne identified conflict and horror experienced by heroes of the past as a reminder that vigilance in every age ensures that good is not pushed aside by evil.

Wes Wesley, of MCC Boston (Massachusetts), is starring in "The Full Monty" at the Turtle Line Theater in Auburndale this month.

Twenty-five years ago John Boswell broke new ground with the publication of Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century, marking a milestone in gay religious scholarship. A recent conference observed this anniversary; MCC's Rev. Chris Glaser and Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski were presenters, along with Mark D. Jordan, Ralph Hexter, Mary Hunt, and Bill Countryman.

This month Rev. Mark Pridmore, pastor of Eternal Joy MCC (Dayton, Ohio) will address the staff of Good Samaritan Hospital on the vital role spirituality plays in the wholeness and healing of LBGT persons.

MCC expresses its deepest sympathy to Rev. Connie Mangin, associate pastor at Exodus MCC (Abilene, Texas). Her grandchild Bennett Mangin passed away last month.

Rev. Candy Holmes of Christ the Liberator MCC (North Brunswick, New Jersey), Rev. Kathi Martin of First MCC (Atlanta, Georgia), and Rev. Elder Darlene Garner represented MCC at the US National Black Justice Coalition Conference, where they gave participants an exciting view of MCC for African-Americans. Thanks to their networking, representatives of NBJC, Chicago Theological Seminary, and other community voices will be present for the MCC People of African Descent Conference next month.

MCC Sydney (Australia) hosted their annual Blessing of Mardi Gras Service, attended by more than 150 people. Two church members, a well-known Drag Queen and "Mr. Manacle - Sydney Leather Pride," provided music.

Rev. Birte Beuck of New Spirit Community Church (Berkeley, California) is the new Chair of the GLBT Network of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) in the US. They focus on educating about issues that are relevant to GLBT students enrolled in Clinical Pastoral Education. Rev. Beuck hosted a Forum for GLBTQ Chaplains and CPE Chaplain Interns to explore how their queerness impacts patient care and within health-care institutions. Rev. Tessie Mandeville of MCC San Francisco (California) was one of the plenary speakers and Rev. Elisabeth Middelberg of MCC of The Redwood Empire (Guerneville, California) participated.

Judy Dale is one of three Kentucky representatives on the (US) National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Capacity Building Project.

Aidan Grennell was featured on MTV's LOGO network on "Real Momentum: Raising Parents." She is the daughter of Jane Nelson and Janet Grennell. The family is active at MCC Richmond (Virginia). Aidan participates in the Gay Straight Alliance locally, serves with the Gay Straight Educators' Network, and has testified for LGBT civil rights before Senate committees in Virginia's state legislature. The documentary has been shown on both LOGO and MTV.

Region 3 is surveying churches to identify each primary resource needs, and then will explore creative ways to meet those needs. The survey will also identify strengths and talents that can be shared in forums and workshops. Cathy Alexander is chairing the Region 3 Resource Team.

Erin Hamilton leads the LifeLine Support Group at Jesus MCC (Indianapolis, Indiana). The group provides a confidential, supportive environment, with peer support and professional facilitation to work through life issues such as relationships, families of origin, grief and loss, jobs, coming out struggles, depression, and trauma.

Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski was officially installed as the Regional Elder for MCC Region 2 during a service at First MCC (Atlanta, Georgia) during the Men in Ministry Conference.

Rev Kerri Mesner, pastor of MCC Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) represented MCC at a seminar organized by the Scottish Executive to liaise with the LGBT Community. The Communities Minister, Malcolm Chisholm MSP, and senior civil servants discussed equality issues with LGBT community representatives.

FirstCoast MCC (St. Augustine, Florida) has launched Church Builders to raise US$45,000 in 14 weeks to pay off the mortgage on their land. They have already paid US$55,000.

Rev. Edwin Yates, pastor of A New Life MCC (Toledo, Ohio) has been named Chair of Toledo’s Gays & Lesbians United.

