Now We Are Seven...Going On Forty-Nine
Happy Anniversary! Seven years ago last week, on August 15, 2010, MCC Sacred Journey was officially recognized as a congregation in the Metropolitan Community Churches. This makes our church very young, by church standards - young, and still growing and learning.
The same is true of our denomination. On October 6, Metropolitan Community Churches will turn 49. As we seek to confirm our direction, we do so with leadership from a new generation, in a context that is very different from that of our founding. Many things have changed since then; for example, Troy Perry would never have sat in on a Skype call with MCC leaders in Denver, New York, and Dallas... and might not have imagined that people from Cape Town, Stuttgart, Quezon City, Sydney, and London could be on that same call. But one thing has not changed... the prophetic call to stand for justice in a hurting world.
I have just returned from a very powerful Clergy Retreat. The 40-plus of us who gathered could not ignore last Saturday's horrible events in Charlottesville VA, where a man deliberately sped up as he drove into a group of counter-protestors. Nor could we ignore conflicting statements from the White House, or statements that implicitly sanctioned white supremacist groups. We spent most of our retreat talking about the structural inequities in the USA that perpetuate injustice. We committed to doing our own internal work, and unlearning our own prejudices about people of African descent, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, and just generally people who are in some way "not like us." We declared "white supremacy" - the worldview that "white" folks, more specifically straight white Christian men, ought naturally to be in charge of our towns, states, and nations - to be a sin, incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. In short: we returned to our roots as a church.
Our Interim Moderator, the Rev. Rachelle Brown, reminded us that MCC is both a church and a movement. It is a church, grounded in God as we understand God, through Jesus Christ. It is a community of disciples who grow in faith in Christ. And it is also a community of disciples of Jesus who do not stand idly by when entire groups of people are attacked. We are also a movement for social justice that stands in solidarity with others who are systematically oppressed, even threatened with violence.
We are both a church and a movement. On this, our seventh Anniversary Sunday, let us pray and discern together, as we continue to proclaim and share God's acceptance of all God's people.
Rev. Joan Saniuk