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International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia Sunday, 2015 May 17

 What MCCers Can Do

Conceived in 2004 by French activist Louis-Georges Tin to commemorate the decision of the World Health Organization (1990) to de-pathologize homosexuality by removing it from the International Classification of Diseases, May 17th has become a globally recognized day to raise awareness of LGBTQI lives and call attention to efforts to end discrimination and violence and promote equality.

 

This year, from China to the Congo and Canada, LGBTQI peoples and our allies in over 170 nations will sponsor conversations, festivities and events, as well as demonstrations and marches for an end to the criminalization of Queer life and the implementation of policies that recognize and respect the diversity of God’s creation.

 

IDAHOT2015

In Botswana, activists will showcase the first short theater production focusing on original works with Queer themes.  In Iran, the Iranian Queer Organization will make sure that IDAHOBiT artwork is available in Farsi.  The United Nations Human Rights Office in New York City will highlight Queer lives worldwide on screens in Times Square.

 

Everyone can do something to highlight LGBTQI life and our victories or address the challenges that remain before us.

 

The Global Justice Institute and the Moderator’s Public Policy Team invites MCC congregations around the world to make May 17th INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA SUNDAY!

 

Here are some suggestions for you, your congregation, or your ministry:

  • Host a gathering and invite your neighbors, family and friends to the movement for equality in your location and make them aware of what volunteer or organizational opportunities are available.  Invite a local activist group to speak or provide resources.
  • Host a Bible Study, preach and pray about ending discrimination and promoting peace and goodwill throughout the earth.
  • This year’s theme focuses on youth.  Volunteer at a local youth shelter or conduct a drive to support the work of a local youth initiative that includes LGBTQI kids.
  • Add your community’s support to a local legislative drive to promote equality and safety for all youth.  (In the United States, contact your U.S. Senator and encourage him or her to move the Safe Schools Improvement Act to end bullying against Queer youth out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.)

Every word offered, every event celebrated, every step taken, every prayer lifted up can and will make a difference for God’s LGBTQI peoples and a world at peace with its own diversity.  You can inspire others around the world by sharing what you do.  Send your stories and photos to The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt of the Public Policy Team at revdrjimmerrit@holycrossmcc.com.

 

Thank you for making this world a better place.

 

 

This action alert was prepared by the Global Justice Institute and the Public Policy Team of

Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute, Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner-Chair.

SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE NEEDED FOR LGBTQI PEOPLE IN EARTHQUAKE RAVAGED AREAS OF NEPAL

Global Justice Institute/MCC Partner with Blue Diamond Society 

The earthquake in Nepal has claimed the lives of thousands and devastated the lives of tens of thousands.  The Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches are partnering with the BLUE DIAMOND SOCIETY, an organization working for the wellbeing of the LGBTQI communities in Nepal, with over 200,000 members. blue diamond

 

The devastation in Nepal, especially rural areas, is overwhelming, and many nations are stepping in to help.  The LGBTQI communities, however, are often overlooked and underserved if served at all.  Camps are being set up and segregated by gender, often leaving “third gender” people to fend for themselves.

 

The body of Ciatala, a third gender person, was located in a teaching hospital and the Blue Diamond Hospital was able to spare her an unidentified mass grave and provide a proper funeral with her mother in attendance today.

 

The Society is searching for the dead and trying to meet the needs of the surviving.  Immediate needs are survival needs — portable bathrooms that do not exclude trans people and can help  with hygiene and disease curtailment, tents, clothes, blankets, umbrellas, food, water, medicine, fuel for generators — the list is long and the need immediate.

 

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Please pray for all effected.
  • Send contributions to meet the needs of those effected to the Global Justice Institute today, and 100% of donations marked for Nepal will be immediately forwarded to the BLUE DIAMOND SOCIETY and its critical work on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Nepal.
    • Make your check payable to “Global Justice Institute” and put “Nepal” in the memo field.  Mail it to “The Global Justice Institute, 446 West 36th Street, New York, NY USA 10018″.
    • Donate online (safe and secure) by visiting HERE. You need a valid credit card, debit card, or PayPal account.  Please be sure to put “Nepal” in the donation dedication box in the section for Special Purposes.