Josie Byzek, managing editor of New Mobility Magazine, is active on the US National Organization for Women’s Disability Committee and with the advocacy group Lancaster Disabled for Change and Justice. She is a member of MCC of the Spirit (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania).

Rev. Jane Carl celebrates her 27th Anniversary of Ministry this month.

The new steeple at MCC in the Valley (North Hollywood, California) was formally dedicated last November during their 33rd anniversary. The steeple was donated by longtime member Ray Therriault in memory of his beloved life-partner Charles Tarrance ("Uncle Chuck") and The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Pulling, MCCV Pastor 1997-2003.

Rev. Jim Mulchay has installed six Deacons at Open Arms MCC (Rochester, New York): Renee Eberling, Gene Ver, Paul Johnstone, Bonnie DeJonge, Linda Shields, and Terry Keister.
 
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Justice and Social Action

First MCC (Wichita, Kansas) hosted the Overflow Shelter for the homeless for two weeks. Seventy-five people slept in the Fellowship Hall each evening and 184 volunteers served 1853 meals.

On the first Sunday of each month Living Springs MCC (Bath, England) collects a Community Tithe for local needs. Last month their offering went to the Breakaway Worcester Club, providing support for people with disabilities. Rev. Kieren Bourne is pastor.

Proyecto Nuevos Amigos is an outreach to the people of Los Amates (Guerrero, Mexico) by New Life MCC (Charlotte, North Carolina). This little village has only one public building, their church, which was severely damaged in a storm. In 2004 the congregation of New Life MCC raised money and sent a team of nine persons to reconstruct the church, arrange for electricity, and pay local laborers to re-plaster and repaint the facility. They have continued to support this community and grow in their cultural awareness. Their dedication makes a visible impact in the lives of others by serving their sisters and brothers in Christ. Rev. Dr. Tim Koch is pastor.

As part of their YIMBY Project (Yes, in My Back Yard!), MCC Los Angeles (West Hollywood, California) has instituted a Brown Bag and Blanket Sunday, helping neighbors who are in need of a meal, as well as a way to help keep them warm. Congregants bring peanut butter sandwiches, prepackaged snacks, napkins, brown lunch bags, and blankets, which are distributed to the homeless. Rev. Neil Thomas is senior pastor.

MCC of the Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa) provides dinner once a month to the homeless as part of a city-wide ministry. Rev. Rich Hendricks is pastor.

MCC has joined with Family Pride Coalition to ensure that at least 100 LGBT families participate in the annual US Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn. For more information go to http://www.familypride.org/eggroll.

Rev. Jeff Miner and Deacon Robert Ferguson of Jesus MCC (Indianapolis, Indiana) spoke on "Homosexuality, Civil Rights, and the Church" at an event sponsored by the very conservative Crossroads Bible College.

ICM Los Angeles and MCC Los Angeles (West Hollywood, California) joined with community organizations for a vigil addressing HIV & Crystal Meth issues. The "Act Now in Spirit against Meth" Coalition is collecting signatures for a petition drive to stop crystal meth, which has a high potential for abuse and addiction, and increases the risk for transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other STDs.
 
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Ecumenical and Interfaith News

Rev. Renwick J. Bell and the members of Church of Our Savior MCC (Boynton Beach, Florida) will be the guests of Temple Shaarei Shalom on March 3, for Shabbat service. Before the service Rabbi Fratello will discuss the structure and meaning of the service.

All Saints MCC (Christchurch, New Zealand) joins Durham Street Methodist Church for a monthly Theology Discovery Group to discuss the thoughts of such theologians as Bishop Spong, Marcus Borg, Tom Harpur, Jurgen Moltmann, and others writing in the tradition of Progressive Christianity.

MCC Seattle (Washington) now meets every Sunday at Temple de Hirsch Sinai. Rev. Anne Hulse is interim pastor.

