Greetings!

What a wonderful time in worship last Sunday! The Spirit was moving, new people were in attendance, and many of you were back to onsite worship! It seems our onsite crowd is growing each week, and that thrills me. It's so good seeing you in person after such a long time away. I hope that by the time our anniversary rolls around, we'll have everyone back onsite that lives within driving distance. 

Speaking of anniversary, we plan to celebrate on October 9th, and some special things are being planned. I'll announce some of them this weekend. Don't forget, one way to celebrate our 54th anniversary is to purchase gifts for the church. There are several specific gifts that are under the Generosity Tree in the sanctuary. Each item listed has the price and the vender to make it easy to purchase, and the items have a wide range of prices. Thank you for sharing your generosity!

Each Sunday, we're exploring multiple subjects, but all through the lens of generosity. This Sunday, the message is entitled, You Is Smart, You Is Kind, You Is Important, a line taken from the movie, The Help. If you'd like to read ahead, check out Luke 16:1-13 (The Voice). I look forward to seeing you in worship this Sunday!

Pastor Keith
 In The Spotlight/Outside The Church Walls!  
Glen Payne Memorial Card Ministry
One of the ministries that starts at church, then goes wherever YOU are, is our card ministry. Thank you to the Glen Payne for starting this ministry many years ago, and to Pam Fairbanks, Lea Polumbarit, and Art Fisher for carrying on this ministry.
Franklin Calvin Memorial - Tomorrow  
Come celebrate the life of Franklin Calvin with his family and Exodus Metropolitan Community Church at 3pm CST (1pm PST) TOMORROW, Saturday, September 17. All are welcome to attend in person at 1933 South 27th - Abilene, Texas. A link for Zoom will also be available soon for those who cannot come in person. The family requests that a donation to Exodus MCC be made in lieu of flowers.

Here is the Zoom Link for the memorial service:

Board Meeting - Next Tuesday 
Our monthly board meeting will be next Tuesday, 9/20, at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. Our board meetings are open to everyone, so feel free to attend. Here's the link:  


Meeting ID: 890 8554 1201
Passcode: 476711
New Wednesday Night Study Series 
After a great time of sharing with Rev. Alex about U.S. interventions in Latin America, we'll catch up on the plan to discuss gun violence: Hunting Rights and the Rights of the Hunted.
Join us live September 21st at 7:30pm PT on Facebook, or on Zoom: 


Our technical difficulties behind us, segments of this series will be posted for you to watch and join the conversation anytime!

Nancy Wilson's Ministry Jubilee: 50 years of service and not done yet!
Celebrate Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson's 50 years of ministry with MCC and help move us forward. From pastoring local churches to working for the denomination, to being the ecumenical and interfaith voice of MCC, to becoming the second Moderator of MCC, to pastoring local congregations again, Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson has served MCC for 50 years. Nancy is not done yet and neither is MCC!
Help us raise $50,000 (US) in Nancy's honor! We have a matching gift of $25,000. Help us match it and even surpass our goal.
You may donate using this link:

 
You are invited to join Nancy and her local congregation, SunCoast MCC, for these celebrations.

Dinner and Congratulations
Saturday * September 24, 2022 * 4:00 PM
Bay Indies – Indies House
Please Register in Advance for the Dinner
 
Worship Service
Sunday * September 25, 2022 * 10:00 AM
SunCoast Metropolitan Community Church
3276 E. Venice Avenue, Venice, Florida, USA 34292
Guest Preacher: Florida State Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby
who is an out lesbian and person of faith.
 
Clergy attending Sunday Worship Service are invited to wear a gold or white stole.
 
Send a note of congratulations on your church letterhead and attach it to an email. send it to info@suncoastmcc.com
Workshop
Join us on Thursday, September 29th, for an illuminating discussion on "Ochumaré's Rainbow & The River Maid: Queerness in Black Atlantic Religions."  You will hear Ahmad Greene-Hayes, Ph.D., facilitate a conversation with Khytie Brown, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Pérez, Ph.D. about symbols and traditions in Black Atlantic religions that are associated with gender-nonconforming experience or the fluidity of gender, sexuality and nonnormative intimacies.  You can read more about the program and these outstanding presenters here: 

In Memoriam - Joel Wilsey 
Joel was preceded in death by his Mother Violetta, his father Clayton, both of Carpentersville, IL, his brother Milton (Fred Setzler) of Monte Rio, CA, his niece Diane Marie of Brooklyn Center, MN, and his sister Maria of Eureka, CA.

Joel is survived by his husband John Sanchez, his two adopted sons, Nathaniel and Leonidas Sanchez/Wilsey all of Encino, CA, and several children that he fostered with his husband John: Alex, Tommy, Mikey, Lucas, Randall, Jayden, Sarmen, and Nicholas. He is also survived by his brother George (Bonnie) Wilsey of Brooklyn Center, MN, his brother Albert (Roberta) Wilsey of Gilbert, AZ, his sister Diane Wilsey-Susong (Charlie Hitchcock) of Woodstock, IL and many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.

