DATE: 20 May 2015
Contact: Ann Craig, MCC Communications Consultant, email@example.com, 917-280-2968
MCC Announces Global Prayer Services and Actions Against Discrimination
Metropolitan Community Church launches Gilead Sabbaths after International Day Against Homophobia,Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) to help projects around the globe!
Leaders of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) announced the launch of a communion-wide effort to hold prayer services in local churches between today and the end of June to support global outreach to LGBTQ people living in hostile countries.
With this launch, MCC marked IDAHOTB, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, and began observing the Religious Institute's call for congregations nationwide to observe a Gilead Sabbath.
The Gilead Sabbath initiative works to end the violence and persecution faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people around the world by identifying worthy projects and asking congregations to take up an offering for one of these projects. This includes MCC's Global Justice Institute.
MCC Hartford (Connecticut, USA) observed the first MCC Gilead Sabbath with Marie Alford-Harkey, deputy director of the Religious Institute (5th from left), and their pastor Rev. Aaron Miller (rainbow stole).
"MCC Hartford joined faith congregations across the country in hosting a Gilead Sabbath," said Rev. Aaron Miller. "LGBTQI folk are 'fearfully and wonderfully made' and deeply and unconditionally loved by God. At MCC Hartford, we bow in prayer and then stand together for justice. Not just this day of observance, but every day."
"Easter offerings at many MCC churches went to support the Global Justice Institute. We are so honored that Gilead Sabbath is featuring the Global Justice Institute among so many international groups. This service will give more MCC churches, and churches from all denominations, a chance to support MCC's work with LGBTQ people around the world," said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, global moderator of MCC. "These are challenging times, and the Global Justice Institute is committed to work for the dignity of all our brothers and sisters."
"In many places around the world, MCC is known as 'The Human Rights Church,'" said the Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, executive director of the Global Justice Institute. "IDAHOTB and local church participation in the Gilead Sabbath will move our support of global outreach to a new level. Right now, we have partners in Eastern Europe where LGBTQ people are being assaulted at Pride marches and in Uganda and Kenya where Christians too often spew hatred in the name of Jesus. These are just a few of the many countries where MCC is working with partners on the ground to bring a word of hope."
Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, executive director of the Global Justice Institute, celebrating at MCC New York where she is the senior pastor.
Marie Alford-Harkey, deputy director of the Religious Institute, said, "We are thrilled to be partnering with MCC. As a leading denomination in the LGBTQ faith world, MCC can mobilize people of faith across the globe. As MCC pastors plan a Gilead Sabbath for global LGBTQ justice, the Religious Institute will be available by phone or email to offer worship resources or information."
The Gilead Sabbath Initiative works with congregations as they host worship services to pray for LGBTQ people facing hostility. Offerings are taken and sent to specific programs, such as MCC's Global Justice Institute.
The Religious Institute can be reached at (203) 222-0055 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.