Rev. Rick Sosbe, pastor of MCC Naples (Florida) was featured in an article in the Naples Daily News about his difference with many other ministers because he supports same-sex marriage. He is part of the Coalition of Progressive Religious Voices who are attempting to counterpoint the vocal conservatives, especially as they are pushing for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The MCC delegation was very visible during the recent World Council of Churches Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil, last month. Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson preached at a special LGBT service organized by Rev. Paul Fairley. Over 40 media outlets have requested a copy of her sermon! In addition to the local media, MCC's worship service was covered by reporters and/or photographers from GlobalNet, Reuters, and European Church News, along with freelance writers from the Philippines and the United States.

Every afternoon the MCC delegation led an open meeting with other LGBT Christian leaders and allies to further ecumenical dialogue, provide support, and develop strategies for WCC work.

Rev. Elders Diane Fisher and Darlene Garner led a workshop on MCC's ministry. Over 75 people attended the standing room only session.

Zero Hora, a major Brazilian newspaper, ran only four stories about the WCC Assembly. Two featured MCC and were at the top of the page! The other smaller ones were about Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the President of the Latin American Council of Churches. There were also pictures of our Elders and another of Brazilian MCC Leader Gelson Piber.

Rev. Elder Wilson also led a daily Bible Study group. The WCC assigned delegates to the small groups and Rev. Wilson’s group included the General Secretary of the Church of Norway, the General Secretary of the Church of Sweden, the Anglican Primate of Canada, the head of the United Methodist Church in Ghana, and a Methodist leader from Zimbabwe!

Because MCC holds Official Observer status, Rev. Elder Wilson was one of 65 participants in an ecumenical dialogue on sexuality. Rev. Jim Birkitt shared MCC's work with other on-site journalists and sent news stories around the world to 83 LGBT faith groups, 120 religion writers and editors, 600 LGBT reporters and editors, and key ecumenical partners, as well as to 2600 local MCC leaders and posting on the MCC website. His stories were also carried by World Faith News, the joint news service of the WCC and the US National Council of Churches.

MCC had space in the exhibition hall and distributed MCC materials in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, and some limited information in German.

The members of MCC's delegation to the Ninth Assembly of the World Council of Churches were Rev. Elders Nancy Wilson, Diane Fisher, and Darlene Garner; The Revs. Jim Birkitt, Araceli Ezzatti, and Paul Fairley; Lynn Farrand, Connie Meadows, Gelson Piber, Hilde Scheibe, and Ann Vassilaros, several of whom paid their own way to participate.

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MCC HIV News 

MCC Boston (Massachusetts) has registered their team for the 2006 AIDS Walk, scheduled for June! They raised over US$1800 last year and are already lining up sponsors for this year.

MCC’s compassionate response to HIV is spreading throughout Central America. Alberto Nájera, interim pastoral leader of ICM Paz y Alegría in Managua, Nicaragua, was invited by the Lutheran Church and the Pan American Social Marketing Organization to present a seminary workshop on "HIV and the Church: Response is Our Commitment" in Guatemala.

St. John's MCC (Raleigh, North Carolina) will sponsor a team for the AIDS Walk and Ride to benefit the Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina. For information visit http://aidswalkandride.kintera.org/ – and you'll see a photo of Rev. Belva Boone on the opening page! They hope to recruit 50 members for their team and raise US$5000. Click on "St. John’s MCC" on the right.

Steve Coughlin represented First MCC (Atlanta, Georgia) on MCC's mission to the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Zimbabwe, Africa. MCCers around the world offer love and support to over 160 orphaned children facing the challenges of HIV. Last year First MCC planted the seeds of hope with a gift of US$10,000.00 for HIV care in Africa.

Central Texas MCC from the Heart (Waco, Texas) has begun The Red Door Project. Their Peer Groups meet monthly for persons with HIV and another group for loved ones of people with HIV. A Red Door Pantry provides staples to those needing assistance. The Imperial Court donated the proceeds from their Moulin Poof! performance to the project. Rev. Charley Garrison is pastor.

