27 November 2019
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. It is very much a US tradition. However, as my wife is American, it is now something we celebrate together. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner the first time with UK family and friends last year, and went around the dining table, each person sharing something that they were thankful for. For me, it was a very special moment. I had sat around a table with these individuals, enjoying good food and laughter, many times before. This was the first time though, with most of them, that I really heard them speaking from the heart about what they valued. Overwhelmingly, the themes were about belonging and relationships – being part of a loving family or having great friends. One of the greatest gifts that MCC offers to our people is a community where they belong. We offer a spiritual home, a faith family, a safe space to be fully ourselves. There will be many people celebrating Thanksgiving this week with people from their MCC family.
MCCers around the world are doing amazing things to build inclusive communities. After all, “community” is our middle name. As we share our stories and experiences of doing this, we can learn from each other, support and encourage each other. I recently attended the National Retreat for our churches in Brazil. MCC is known as ICM in Brazil - Igrejas da Comunidade Metropolitana. One of our churches, ICM Maringa, runs a mission house which provides safe shelter for up to 16 LGBT+ people at a time, giving them a home, support and a place where they belong. ICM Sao Paulo feeds homeless people twice a week and runs a group for trans people, a unique space which offers spiritual, as well as practical, support. ICM Rio has an active PAD ministry (People of African Descent) which is raising issues about the racism that is founded in Brazil’s colonial past and which still deeply affects Black people in Brazil today. ICM Belo Horizonte has a ministry of “artivism” – using art and drama to focus on justice issues.
There are inspiring and innovative ministries like these going on throughout our Fellowship. As a global movement, we share the same values of inclusion, community, spiritual transformation and justice. My prayer and my intention is that we, as MCC, will work together even more closely, to share what we have with each other, so that we are stronger together around the world. That is something to be truly thankful for.