Joel passed away after a long battle with cancer on September 2, 2022, in his home in Encino, CA. Joel's "Bye for Now!" Celebration of life service will be held on October 1, 2022, at 1 PM at the First Baptist Church of Pasadena, CA with the Reverend John Jay Alvaro officiating. Friends and family are encouraged to attend. There will be a fellowship meal immediately following the service. Joel will be laid to rest on October 5, 2022, at Camellia Memorial Lawn in Sacramento, CA.
Membership Inquirer's Class - Oct. 2
Do you want to know more about FMCC? Have you thought about joining our Faith community? Now is the time to learn more about our local church, as well as our denomination. We'll offer a Membership Inquirer's Class on Sunday, October 2nd, at 11:30 a.m. online and on-site! Rev. Steve Swafford will teach the class, and then we'll offer membership on Sunday, October 9th during worship for those who decide to move forward in membership. Please send a message to Rev. Keith if you are planning to attend the class at revkeith@mccla.org(Note: You are not required to join the church after the class, but those who DO join the church are required to attend a Membership Inquirer's Class before joining.)
Generosity Tree
Soon, we will celebrate our church's 54th Anniversary! What better way to celebrate than to bring anniversary gifts that can benefit everyone?! This Sunday, we have a "Generosity Tree" that has two types of gift suggestions: physical gifts (like tools) and gifts of service (like donation of time for a specific project). Each week, more items will be added, so take some time to peruse the tree to see what you may want to contribute. You'll notice that each branch of the tree is dedicated to a person whose legacy to FMCC is generosity. Let's make this an anniversary to remember!
FMCC's 54th Anniversary - Homecoming  
"Start spreadin' the news"!!! Founders MCC's 54th Anniversary celebration will be on October 9th at the church. We want this to be an old-time Homecoming! We'll have a guest speaker, special music, and a catered lunch after worship! We can't wait to see everyone IN PERSON here at FMCC for a wonderful celebration! More details to be revealed! In the meantime, put it on your calendar, and spread the word to anyone and everyone that's ever been a part of FMCC. Let them know - it's time to come HOME.
Monkey Pox Vaccine Available 
LA County now has another limited supply of Monkeypox Vaccine available. You can sign up here: https://lacpublichealth.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aY96Sxs2lUgUZb8
Change In Covid-19 Protocols
As we continue to cope with Covid-19, we are changing our protocols. The new protocols are in line with the rest of LA County. Until further notice, here are our guidelines:
1. We will no longer require vaccinations and boosters for church attendance, though we highly encourage them.
2. We will make wearing masks optional. Please feel free to continue wearing masks as you feel comfortable.
3. We will invite congregants to wear a green sticker if they are amenable to handshakes and hugs.
4. We ask people that have symptoms of (or tested positive for) Covid, flu, monkeypox, or any other easily communicable disease to please refrain from attending until they are well.
As we have from the very beginning of the pandemic, we will continue to keep in line with the advice of the LA County Public Health Department. Thank you so much for your patience as we navigate new guidelines.
Volunteers Needed!
Our Media Team is looking for gifted people who can create PowerPoint, operate Sound, operate the new church app, and operate Cameras. If you are already gifted in these areas (or you want to find out if you're gifted in these areas!), please contact Rev. Keith at revkeith@mccla.org
Tithes & Offerings
Thank you to all who have given so generously through our online giving portal. Our church cannot function without your generosity!! Feel free to continue giving through our website (on PushPay) or simply sending a check in the mail (4607 Prospect Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027). Again, thank you.
Evening Vespers
Hospitality - online - after worship!
Don't forget that we have a time of Hospitality after worship each Sunday. The link is at the top of the first page of our website. Come and have some fun with your church family!
Introducing …
Our New Internal MCC Website!
Made just for YOU
Lay Leaders and Clergy of MCC
As many of you know, MCC has been in a three year process of revising our web presence and communications strategy. Our hope has been to ensure that our web presence is targeted to the appropriate audiences and provides easy access to the information and resources that respective audiences are looking for. Ultimately, of course, we hope to reach more people with the life-saving message and ministries of Metropolitan Community Churches.

The first phase was the launch of our visitor-based website at www.VisitMCCchurch.com. This website is aimed at those who do not yet know MCC, but who share our core values and are searching for the type of churches and spiritual communities that are a part of MCC. This external, visitor-based site introduces people to MCC, and is completely multilingual. Visitors can hear our stories through the testimonies of MCCers writing about their experiences in their own languages. They can also quickly locate the most up to date information about all of our congregations around the world. The VisitMCCchurch.com site also includes news coverage of MCC and individual leaders and congregations worldwide.