Mike Albrecht will participate in a five-day, 500 mile bike ride to raise money for Friends Together, an HIV organization. http://www.friendstogether.org/ Mike is a member of Church of the Trinity MCC (Sarasota, Florida).

The Free Lance-Star newspaper surveyed churches in Fredricksburg, Virginia, and found that few have HIV/AIDS ministries. But MCC Fredricksburg did! The church is only two years old, but they have provided food baskets to area families. They are launching support groups for HIV+ persons to discuss spirituality. "You're talking about issues of family, issues of sexuality, issues of relationships, issues of health and support--you're talking about life issues," Rev. Stephanie Burns said. "Clearly the church is absolutely the place dialogue should be happening."

Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, senior pastor of MCC San Francisco (California) and her partner Annlee traveled to Africa with the MCC HIV Delegation and Bishop Yvette Flunder of the United Church of Christ. They visited the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Zimbabwe and the children affected by HIV/AIDS that both churches sponsor. They also visited several MCC churches in South Africa. Ministering with them were Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski and MCC HIV/AIDS Program Specialist Joshua Love.

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Creative Ministry Ideas!   

Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) has organized the Cathedral Business Network. The group provides the opportunity to meet other business and professional persons to strengthen both their businesses and their faith.

MCC Toronto (Ontario, Canada) created the Lesbians and Partners Cancer Support Group, which is now a partnership with Wellspring, a community organization. A group is offered for persons with cancer and another for partners. Jennifer Alexander, former Volunteer Coordinator at MCCT, and Sandra Milliar, Deacon and Assistant to Rev. Jo Bell, are the co-founders. For more information, visit http://mcctoronto.com/resources/resources.htm .

Both the Women’s Monthly Fellowship Potluck and the Men’s Potluck at Agape MCC (Fort Worth, Texas) had Mardi Gras themes last month.

Elton and the Angels was the theme for a fundraiser at MCC Portland (Oregon). It was an evening of Elton John music by Elevation, their worship service band (some dressed as Elton John!) and an "Angels Auction." The auction was a services auction; various "angels" donated their services to be auctioned. Some of the most creative included music lessons, advice on selling items on E-Bay, visiting a cable TV set, and assistance in making an afghan.

Angles of Hope MCC, a bilocational church with facilities in both Green Bay and Appleton, Wisconsin, will host a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Silent Auction.

Yet another auction "Sweet for the Sweet," was a dessert silent auction hosted by First MCC (Atlanta, Georgia).

MCC Sydney (Australia) is reaching out to the Asian community – one initiative is their "Speaking to Nations" project, which has translated resources into Tagalog and Bahasa.

There is a monthly Drum Circle at Imago Dei MCC (Glen Mills, Pennsylvania). Drum circles began centuries ago and appear in various forms in many cultures, often providing time for a collective tribe to gather and celebrate, meditate, pray, sing, dance, and tell stories using drums and other instruments.

Rainbow wYmYn’s Circle is a social services group sponsored by the women of MCC of the Quad Cities (Iowa) to raise funds and market the church to the larger community.

For the second year the Government declared February as LBGT History Month in the UK. MCC Edinburgh (Scotland) used that theme for a worship service with a prayer litany on the "cloud of witnesses" that comprise queer history. They remembered those saints, religious and secular, individuals and groups who have made a difference in LBGT history.

The members of MCC of Greater New Orleans (Louisiana) have now opened a Basic Needs Distribution Center under the leadership of Wil Coleman to provide for the residents of the Treme neighborhood.

MCC San Francisco (California) has instituted a Creative Team, under the direction of Rev. Charles Tigard, to plan innovative presentations (multi-media, drama, art, original readings, etc.) during Lenten worship services.

Vision of Hope MCC (Mountville, Pennsylvania) has a new choir – the Wonderfully Created Children's Choir for their 3-12 year olds. They practice twice a month and perform at selected services. The directors are Deb Romano, Darlene Herman, and Amber Steckman.