National Faith Call to Prayer

Friday, 3 April 2015, 12:00/Noon – 1:00PM/ET

Dear Friends,

Many have become aware of what is taking place recently in Indiana regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  In other states similar laws have passed or are being proposed.It is interesting that this signed law of discrimination led into what many observe as Holy Week.  Sadly, this new law is not a sign of Holy Week, but a cause of Holy Unrest.  The question that is before is, how will we respond to this injustice that is not only affecting those who live in Indiana  but is also having an adverse impact on people throughout our nation.For Christians, this is the week we remember that “Jesus confronts the principalities and powers in Jerusalem to ask that God’s love and mercy be extended to all . . .” LoveThyNeighbourT

For people of the Jewish faith, “this is a time when we remember that we were once slaves in Egypt, lost and forgotten, . . .” and we must continue to add our voices to call out this current injustice.

For many who observe other spiritual traditions or no particular faith tradition, there is nevertheless a strong sense that, as Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

We invite you to join us today, Friday, Good Friday, from 12:00/Noon – 1:00PM/ET for a National Faith Call of Prayer.  When you join the call, you will hear faith leaders from around our nation offering prayers for and brief comments about this unjust law.

Confirmed invited presenters include:

Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Presiding Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches
Bishop Steven Charleston, Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University
Rabbi Denise Eger, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Senior Associate at All Saints Church Pasadena, CA
Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director, Global Justice Institute, MCC, NYMinister Whittney Murphy, Christian Theological Seminary

Rev. Melody Merida, Minister of Congregational Life, Life Journey Church, IN

Rev. DeWayne Davis, Senior Pastor, All God’s Children MCC, Minneapolis, MN
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister, Sunshine Cathedral MCC, Fort Lauderdale, FL

To join the call and listen to this presentation on Friday, April 3 at Noon/ET:
Dial In Number: 1.626.677.3000
ID Number: 778024

Awareness, Affirmation & Action

A Conversation and Call To Action

 

MCC Public Policy Team members Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin (Sunshine Cathedral’s Executive Minister and member of MCC Governing Board) and Rev. DeWayne Davis(Senior Pastor of All God’s Children MCC) invite you to join them as they present a conference call series titled “Awareness, Affirmation & Action.”

 

bejustice

From the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin, to institutionalized racial targeting in Ferguson, MO, USA to a series of African-American youth being killed by authorities in various cities, to voting rights being threatened, to remembering the struggles of the Civil Rights era during the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery march, we continually are witnessing events that impact human dignity, security, and well-being.  These reminders let us know that our work for justice is not yet complete; there is much more to do.

 

We invite you to join the call and listen to voices that will inspire and challenge us to keep our movement for justice alive and strong.

  • Thursday, April 2nd – 2:00 PM/ET – Bishop Dr. Yvette Flunder, Founder & Senior Pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
  • Thursday, April 9th – 2:00 PM/ET – Ruby Sales, Human Rights activist
  • Thursday, April 23rd – 2:00 PM/ET – Imam Daayiee Abdullah, an “out” gay Muslim cleric

Call in information:

Call Center:   1.626.677.3000

ID:                 778024

 

For more information please email Rev Dr Robert Griffin at Robert@SunshineCathedral.net

Help promote LGBT rights in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia

Hello friends,

This summer Rev. Dr. Boon Lin Ngeo will be traveling to Asia on behalf of the Global Justice Institute. Rev. Boon has worked extensively abroad for the Institute and this year will visit China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia. In addition to making connections with LGBTQI centers and organizations, he will also being giving at least 20 talks in 15 cities on religion and sexuality, social justice, and human rights. Rev. Boon will be attending the gay pride parade in Vietnam as well. We would love support from communities around the world in order to make this trip and future work possible.
Please see the following link to learn more about his work and how you can contribute: http://igg.me/at/lgbtasia
Rev. Dr. Boon

Easter Campaign 2015

eastercampaign2015

logopngEaster Offering for Global Justice

Every year Metropolitan Community Churches around the globe come together to hold an Easter offering to support the work of The Global Justice Institute (GJI). GJI is dedicated to supporting the work of LGBT and human rights activists around the globe and is passionate about the gospel as a radical social manifesto. GJI supports programs fostering theological reconciliation, economic development, and the creation of positive media.