The second phase of our redesign is now complete through the launch of our new internal website at www.InsideMCC.org. This site is very specifically targeted to MCCers - clergy, lay leaders, church members, etc. Our goal for this site is for it to be (a) simple, (b) easy to navigate, and (c) successful at providing MCCers with the resources and information you need to do your best work. At InsideMCC.org you will find up-to-date contact information for Staff, Elders, Governing Board Members, Commissions, etc. You will also be directed to our new Resource Bank where you can find everything from worship resources to financial reports. The site also contains information about how to best find and utilize the resources that are available.
We encourage you to spend some time reviewing the new site(s), and as always, we invite your feedback. We also urge you to read the various READ ME FIRST documents found in different sections of the Resource Bank. Watch for the announcement of introductory videos about the new InsideMCC.org site and the Resource Bank. 

We are striving to be more inclusive and accessible in terms of language. While the website is created in English, Google Translate can make it more accessible to other languages. The same is true of the Resource Bank. Google Translate can be used on any of the documents whether the original is in Spanish, Portuguese or English. We acknowledge the limitations of the current technology noting that some MCC/ICM terms may not translate accurately and that the technology may not reflect the cultural nuances and evolution of language. Still, this is a big step forward in making our resources available to all of our global MCC members. 

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Communications@MCCchurch.net.


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Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.

Not a day goes by when the reality of hearing someone regret alcohol or drug addiction, whether it's of a personal narrative or they’re concerned about someone else. Addiction has become a global health problem and it is recognized that it is not limited only to the consumption of alcohol and drugs, whether legal or illegal. An addiction extends to gambling, playing video games, sex, and food, to name a few.

Substance addiction is substantially increased among LGBTQ communities, and studies confirm that the battles facing our community are heightened by stigma, discrimination, and other challenges that the heterosexual population does not normally face.

The Council of Elders of The Metropolitan Community Churches recognize that our local churches and faith communities are not immune to the effects and consequences of addiction. We recognize that our recovery is a spiritual one and that our faith has power, as well as our prayers. The path to recovery and sobriety begins with an inclusive and compassionate love, which helps people facing addiction feel empowered to express their desire to rehabilitate.

By uniting our voices, the narrative of our stories enables people who are in search of the courage to take their first steps toward recovery. This also provides continuing encouragement to those who have been on the journey of a sober life. And those who have years of living sober can testify of the many ways they maintain their sobriety, which often happens moment by moment, step by step, day by day.

What can be done? To begin with, it’s important to recognize that our churches and faith communities are affected by addiction, and in providing a space without prejudice of presence and language, we can affirm rather than criticize. This makes way for a spirit of humility, compassion, and acceptance, allowing those facing addiction to feel that they can be present without the harm of rejection.

Second, let our faith respond and inspire us to speak, preach, and educate our communities about addiction. Our MCC-ICM Communities are connected by blood and spirit, and we have a great influence on society and the ability to support healthy lifestyles. The narrative of lives in recovery and sobriety is the bridge of hope for many people who are on the road to transforming their lives.
In addition, the success of achieving a life of sobriety comes from the same support of those who are on a similar journey. We must never diminish the power of encouragement that is created between the dynamics of family, community, and friendships in reference to our recovery stories. Celebrating every step toward sobriety, no matter how small or large the step, offers great help and this support is invaluable.
 
Thirdly, awareness of the many resources at the community, national, and international level is critical. September, for example, is Recovery and Sobriety Month in the USA and celebrates the many stories that inspire and promote the power of family and community in the lives of people facing and struggling with an addiction. And last year, 2021, an on-line global event was created designating September 30th as International Day of Recovery. These are two means in which people can connect, promote, support someone, or find support toward the path of recovery and sobriety.

Finally, every journey begins with a single step and the journey to recovery and sobriety for many begins with the Alcoholics Anonymous and their Twelve Steps. What follows is an excerpt from chapter 11 of the AA Big Book, “A Vision for You” along with links to some resources. 
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask God in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the person who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with The Divine is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. 
 
Abandon yourself to God as you understand The Divine. Admit your faults to The Divine and to your trusted network. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you -- until then.”
 
Resources:

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:

REV. ELDER ALEJANDRO ESCOTO
Founder's Metropolitan Community Church Board Of Directors
Rev. Keith Mozingo (Moderator)
Martin Covarrubias (Vice Moderator)
Kim Doneche (Clerk)
Gef Aviles (Co-Treasurer)
Tony Martinez (Co-Treasurer)
Roger Owens (Governance)
Bob Stayton (Properties Committee)
Parking Available
Children's Hospital has so graciously volunteered up to 10 spaces for us to park. It is a small lot off Sunset Blvd., just beyond the Metro Station entrance.