Good Hope MCC Newsletter for October 2012
In this issue:
- Message from the Pastor
- We may be the only Bible that some will ever read
- Out in Africa Film Festival 19 - 28 October
- Library News
- Book Review: The Stranger's Child
- Breaking News: Church Move
Message from the Pastor
Hi all you beautiful people,
I firstly want to THANK YOU for the welcome I have received since taking on the role of part-time Pastor (10 hours a week) here at GHMCC. It has been a fulfilment of God’s call upon my life and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve Christ in this manner.
Part of my settling in process is the plan to visit every member personally. This, as you can imagine, would be a time consuming journey, but I will eventually get to know all of you. I am also employed as the Spiritual Director for Little Stream Conference Centre and Upper Room Ministries and so I have set aside Wednesdays as my GHMCC day. On this day I will do admin, sermon preparations, attend to meetings and do pastoral visits.
Friday will be my day of rest, my Sabbath, and on this day I hope to attend retreats, walk/run in the forest, meditate and pray, doing what I believe a day of rejuvenation requires. Your prayers would be much appreciated. I will be taking my annual leave from the 9th-25th of November, and as per tradition this means Charmaine and I will be enjoying many hours of game watching in The Kruger National Park.
In the meantime, our sermon series for October is based on an Upper Room Ministry book by Christopher Maricle called “The Jesus Priorities”. I believe it is essential that we take stock of our spiritual journey and review our values and beliefs every so often. In doing so we avoid settling for the routines, the mundane repetitions, and we open ourselves up to God’s creative Spirit. And so in the words of John the Baptist, speaking about Jesus:
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less
- John 3:30
I look forward to our journey together and hope to build an honest, trusting relationship where together we can grow in the love and light of Christ.
We may be the only Bible that some will ever read
What does church mean for us? Is it a comfortable space on Sunday where we feel safe, where we can be spiritually fed and leave feeling refreshed, renewed, refuelled? If so ... refreshed, refuelled and renewed for what purpose?
As Christians, what responsibilities do we have towards our fellow humans, if any? What do those in our LGBTI “community” think of us as a faith community? Why do they feel this way? What are others religious communities saying about us?
Who sits among us on a Sunday? What do they face daily? In coming months, we’ll cover all these questions.
Being LGBT or I is only one aspect of who we are – there are many other aspects to who we are. Many among us face other social issues. Do we care about those issues too? We are refugees, we are homeless, we are trans gender, we are women who have been raped, we are sex workers, we are single parents, we are women who have had to terminate a pregnancy, we live in dire poverty but walk a long way to come to church on a Sunday, we are a person stuck in an abusive relationship, and we are unemployed and struggling to find ways to feed ourselves because we cannot read or write. We have just lost our job or are struggling financially in this economic climate and have financial obligations to meet.
I have never forgotten the words of our old friend, the now retired Dean, Cannon Rowan Smith years ago, as we sat on the side of the road at a Pride event waiting to speak … ”Sharon never become a holy huddle”. It is important as an inclusive and affirming faith community, to be part of cross solidarity work to ensure that all know that God adores everyone as they are. It is important that we as an inclusive and affirming church play our part in assisting in engaging with other churches and clergy who are open to hearing, that we also have a place at the table. It is not about begging, it is not about being a stepchild at God’s table. God does not have stepchildren. It is about creating change – not just for ourselves – nobody that works in the human rights sector does it to make a difference for themselves – they do it with the belief that a different world is possible for all people. So, consider your LGBTI sisters and brothers who occupy pews in other churches. It
needs to be different for them too. You may have a safe place, they need one too. It is also important that we extend ourselves beyond the walls we occupy on a Sunday. It is important that we have a voice in the wider community and we have a voice in the LGBTI sector. In the meantime – we’ll start with this:
How much do you know about the history of MCC, how it began, why it began, why it is referred to as the human rights church? Why do we talk about the things we do when some think we shouldn’t or needn’t be so out there ? ... Here’s why ... it’s why we exist, it’s why MCC exists. It’s because it is who MCC is.
“Our first great test of courage came, I think when we were nine months old. It was in April, 1969. We were asked to stand up and be counted. And to stand for homosexual civil rights, to demonstrate in front of the Los Angeles offices of State Steamship Lines. In San Francisco they had fired a young man because he was a homosexual. We numbered only eight and we didn’t know what would happen. (...)
When it starts getting rough, that’s when I work the best. I tell you that my God is bigger than the Los Angeles Police Department. God is bigger that the state of California, God is bigger than the United States Government. We called the American Civil Liberties Union and they entered the case (...)
June the 28th, after the parade, I’m starting a fast. And I’m sitting down on a corner on Hollywood Boulevard. I took up my post on the steps of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles. I had a jug of water, a blanket, my bible and a book of Common Prayer ... I wanted someone in the power to come and talk about what was wrong and what could be done about it ... After 10 days my fast ended ...”
Troy Perry – Activist and Founder of MCC
This is our beginning; this is our roots as a denomination. The founders of MCC were never afraid to stand up and be counted. People in MCC still take stands for what is right and just. Social justice is and will always be an important part of the denomination. If it was what Jesus did in His ministry on earth ... it is what we should be doing too.