In 2014 the Easter offering enabled GJI to:

  • Sponsor meetings in Kenya for affirming clergy working to create safe space for LGBTQI people
  • Fund a safe house in Nigeria and safe scattered-site housing in Kenya for Queer refugees
  • Open the Asylum Seekers Assistance Program as the first full-service ministry serving LGBTQI asylum seekers in New York City, offering legal, therapeutic, and spiritual support, as well as peer mentorship
  • Participate in the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia at Jakarta Theological Seminary, producing a joint declaration on sexuality and human equality mentorship
  • Establish a partnership with Casabierta in Costa Rica, serving LGBTQI asylum seekers from Central America
  • Convene a working Board of Directors representing our global interests and mission

 

In 2015, with the help of this year’s offering, GJI plans to:

  • Further develop a partnership in Costa Rica to shelter marginalized populations and reintegrate them into society
  • Partner to establish the first satellite location of the Global Justice Institute in Kenya, giving us a working base in Africa
  • Revive the work of GJI and MCC in Jamaica
  • Expand outreach and develop small groups offering support in China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • Develop contacts in Argentina
  • Expand partnerships between local MCCs and GJI projects

 

How do I help?

  • Talk to your church leadership and fellow church members about the importance of supporting the social justice work done by GJI. Have your church commit to holding a special offering and let everyone know that they should prayerfully consider supporting the work of GJI.
  • Make a donation. Whether or not your church is holding an offering, please consider directly supporting the work of GJI. You can make a donation now by clicking here.
  • Sign up to give to this life-changing work on a recurring basis. Those dedicated to regularly supporting GJI enable us to expand our scope and work. Click here to sign up for a recurring gift.
  • Tell everyone about GJI’s impact on communities around the world! Connect others to GJI’s mission by sharing our printable brochure or by following us on Twitter. The more the good news of GJI’s impact spreads, the more crucial work we can do together in the future.

 

Download Letter

Download Global Justice Institute Flier

PACESETTER ORGANISATIONS
Participating in the 2015 Easter Offering for Global Justice


MCC New York


Neema MCC


MCC of Winston-Salem


SunCoast Cathedral MCC


MCC Austin


MCC of Greater St. Louis


MCC Portland


MCC London


Northern Lights MCC


MCC Good Shepherd


MCC Hartford


MCC of the Blue Ridge


MCC of Paducah


Holy Cross MCC


MCC DC


Central Texas MCC


Love Alive International Sanctuary of Praise


MCC Key West


MCC of the Spirit


FirstCoast MCC


MCC Baton Rouge


MCC Sydney


Open Door MCC


All God’s Children MCC


Open Circle MCC


Founders MCC Los Angeles


MCC Louisville


MCC Brisbane


MCC Boston

 

HOLY GROUND – A FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF MARCHING IN SELMA

Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin Led a Delegation from MCC and the Global Justice Institute at the 50th Anniversary of the

Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March

I was on Holy Ground! On Saturday, when I heard President Obama give one of the best speeches of his presidency, and one of the speeches I have ever heard, all I could say was “PREACH!”

President Obama in Selma

I was surprised (but not entirely appalled) when theGovernor of Alabama was introduced and the crowd jeered him with loud boos! I was standing next to a young woman who said, “Y’all, we are on national TV” and another young lady responded, “now they know how we feel .. he’s on the same stage of our President.  That governor refused to expand medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act.”  I added, “And, he could have done better with Marriage Equality.”  Of course I got a look.

 

When the President (who was warmly received) made reference to lives being better and said “ask a gay person” one of the women looked at me again and said, “Oh, now I get it.”  I was standing with a group of six people, unknown to me, all who then looked at me and gave a “thumbs up” of affirmation.  A young man then said, “it is great to be standing next to someone that our President just referenced in his speech.”  When it was over, I said, “it was an honor to stand here, on this holy ground, in this place with each of you to hear and witness this event.”  We shook hands, then someone initiated a group hug and we just stood there holding each other.  I could feel the young lady next to me begin to shake with sobs.  When it was over she said, “I need to go call my brother, who is gay, and tell him I love him and I get it.”  It was holy ground.

 

I stood in line for hours to be at this event, and I would gladly stand in line for hours more to do it again.

