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Metropolitan Community Church

Discussion in 'Liberal Christianity DIR' started by Green Gaia, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Metropolitan Community Church

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


    The Metropolitan Community Church (in full, The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches or UFMCC, or more commonly MCC) is an international fellowship of Christian congregations. It is considered by many to be a liberal mainline denomination or communion. There are currently 250 member congregations in 23 countries, and the Fellowship has a specific outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexualtransgender communities. The Fellowship has Official Observer status with the World Council of Churches. The MCC has been repeatedly denied membership in the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA but many local MCC congregations are members of local ecumenical partnerships around the world and MCC currently belongs to seven state-wide councils of churches in the United States.

    Theology and sociology

    MCC bases its theology on the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, and requires all its clergy, leaders, and member congregations recognize these creeds. Every church is required to offer the Eucharist at least once a week, and to practice open communion, meaning that recipients need not be a member of the MCC or any other church to receive the Eucharist. Communion can be presided over by either a member of the clergy or by a designated lay person; in some congregations the pastor or clergy rarely preside. Beyond that MCC allows its member churches independence in doctrine, worship, and practice. Worship styles vary widely from church to church.

    MCC sees its mission being social as well as spiritual standing up for the rights of minorities, particluarly those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT). MCC has been a leading force in the development of Queer Theology. Many local churches are also involved with other national and international campaigns, including Trade Justice and Make Poverty History.

    Among its social justice work, MCC has a strong commitment to marriage equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. MCC's founder, the Rev. Dr. Troy Perry, performed the first public same-sex marriage in the United States in Huntington Park, California in 1969. In 1970, he filed the first lawsuit in the U.S. seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriages. Perry lost that lawsuit but launched the debate over marriage equality in the U.S. Today, MCC congregations around the world perform more than 6000 same-sex wedding ceremonies annually.

    The Rev. Brent Hawkes and the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto were key players in the legal action that ultimately brought same-sex marriage to Canada.

    For many the defining aspect of MCC's theology is its position on homosexuality and Christianity where it fully embraces and welcomes lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Indeed, the majority of members are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, with many clergy being openly LGBT. MCC fully affirms the ministry of both men and women, seeing them as equal, and the recent election of the Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson as Moderator makes MCC one of a small number of communions with female senior leadership. Additionally, it is almost unique in having the majority of senior leaders being women.


    Governance and administration

    MCC is led by a Board of Elders (BOE) and a Board of Administration (BOA). The Board of Elders consists of a Moderator, Vice-Moderator, and 8 regional Elders. The BOE has responsibility for leading the Fellowship on matters of spirituality, mission, development and Christian witness. Currently 8 out of the 10 member Board of Elders are women. The Board of Administration is made up of up to seven members appointed by the Board of Elders and is the legal corporate board of the denomination, handling responsibility for financial and fiduciary matters. The two Boards are assisted by a small permanent staff, headed by the Executive Director, currently the Rev. Cindi Love.

    The current Board of Elders is made up of:


    • Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson (Moderator)
    • Rev Elder Don Eastman (Vice-Moderator)
    • Rev Elder Debbie Martin
    • Rev Elder Jim Mitulski
    • Rev Elder Arlene Ackerman
    • Rev Elder Cecilia Eggleston
    • Rev Elder Diane Fisher
    • Rev Elder Darlene Garner
    • Rev Elder Lillie Brock
    MCC headquarters are in West Hollywood, California, USA -- at 8704 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, California 90069 -- although there are denominational staff located in other locations.

    The bi-annual (until 2007 after which General Conference will take place on a three year cycle) General Conference is the sovreign governing body of UFMCC with authority to create and amend the Constitution and By-laws, receive reports from the various Boards, Committees, Commissions and Councils of the Fellowship. The General Conference moves around and has been held in and out of the continental United States, in places such as Sydney, Australia, Toronto, Canada and Calgary, Canada. The next General Conference in 2007 will be held in Phoenix, Arizona.

    MCC divides the World into 8 regions each served by an elder (broadly similar to a Bishop - although the use of this term is controversial within the denominaton) who has authority to affiliate and disaffiliate churches, appoint regional staff and spend funds from the regional budget. They have no direct control over the appointment of pastors or the day-to-day operation of congregations, instead their role is to support the pastors and local congregations.

    As a Fellowship each affiliated member Church of MCC is a self-governing legally autonomous body, being led by an ordained pastor and a local congregation administrative body. In the United States and Canada the local congregation administrative body is usually called "board of directors". Each local congregation sends a tithe of income to UFMCC, currently set at 14% of income. Each local church elects its own pastor from the roster of MCC clergy.

    A recent inovation has been for some Congregations to explore multi-affiliation. New Spirit Community Church in Berkeley, California was founded by MCC people but, in addition to MCC affiliation, has affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.


    History

    The first congregation was founded in Los Angeles by the Rev.Troy Perry in 1968, a time when Christian attitudes toward homosexuality were almost universally negative. MCC has grown since then to have a presence in 22 countries with over 300 member churches. During that time many local congregations have been the victims of homophobic hate crimes and more than 6000 members were lost during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

    Troy Perry served as moderator of the Fellowship until 2005 when Nancy Wilson was elected by the General Conference as moderator. Wilson was formally installed as moderator in a special service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on October 29, 2005.


    MCC Music

    There are a number of musicians within MCC who have explored Christian music within a LGBT context. Among the most notable are Marsha Stevens and Rev Delores P Berry.


    External links


     
  2. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Very interesting... I will definitely be looking into the "Joy MCC" here in Orlando when I get back in town next week. :D Thanks for the info.
     
  3. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    Our local MCC (Garden of Grace) recently voted to disaffiliate with the MCC, and is now seeking affiliation with the United Church of Christ. I'm not a member -- just get the newsletter -- so I don't know why.
     
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