|Easter 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:
In 2015, with the help of this year’s offering, GJI plans to:
How do I help?
Participating in the 2015 Easter Offering for Global Justice
MCC New York
MCC of Winston-Salem
SunCoast Cathedral MCC
MCC of Greater St. Louis
Northern Lights MCC
MCC Good Shepherd
MCC of the Blue Ridge
MCC of Paducah
Holy Cross MCC
Central Texas MCC
Love Alive International Sanctuary of Praise
MCC Key West
MCC of the Spirit
MCC Baton Rouge
Open Door MCC
All God’s Children MCC
Open Circle MCC
Founders MCC Los Angeles
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!”
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.
Thankfully, 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.
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.
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. “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.
Here are resources to help your advocacy:
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, backgrounds, 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.
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.
For more information, please contact:
Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
Executive Minister, Sunshine Cathedral MCC
Governing Board Member
MCC Global Justice Institute
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.|
- 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!
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 email@example.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. Dr. Nancy Wilson
Metropolitan Community Churches
We, the participants of the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia held at Jakarta Theological Seminary, believe that each person is created in the image of God, and each person is precious to God.
We affirm that sexuality is a divine gift, and hence God intends us to celebrate this divine gift in life-giving, consensual, and loving relationships. It is in such celebrations of our sexuality that we grow into the fullness of our humanity, and experience God in a special way.
We believe that our negative attitudes towards sexuality and our body-denying spirituality stem from distorted understandings of God’s purpose for us. The embodied God who embraced flesh in Jesus Christ is the ground for us to love our bodies and to celebrate life and sexuality without abuse and misuse. So God invites us to experience sexual fulfillment in our relationships of justice-love with the commitment to be vulnerable, compassionate, and responsible.
We recognize that there are people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. The very faith affirmation that the whole human community is created in the image of God irrespective of our sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions makes it imperative for us to reject systemic and personal attitudes of homophobia, transphobia and any kind of discrimination against persons of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
We believe that the Church as ‘Just and Inclusive Community’ is called to become a community without walls to reach out to people who are stigmatised and demonised, and be a listening community to understand their pains, desires, and hopes.
We envision Church as a sanctuary to the ostracised who thirst for understanding, friendship, love, compassion and solidarity, and as the Body of Christ that joins in their struggles to live out their God-given lives. So we appeal to the Christian communities to sojourn with people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions and their families without prejudice and discrimination, to provide them with ministries of love, compassionate care, and justice.
We implore Christian communities to begin to engage in dialogue – not debate – with persons with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions and listen to their stories and struggles as acts of love.
We urge churches, seminaries and Christian communities to engage diverse voices and perspectives in theological reflections, particularly persons of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. We encourage more research to be undertaken on issues pertaining to human sexuality in their respective socio-cultural context.
We hope and pray that the embodied God will bless our endeavours to grow into the fullness of life, and to transform our faith communities into communities of dignity, respect, egalitarianism, justice and love.
The Participants of the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia held at Jakarta Theological Seminary from 23rd to 26th November 2014:
1. Michael J Adee, Horizon Foundation (laity, USA)
2. Joas Adiprasetya (clergy, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
3. Bambang Subandrijo (laity, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
4. Dian Novita Kristiyani (laity, Talita Kum, Indonesia)
5. Ellen Patricia (laity, Indonesia)
6. Elly de Bell (clergy, Protestant Church in Western Indonesia, Indonesia)
7. Esther Bharathi (clergy, Church of South India)
8. Dewi Sinta Bratanata (clergy, Protestant Church in Western Indonesia, Indonesia)
9. Devon Cammock (clergy,Jamaica)
10. Luciano Chanhelela Chianeque (clergy, Angola)
11. Chung-Yen Chuan (laity, Tong Kwang Light House Presbyterian Church, Taiwan)
12. Mary Philline T. Descalzo (laity, WSCF-Asia Pacific, Philippines)
13. Abraham Ferdinandus (clergy, Protestant Church in Western Indonesia, Indonesia)
14. Surya Samudera Giamsyah (clergy, Indonesian Christian Church, Indonesia)
15. Vanya O. A. Ginting (laity, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
16. Joseph N. Goh (clergy, North American Catholic Ecumenical Church, Monash University, Malaysia)
17. Juliana Hindradjat (laity, Indonesia)
18. C.Y. Hoon (laity, Singapore)
19. Juswantori Ichwan (clergy, Indonesian Christian Church, Indonesia)
20. Septemmy Lakawa (clergy, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
21. Yael Lamorahan (clergy, Indonesian Christian Church, Indonesia)
22. Yosua Lamorahan (clergy, Evangelical Christian Church in Sangir Talaud, Indonesia)
23. Marjorie E. Lewis (clergy, Jamaica)
24. Laura Mustamu (clergy, Protestant Church in Western Indonesia, Indonesia)
25. Godson Lawson (clergy, Methodist Church of Togo)
26. Raymond Y.C. Lee (laity, Good Samaritan Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia)
27. Ratna Lesawengen (laity, Fellowship of Woman Theologians in Indonesia)
28. One Liew (laity, Good Samaritan Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia)
29. Nortje Lumbantoruan (clergy, Fellowship of Woman Theologians in Indonesia)
30. Adeleide Marasut (clergy, Fellowship of Woman Theologians in Indonesia)
31. Clare Amanda Mead (laity, Church of Sweden)
32. Donald Messer (clergy, USA)
33. Yohan David Misero (laity, LBH Masyarakat, Indonesia)
34. Teguh Wijaya Mulya (laity, Surabaya University, Indonesia)
35. Irene Dame N. Nainggolan (laity, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