 

On Sunday, I made my way to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, had a chance to meet and speak with the Pastor, Rev. Cromwell A. Handy.  Worthy of note: the organist for Sunday was the organist that Dr. King hired in 1955.  It was holy ground!

I made my way through the crowd poised to march across that historic bridge in Selma.  I was with my sister-in-law and my niece as we found our place by Brown Chapel and listened to speakers.  The Rev. Al Sharpton was ON FIRE; I mean he PREACHED!!!   “A lot of what we are celebrating today was nullified by the Supreme Court,” he said. “We have to continue to fight!”

 

When we were ready to march, the organizer announced that the march over the bridge had already started and that we were basically trapped where we were because if we left the church area there would be nowhere for us to go once we arrived at the bridge because of the crowd.  They also announced that the Mayor had called the Governor and asked him to “send in more troops” for crowd control.  The sentence struck me as odd given the history of troops being summoned to “control” justice-seeking crowds. It brought to life the memory of martyrs.  It was holy ground.

 

Rev. Robert GriffinThankfully, my sister-in-law knew the back route and a short cut which is where I ran into Rep. Maxine Waters of California and had a great conversation with her about incarceration issues and soon after I met Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama.

 

80,000 plus people descending on a city of 20,000 residents posed some logistical challenges, but they did the best they could.  I think the problem occurred when they opened up all the streets after the President left.  There was no longer a crowd control flow.  But, it was holy ground.

 

Speakers over the weekend from Rev. Sharpton to Rep. John Lewis of Georgia to the President of the United States made it abundantly clear: there is more to do. There is more work to be done with health care, with the justice system, with immigration, with LGBT rights, with voting rights, with the unfortunate legacy of racism…there is more work to do. The entire event promised the possibility of new birth.  I think MCC and the whole LGBTQ faith movement can be a midwife to the progress and healing that is still to be born. I think it is time to reevaluate our sense of social justice and how our stories go hand in hand with the civil rights movement.  We must hear the stories; we must share our own. We must continue to work for better days.

 

My heart is so full, I could wax on and on. But instead, I will simply say again that being in Selma over the weekend for me amounted to being on holy ground. But, just as Moses found himself on holy ground and then felt called to move forward to confront injustice, I and we must move on from the holy moment on holy ground to do the holy work that we are being called to do.

 

Robert

 

 

 Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin serves as the Executive Minister at Sunshine Cathedral MCC, a member of UFMCC’s Governing Board, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Episcopal Divinity School, and a member of the Global Justice Institute’s Public Policy Team.

TELL CONGRESS TO PASS THE  “END MODERN SLAVERY INITIATIVE ACT OF 2015

Last week, MCC’s Global Moderator Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy issued a statement in support of the “End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015.”  The bill, currently before the U.S. Senate, would authorize the creation of a non-profit organization that would marshal resources to combat the growth in modern slavery around the world.  Investigations found that more than 27 million people live and work in bondage around the world, lacking any semblance of freedom that most people enjoy.  “Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) around the world know what oppression is. This bipartisan legislation aimed at eliminating slavery and human trafficking around the globe is a powerful step,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Moderator of MCC. poverty“The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, reminds us that slavery and human trafficking touches all of us and must be stopped! MCC members are urged to spread the word on this freedom movement and to contact their congresspersons and urge them to support the legislation.”

The bill would create incentives for funders and governments (in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world) to collaborate in freeing and sustainable recovery of victims of modern slavery, preventing of individuals from being enslaved, and enforcing laws to punish individual and corporate perpetrators of modern slavery.  The bill estimates that it can reduce the number of enslaved persons among targeted populations by 50 percent.

We call on U.S. residents to contact their Members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the End Modern Slavery Initiative bill and to work with leaders to ensure its quick passage.  Our advocacy is working.  The Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee just passed the bill on Thursday, 25 February.  Keep the pressure up.

 

Here are resources to help your advocacy:

JOIN GJI/MCC AS WE STAND TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE

In a few days, the United States will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of one of the most famous events in Civil Rights History:  the March from Selma to Montgomery.  It was a painful and bloody moment in the struggle for racial equality, where activists of many faiths, Selmabackgrounds, and regions of the U.S. gathered to press government at every level for dignity, justice, and the right to live freely.  Marchers were met with extreme violence that was broadcast around the country on television and in newspapers.  Hate and violence were exposed for the world to see.  While the segregated South died a legal death, racial discrimination is still a reality for far too many.