Food and Friends is a new ministry team at Agape MCC (Fort Worth, Texas) led by Letty Cruz. The 15-20 team members provide food and support during times of crisis, such as illness or death.

Sunshine Cathedral MCC's Volunteer Ministry (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) has a new program to track volunteer hours. Volunteers log their hours each month by going to http://www.sunshinevolunteers.org/ and clicking on the clock or by completing a Volunteer Hours Tracking Card located in every pew. Bernie McGlinchey is the Volunteer Ministry Associate.

Show your community you know how to have fun! Open Arms MCC (Rochester, New York) will have a Boot Scootin' Country Dance on March 18th.

Here's an idea for a church outing! Families and friends of Vision of Hope MCC (Mountville, Pennsylvania) recently went snow tubing at Snow Magic last Sunday afternoon!   
 
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Church Anniversaries   

Imago Dei MCC (Glen Mills, Pennsylvania) will celebrate their 5th Anniversary the last weekend of March. Rev. Elder Troy D. Perry will be their guest. Events will include a presentation at West Chester University, a dinner at the Edgemont Country Club, a reception, and a special worship service. Rev. Karla Fleshman is pastor.

SisterSpirit in Portland, Oregon, just celebrated their 20th Anniversary and were featured in a newspaper article there. Rev. Frodo Okulam was the founding pastor and continues to lead the women from Christian, Jewish, and Wiccan backgrounds.

MCC Brisbane (Australia) celebrated their anniversary last month and read greetings on the occasion from other churches. Rev. Anne James is pastor.

This March marks the 31st Anniversary of New Spirit MCC (Cincinnati, Ohio), Rev. Bonnie Daniel, pastor; the 27th Anniversary of New Creation MCC, Rev. Margaret Hawk, pastor; and the 9th Anniversary of Gospel of Jesus Christ MCC (Saginaw, Michigan), Rev. Beth Rakestraw, pastor.
 
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Learn more ... About the Lay Ministry Council

The Lay Ministry Council was created by General Conference XX in Toronto (Ontario, Canada). During the last four years, the LMC has worked to foster excellence in lay ministry by assessing the needs of laity, pursuing the development of resources, recognizing outstanding lay leaders, and recommending laypeople to serve on committees.

The LMC is composed of Elder Mel Johnson (California), Chair, and Bryan Parker (Detroit, Michigan), Vice Chair, who were elected by the Lay House at General Conference. The Board of Elders appointed Shawn Henderson (Washington, DC), Jan Miels (Melbourne, Australia), Marsha Stevens-Pino (St. Petersburg, Florida) and Randi Williams (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) as the other members of the LMC. Judy Dale serves as the MCC staff liaison to the LMC. This team brings voices from four of the Regions and three countries.

The LMC is preparing recommendations of lay leaders to serve on the Geographic Review Board and Moderator's Nominating Committee. The LMC will recruit qualified laypeople to assist the Board of Elders in building a resume bank of people throughout the Fellowship with specialized skills. The LMC will work with the newly formed Resource Council. The two resource topics on which the LMC will focus are Children/Young People's Ministries and Stewardship.

The next LMC meeting will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona, July 13-14. The LMC welcomes feedback and input from the laity on any issues and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  
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Conferences and Retreats

Regions 3 and 5 are partnering for a seminar on Pastoring the Multi-Staffed Church on March 2-3 facilitated by Rev. Elder Arlene Ackerman and Rev. Dr. Cindi Love. MCC Baltimore (Maryland) will host the event for senior pastors who have or plan to have paid staff. Registration at the door is UD$100.