36. Asnath Natar (clergy, Duta Wacana Christian University, Indonesia)
37. Ngeo Boon Lin (clergy, MCC New York, USA)
38. Dede Oetomo (laity, GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia)
39. King Oey (laity, Arus Pelangi, Indonesia)
40. Pauline Ong (clergy, Free Community Church, Singapore)
41. Pelangi Kurnia Putri (clergy, Indonesian Christian Church, Indonesia)
42. Philip Vinod Peacock (clergy, Bishop’s College, Kolkata, India)
43. Benny Prawira (laity, Indonesia)
44. Evangeline Pua (clergy, Indonesian Christian Church, Indonesia)
45. Darwita Purba (clergy, Duta Wacana Christian University, Indonesia)
46. Christopher Rajkumar (clergy, National Council of Churches in India)
47. Vincent Rajkumar (clergy, National Council of Churches in India)
48. Chillkuri Vasantha Rao (clergy, Andhra Christian Theological College, India)
49. Rosalita (laity, Talita Kum, Indonesia)
50. Theresia Pratiwi Elingsetyo Sanubari (laity, GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia)
51. Kristina Schneider (laity, Germany)
52. Mikha Zakharia Sebastian (laity, Indonesia)
53. Melinda Siahaan (clergy, STAKN Tarutung, Indonesia)
54. Miak Siew (clergy, Free Community Church – Singapore)
55. Lisbeth Simanjuntak (laity, WSCF-Asia Pacific, Indonesia)
56. Evani April Rama Sinurat (clergy, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
57. Nova Yulanda Putri Sipahutar (laity, WSCF-Asia Pacific, Indonesia)
58. Stephen Suleeman (clergy, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
59. Khanis Suvianita (laity, GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia)
60. Nicole Siu Wing Sze (laity, WSCF-AP, Hong Kong)
61. Lisiani Tambunan (laity, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia)
62. Simeon Theojaya (laity, Indonesia)
63. Nova Tumbol (laity, STAKN Palangkaraya, Indonesia)
64. Jonah Vincent (clergy, India)
65. Vinod Wesley (clergy, Gurukul Theological Seminary, Chennai, India)
66. Pearl Wong (laity, Queer Theology Academy, Hongkong)
67. Danny Irawan Yatim (laity, Indonesia)
68. Free Community Church, Singapore
69. Metropolitan Community Church (USA)
70. Youth Interfaith Forum on Sexuality (YIFoS – Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
We are continually alarmed by the number of people, especially youth, who are subjected to so-called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy” that seeks to teach them that their sexual orientation and gender identify or expression is inherently evil and can be changed. This is not only an affront to our religious beliefs, it has been repudiated by the American
Medical Association and the American Psychological Association and condemned by those who have survived it. It is spiritual and psychological abuse, and it is time to end it. Only two states (California and New Jersey) and the District of Columbia have statutory bans on “conversion therapy.” Several high profile teen suicides (Leelah Alcorn and countless others) offer us a wake up call. We have the power to create meaningful change in the lives of marginalized youth. We enlist your help to ban such harmful work in
every state in the nation.
Here are some actions you can take to help end so-called “conversion therapy” and to save the lives of countless LGBTQI persons who are forced to endure it:
- Use change.org to start your own online petition drive to force your state legislature to act. Talk about why this is important, especially from your faith perspective. New York’s petition provides model language if you would like to use it.
- Share your petition on social media (and feel free to tag the Global Justice Institute and MCC). Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are popular options. Use the hashtag #BornPerfect
- Meet with your State Representatives
Photo Courtesy: Out & About Nashville
and State Senators and ask them to sponsor legislation that would ban “conversion therapy.” State legislatures are meeting now. If you need help crafting talking points, the Public Policy Team can help you.
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights has attorneys and policy experts who can support your work. They are working with sponsors in several states. Check out their resource guide here.
- Invite your congregation and pastoral care ministries to pray for those who have suffered through “conversion therapy.” Intercessory prayer works. It changes lives in ways seen and unseen.
- Engage in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue about the harmful effects of “conversion therapy.” Talk about the psychological and spiritual damage is causes. Several advocacy groups are making the victims’ stories available online. Share them. Teach our colleagues in ministry. We can all work toward agreement to do no harm.
Leelah begged us to do these things. In her suicide note, she said, “My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s f****d up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.” Do it for all the other youth whom we do not know. Help ban “conversion therapy” everywhere. All of God’s children deserve our love, support, and action.
For more information, contact the Public Policy Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This action alert was prepared by the Public Policy Team of
Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute.
Join MCC in a 24-hour Fast & Prayer Vigil for Justice on 15 January 2015, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. This will be an intentional time for individuals and faith communities to pray about and reflect upon the question: How can we BE JUSTICE that leads us through reconciliation to peace?
MCC’S People of African Descent (PAD) ministry is encouraging all faith communities to either (1) host a local Fast & Prayer Vigil for Justice and/or (2) invite the people of their faith communities to participate in the virtual MCC Fast & Prayer Vigil for Justice which will take place on Facebook . We ask that you LIKE the Facebook page today to received updates. Also, please SHARE theFacebook page with your Friends.
All are encouraged to post their prayers, reflections and meditations on the MCC webpage dedicated to the vigil.You may begin posting now about what you will fast from, pray for and ultimately what action you are being led to take.
Please let us know if your faith community is participating by contacting Rev. Vickey Gibbs at RevVickeyGibbs@MCCchurch.
Black LGBT Religious Leaders Act with Historically Black Churches: “Black Bodies Matter”
- Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM)
- Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
- Intentionally collaborate with Black civil rights and faith-based organizations, Black church denominations, and grassroots social justice actions.
- Participate in Black Lives Matter Sunday, December 14, by wearing black in solidarity and offering prayers to stop the violence against African Americans, to heal Ebola in Africa, and to end to the exportation of homo-hatred by conservative Evangelicals.