As people of faith whose movement was born out of discrimination and violence, MCC and the Global Justice Institute (GJI) know the harm injustice can do to a people.  We stand in solidarity with all who live on the margins and stand in need of a more just and equitable society.  We recognize that the movement for LGBT equality in the U.S. was rooted in the Civil Rights Movement.  Hatred motivated people to bomb both the 16th Street Baptist Church and Founders MCCLA.  Through the lens of faith, one cannot see a difference between charred bodies hanging from of a Louisiana lynching tree or the charred body framed in the window of a fire bombed Upstairs Lounge.  We are united.  And we seek to practice a faith that crosses lines of race, gender, gender expression, sexuality.

In this spirit, we extend an invitation for you to join us for the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March.  We invite all MCCers, friends, allies, and all people of faith to join us in Selma, Alabama, 5-9 March 2015.

 

 Selma 50

Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin, who was raised in segregated Alabama, will lead a delegation from the Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches in participating in the commemoration of the march. The GJI/MCC delegation will take part in all the weekend’s activities, including the march across the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on Sunday 8 March. 

 

Join us.  And pray for justice.

 

Contact Rev. Robert if you plan to attend.  Click here to register.

 

For more information, please contact:
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
RobertGriffin@MCCchurch.net
Executive Minister, Sunshine Cathedral MCC
Governing Board Member
MCC Global Justice Institute

Join MCC’s 2015 Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice

Dear MCC Leader:

We’re reaching out to you to ask for your congregation’s participation in MCC’s Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice! As we’ve seen in the past year, this work is more important now than ever before.

 

Your church’s participation in the Easter Offering Campaign for Global Justice will accomplish amazing things in the lives of oppressed people and advance the cause of justice around the globe.

 

Beginning next week and continuing through Pentecost, I’ll share details of this year’s project with you and tell you about opportunities for your congregation to interact with representatives from the Global Justice Institute.

 

Last year, your generous Easter Offerings empowered the Global Justice Institute to work with grassroots organizations to:

The Global Justice Institute joins with activists in Seoul to demand recognition of LGBTQ people
The Global Justice Institute joins with activists in Seoul to demand recognition of LGBTQ people.
  • Sponsor meetings in Kenya for affirming clergy working to create safe space for LGBTQI people;
  • Fund a safe house in Nigeria and safe scattered site housing in Kenya for Queer refugees;
  • Open the Asylum Seekers Assistance Program as the 1st full service ministry serving LGBTQI asylum seekers in New York City, offering legal, therapeutic and spiritual support, as well as peer mentorship;
  • Participate in the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia at Jakarta Theological Seminary, producing a joint declaration on sexuality and human equality mentorship;
  • Establish a partnership with Casabierta in Costa Rica, serving LGBTQI asylum seekers from Central America;
  • Convene a working Board of Directors representing our global interests and work;

Our goals for accomplishments in for 2015 include but are not limited to:

  • Further developing a partnership in Costa Rica for sheltering marginalized populations and working to reintegrate clients into society;
  • Partnering to establish the 1st satelite location of the Global Justice Institute in Kenya, giving us a working base in Africa;
  • Reviving the work of GJI and MCC in Jamaica;
  • Expanding outreach and developing small groups offering support in China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan;
  • Developing contacts in Argentina;
  • Expanding partnerships between local MCCs and GJI projects;
Celebrating our new partnership with Humanitas in Costa Rica!
Celebrating our new partnership with
Humanitas in Costa Rica!

By signing on, your church will support this critical work accomplished through the Global Justice Institute at a time when the support is needed globally more than ever!

 

TO SIGN UP TODAY:

 

Write to Global Justice Institute executive director Rev. Pat Bumgardner at revpat@globaljusticeinstitute.com and let us know that your church will collect a special, designated 2015 Easter offering.

 

In the coming weeks, we’ll send you the tools you need to get your congregation excited about the Easter Offering and the work of the Global Justice Institute!

 

What better time could there be than Easter for our shared offerings to bring hope and promise to our global siblings?

 

Can I count on your response this week?

 

Grace and peace,

Rev. Nancy Wilson Signature

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson

Moderator

Metropolitan Community Churches