All Saints’ MCC (Christchurch, New Zealand) is planning a Women’s Retreat for all women, born female or transgender, in Hanmer April 7-9. Contact Valerie Marshall, Lay Delegate, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

Rev. Elder Lillie Brock will be holding three ConNEXTions with the Region 7 churches in Florida. They will begin with a reception at 7 pm Friday night and conclude by 4 pm on Saturday afternoon with Communion. The goal is to share information, review resources and support available to the local churches, meet the Regional staff and learn about the infrastructure, discuss the MCC Strategic Plan, and be trained by Rev. Grant Ford in doing strategic planning in the local church. The ConNEXTion gatherings will be March 3-4 at Gentle Shepherd MCC in Tallahassee, April 7-8 at King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, and April 28-29 at Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Fort Lauderdale.

The Men in Ministry Conference last month was a success with 70 men from North America participating. They were blessed by the sermons of The Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski, Rev. Paul Tucker, Senior Pastor of All God’s Children MCC (Minneapolis, Minnesota); Rev. Paul Graetz, Senior Pastor of First MCC (Atlanta, Georgia), and Rev. Lee Carlton, Pastor of Cornerstone MCC (Mobile, Alabama). Likewise, they were challenged by the presentations of Rev. Steve Pieters; Rev. Chris Glaser, Interim Pastor of Christ Covenant MCC (Decatur, Georgia); Rev. Edgard Danielson-Morales, Assistant Pastor for Congregational Life at MCC New York (New York); Rev. Jonathan Jones, Pastor of MCC Anchorage (Alaska); and Rev. Wes Mullins, Assistant Pastor of MCC Portland (Oregon). The groups focused on revitalizing MCC’s HIV ministry and building an effective young adult ministry. The Multimedia Team at Joy MCC (Orlando, Florida) has posted video from the conference at http://www/joumcc.com/Main.asp. Click on "Healthy Minds, Bodies, Spirit."

Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) is providing a one day Lenten Retreat Walking the Road with Jesus on March 18. The retreat will assist participants in discovering practical and time-honored ways to enhance their spiritual journeys. The US$25 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and materials. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

Last weekend the MCC NewCoast (Cooranbong, Australia) Women’s Retreat on the shores of Lake Macquarie was filled with music, prayer, rituals, meditation, story-telling, friendship, laughter, great food, and lots of fun. Rev. Shelagh Zincke led the retreat.

Don't forget to register for the People of African Descent Conference! It’s also for people who are supporters and allies! There will be fantastic worship, workshops, fellowship, networking, and more! Visit www.mccconferences.org/pad/index.html for details.

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Sermon and Study Series

Region 2 churches have a new initiative, "Reading for Our Lives." Each month congregants will read a specific book and then have a discussion about it one Sunday after church. A recent choice was Dr. Martin Luther King's Letters from the Birmingham Jail in honor of the passing of Coretta Scott King and the US observance of Black History Month.

Central Texas MCC from the Heart (Waco, Texas) focused their Dinner and Dialogue series on songs from Wise as Serpents, a CD by Bryan Sirchio. They listened to a different song each Wednesday, such as "Staring at My Overflowing Plate," and then discussed the message and how it applied to their spirituality. For more information about the CD, contact Rev. Charles Garrison, Pastor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

MCC San Jose (California) used the Valentine theme of February for the basis of a sermon series, "Love and Dating." Rev. Mike Ellard, pastor, focused on what the Bible and our experiences teach in order to determine our approach to love and dating in the 21st century.

God’s Coming Out in Jesus in the Gospel of John is the Lenten theme at MCC in the Valley (North Hollywood, California). On Tuesday nights during Lent Rev. Dr. Bob Goss will lead a special study using his writings in Queer Bible Commentary and the movie of the Gospel of John.

Rev. Dee Dale just completed a four-part sermon series on The Healing Ministries of Jesus at MCC Louisville (Kentucky).

The Lenten Reflection Series at MCC Los Angeles (West Hollywood, California) will feature Rev. Professor Nancy G. Eswein, of Church Divinity School of the Pacific;Rev. Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson, of Pacific School of Religion; and Hugo Cordova Quero, an Argentinean theologian and international spiritual activist. They will also have a special midweek study "Reflection, Relationship & Renewal" focusing on prayer life and facilitated by MCCLA member Jim Curtan, an international speaker and spiritual director.