(Sharon Cox Ludwig)
Out in Africa Film Festival 19 - 28 October
Out in Africa The third edition of the of the 19th Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, will run from Friday 19th - Sunday 28th October 2012 in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Opening nights will take place on 17th October in JHB and 18th October in CT.
The Festival has a great line up of shorts from SA, Brazil, Morocco/UAE, UK, USA and Kenya and 9 Features from USA, France, Canada, Belgium and Spain, many of them award winning films.
The Festival will open with Vito (http://www.oia.co.za/films/vito/) , Jeffrey Schwarz's involving biodoc on Vito Russo, leading gay activist, film scholar and author of "The Celluloid Closet". Through interviews, rare clips and well chosen archival footage (Russo always at the forefront of gay rallies, protests or celebrations), Schwarz makes his subject a dramatic focal point in the history of gay rights from the Stonewall riots to the AIDS epidemic.
The Festival will play host to two international guests alongside a strong programme of films. Director Guy Lee Thys will present his film Mixed Kebab (http://www.oia.co.za/films/mixed-kebab/) about a Belgian / Turkish Muslim - a satisfying, sexy romance that never belittles the dilemmas facing the unwilling hero of the piece.
Eldar Rapaport will present his award winning film August (http://www.oia.co.za/films/august/) , set in LA. Troy returns and looks up his ex... it's a thought-provoking and contemporary film dealing with (in)fidelity.
Other highlights include:
- Gigola (http://www.oia.co.za/films/gigola/) - Laure Charpentier's melodrama of Paris in the 60s. Gigola is a woman for hire to older, rich women. Pulpy, racy, delightfully camp, capturing the seediness of the Parisian underworld.
- Bear City 2: The Proposal (http://www.oia.co.za/films/bear-city-2/) – A good-humoured, guilt-free, well-packaged celebration of man love. Not to be missed.
- Elliot Loves (http://www.oia.co.za/films/elliot-loves/) – a skilful shift between the boy in the making, and his twenty-something result.. Delightful and charming, with extraordinary performances from the two Elliots.
- Margarita (http://www.oia.co.za/films/margarita/) – Directed by Dominique Cardona and Laurie Colbert. Margarita, a live-in nanny, is hotly romancing with student lawyer Jane. But then she’s fired and a series of mishaps leads to deportation. A funny lesbian tale neatly warpped up in other contemporary issues. Glorious swaying latina rhythms warm up snowy Toronto.
- Our Paradise (http://www.oia.co.za/films/our-paradise/) directed by Gaël Morel - A tour round the pathetic and peculiar of Paris, hot on the hustler heels of murderous Vassilli. Superb performances from Stéfane Rideau (Wild Reeds) and Béatrice Dalle (Betty Blue).
- The Sex of the Angels (http://www.oia.co.za/films/the-sex-of-the-angels/) directed by Xavier Villaverde is a provocative scenario of where a love triangle might go.. given the willingness of the driehoek. The backdrop and music are very Barcelona. Sexy and fun.
Out In Africa screens at Nu Metro cinemas - V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
Alan Hollinghurst is an award-winning gay British novelist. His most recent novel, The stranger’s child, was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2011, an award he won in 2004 for The line of beauty. The swimming pool library (1988) won the 1989 Somerset Maugham Award and The folding star (1994) won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1994.
Alan visited South Africa recently to attend the Open Book Cape Town Literary Festival which ran from 20-24 September 2012. We went to attend his book discussion of The stranger’s child, as well as a session where Alan and Damon Galgut discussed their work with Eusebius Mckaiser. The great news is that The Friends of the Library bought three of his novels at the festival for the GHMCC library, which means that we now have all of his novels in stock for you to enjoy – free of charge:
The stranger’s child (2011)
The line of beauty (2004)
The spell (1998)
The folding star (1994)
The swimming-pool library (1988)
Book Review: The Stranger's Child
“On the eve of World War I, Cecil Valance, a wildly attractive and promising young poet, pays a visit to the home of his Cambridge boyfriend, the son of one of England's fine old families. He memorializes the visit with a poem that becomes famous after his wartime death. The poem, created as an autograph book keepsake for his lover's younger sister, Daphne, becomes the subject of speculation and debate for biographers and the generations that follow, as it contains hints about what might have happened during the visit and with whom. As the novel gallops ahead decade by decade, following the family fortunes of Daphne and her progeny, the events of that less tolerant era are viewed through an ever-cloudier lens. With the prewar ambience of Atonement, the manor-house mystique of Gosford Park, and the palpable sexual tension of Hollinghurst's own The line of beauty, this generously paced, thoroughly satisfying novel will gladden the hearts of Anglophile readers.” (Library Journal 1/09/2011).
Breaking News: Church Move
The Methodist Central Mission have had their congregational meeting and have approved the proposed move of Good Hope MCC to utlise the Methodist Church at Greenmarket Square in the center of Cape Town for Sunday Evening services. We will keep you updated with the developments surrounding the move.