Rev. Grant Lynn Ford and the Rev. Dr. Kathy Bishop are presenting a sermon series through Palm Sunday, for the contemporary worship service at Sunshine Cathedral MCC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida). It is based on the book The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg and focuses on personal spiritual transformation.

Each Wednesday during Lent congregants of MCC of the Coachella Valley (Cathedral City, California) will enter into the Passion of Christ through the journey that Jesus travels to Calvary. Services incorporate meditations and a set of 15 icons donated to the church. Rev. David Pelletier is pastor.

The Monday Evening Oasis at Jesus MCC (Indianapolis, Indiana) just began a study/discussion of the book A New Kind of Christian.

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Transitions   

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, the Elder serving Region 4, has decided to stand down from her position effective at their Regional Conference in September. She said, "It has been a real honour and a blessing to journey with you, but I feel that the time has now come for change." She has served the leaders and churches in Western Europe for nine years and our congregations in Africa for nearly four years.

St. Jude's MCC (Wilmington, North Carolina) voted to sell their property and buy a larger space. They will move into their new home this month on a very visible corner of a major road. The former Odd Fellows Lodge sits on two acres of land. The formal Building Dedication will take place in June. Rev. Amanda McCullough is pastor.

MCC Los Angeles (West Hollywood, California) has had an Extreme Makeover! They have completely remodeled the first floor sanctuary. Congregants helped with the final touches of the renovation. Rev. Neil Thomas is senior pastor.

Rev. Jim Lynch, Associate Pastor of Reconciliation MCC (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has begun Jim Lynch Ministries, a part time traveling ministry to provide supply preaching, weekend retreats, workshops, and prayer support. He is currently available one weekend per month and will need housing, a love offering, and any travel assistance that churches might provide. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rev. Roben Waddell was recently ordained at MCC of the Spirit (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). She transferred credentials from the United Methodist Church and serves as a Chaplain.

Rev. Elder John Gill, Senior Pastor at King of Peace MCC (St. Petersburg, Florida) announced to the congregation that he is resigning his position with them and will serve as the Interim Pastor at MCC San Diego (California).

Good Shepherd Parish MCC (Chicago, Illinois) has new worship space in Edgewater Presbyterian Church, which is closer to the LBGT community and public transportation. Rev. Gordon McCoy was the guest preacher for the Dedication Service.

Rev. Kurt Krieger has completed an outstanding tenure as the Region 2 administrator. "His thoughtfulness, attention to detail and natural pastoral manner provided much needed stability and strength to Region 2 during this time. Thanks, also, to his church, Spirit of Hope MCC (Kansas City, Missouri), for sharing his exceptional gifts and talent with our Region," said Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski.

MCC of the Upstate (Duncan, South Carolina) is only 18 months old, but they are purchasing 2 1/2 acres in the heart of the fastest growing area in their state. Rev. Donna Stroud is pastor.

Cheryl Meyer, Region 5 Administrative Assistant, is leaving her position to answer her call to ministry in partnership with MCC Toronto (Ontario, Canada) and pursue her passions in developing and facilitating workshops and small groups. She will continue to be the contact person for churches in Canada regarding financial questions and assessments.

Linda Daly-Schneider is the new Region 5 Administrative Assistant. She is Vice Moderator of the Board of Directors at MCC Detroit (Michigan) and formerly was the Administrative Assistant for a major company in Detroit.

For those interested in the position of the Elder Serving Region 4, applications are due by March 31, 2006. The process is outlined on the website at http://www.mccchurch.org/.

The 70 participants at the Men in Ministry Conference had special prayers of commissioning to welcome both Rev. Steve Pace and Rev. Steve Pieters back as MCC clergy.

Rev. Wes Mullins is the new Assistant Pastor at MCC Portland (Oregon). He and his partner Jason O'Neil have moved from Exodus MCC (Abilene, Texas). Jason and deMarco sang the service last Sunday when he was installed by Rev. Glenna Shepherd, senior pastor.

MCC of Greater New Orleans (Louisiana) now holds worship services at the Chapel of St. Matthew UCC on Sunday evenings at 5 pm. Rev. Dexter Brecht is pastor.

Applications to the Board of Elders for the Moderator’s Nominating Committee are due by March 10th. Visit http://www.mccchurch.org/ for more information. The Moderator’s Nominating Committee is responsible for overseeing the nomination and selection process for the positions of Vice Moderator and Moderator.

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New Resources

The 4th annual LGBT Health Awareness Week will take place March 12-18. For more information and on-line resources, visit www.mccchurch.org/health .

Brian McNaught, named the "godfather of gay diversity training" by The New York Times, has just produced a new resource "Understanding and Managing Gay and Transgender Issues in the Workplace.". It would also be appropriate for use with any professional associations, politicians, seminarians, community groups, etc., anywhere in the world. For more information visit http://www.trbproductions.com/.

Rev. Patrick Cheng and Harry Faddis, the noted spiritual activist and teacher, have developed an multimedia course "The Ways of the Spirit: A Course in Spirituality for LGBT People." It is available at http://www.spiritcourse.org/. The radio broadcast portions of the class are archived there. The third session is March 17th.

Judith Carpenter of MCC Newcastle (England) has recorded a set of three CDs entitled "Women of the Way" about various women in Jesus’ life. They come with a study booklet for an individual or small group to use as they reflect on these stories. This may be ordered from Redemptorist Publications, Alphonsus House, Chawton, Hants GU34 3HQ, England for £17.95 plus £1.50 for post and packing.

Resources to enhance your Lenten season have been added to the MCC website. Visit the main Lent worship resource page. Individuals could utilize some of the small group studies for their personal devotions.

A sharing group for MCC Deacons has been established at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MCCDeaconssharing/.

Did you know that Rev. Elder Troy Perry's books are available on the MCC website? Go to http://www.mccchurch.org/, click on "Resources" at the top of the page, then select "Sexuality and Spirituality" on the left.

The Pacific School of Religion has launched http://www.progressivechristianwitness.org/, offering resources for socially progressive churchgoers.

Members of Divine Peace MCC (Clarkston, Michigan) have written a series of Lenten devotions that are posted on their website at http://www.divinepeacemcc.org/.

Go to iTunes (available for PC or MAC) at http://www.apple.com/, search for MCC, and download FREE sermons from MCC Conferences or from some local MCC churches. You can play them (in English) on your computer or iPod.

Help us gather biographies for both "Without and Within: A Focus on the People of African Descent Making History Outside and Inside MCC" and "Without and Within: A Focus on the Women Making History Outside and Inside MCC." Both programs are still in development and we are accepting stories of those in our local congregations making history for your community. Send us your story!

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MCC Wish List   

There are a number of items that you might have or would be willing to purchase for use in MCC ministry across the globe:

  • Airline miles or vouchers on any airlines
  • New or in warranty digital still or video cameras
  • Gift cards from Wal-Mart or Target for continued hurricane relief
  • New, in warranty or refurbished two band or four band Blackberries (needed for use in Europe and Central/South America for toll-free calling)
  • New jump drive
  • New or in warranty color printer
  • Gift cards for Office Depot
  • International calling cards
  • Money for furnishings for the Moderator's new office

Please send these items to MCC, PO Box 691728, West Hollywood, CA 90066-1728, USA, to the attention of Bill Hooper.

Editor: Judy Dale, MCC Communications Department 

Metropolitan Community Churches
P.O. Box 691728
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone: 310-360-8640
Fax: 310-360-8680

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Good Hope MCC is an inclusive Christian Community in Cape Town, South Africa. Whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender:
You are made in God's image and are welcome at our Church!