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June 2, 2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: 2 June 2017

Contact: 

Linda Brenner, lindabrenner@mccchurch.net, 941-321-7886

Ann Craig, craignewyork@gmail.com, 917-280-2968


 

MCC Leaders Denounce Withdrawal from Paris Accord


U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord brought condemnation from global church leaders of the highly influential Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). With churches in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America, MCC leaders were quick to point out that Trump's unilateral decision will hurt the poorest of the poor around the world who live in vulnerable locations with fragile shelters.

"We have a moral and ethical obligation as world leaders to not step away from this agreement. The Paris Accord is a minimal standard. It is just a beginning. To abandon this now breaks our promise to the world and to all people," said Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown, Interim Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. "As the head of Metropolitan Community Churches, I am keenly aware that the Bible reminds us that we were formed out of the earth and given responsibility to care for the earth. This makes climate care a matter of our faithful duty."

 

Rev. Dr. Kharma Amos, MCC Associate Director of the Office of Formation and Leadership Development, said, "I'm appalled and deeply saddened by the news of the United State's President's decision to break unity with our allies around the moral imperative to address climate change. Most of President Trump's comments had to do with restoring dignity and power to the United States, with absolutely no acknowledgment that there is no 'United States of America' if there is no Earth. Every person of every faith and of no faith relies upon this planet that sustains us. To abandon cooperative efforts to preserve this resource, our home, in favor of individual or national profits is perverse. I pray that the people of the planet (whatever our citizenships) will help our leaders understand that we need one another desperately in these times."

"Mr. Trump can deny science until he is blue in the face, but it won't change the reality that our climate is rapidly deteriorating because of human activity, and we need all the efforts of all of the nations to stop global warming. I am disgusted that the United States now joins only Nicaragua and Syria as the only nations not on board with the Paris Agreement," said Rev. Rich Hendricks, Senior Pastor of Metro Community Church of the Quad Cities, Davenport, Iowa, USA.


"Mr. Trump's action is shameful and, no doubt, will be remembered as a regrettable moment in U.S. history as the day the earth stood still and listened -- while the door of reason, human decency, global responsibility, and personal integrity slammed shut. May we become united in honoring the Paris Accord in every home, city, and state across this country, appropriately leaving the White House standing alone where it has chosen to stay--in the past," said Rev. Aaron Miller, Senior Pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Rev. Miller and Rev. Hendricks are Co-Chairpersons of MCC's Creation Care Committee.


Standing out for LOVE at Franklin Graham's Decision America Rally

September 1, 2016 

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We stand with Charleston. 

 

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Photo by Rev. Terri Steed Pierce

 (Click photo for video)
 
 
 
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Click Photo to hear Rev. Aaron Miller speak at the Pride Marriage Equality Rally June 26, 2015

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Metropolitan Community Church celebrating Marriage Equality in Hartford, June 26, 2015

 
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PRESS RELEASE

 

DATE:  20 May 2015

 

Contact:  Ann Craig, MCC Communications Consultant, craignewyork@gmail.com, 917-280-2968

Jason O'Neill, MCC Communications, JasonONeill@MCCchurch.net, 508-246-8416

 

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.

 

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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."

 

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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 alford-harkey@religiousinstitute.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.

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Walk Against Hunger for Hands On Hartford May 3, 2015
 
 

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MCC Stands for Marriage Equality!  April 26, 2015
 
 

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Jen Siskind from Food And Water Watch speaks about fracking - April 26, 2015
 
 

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MCC Hartford was there!  (Click picture for video)

September 21, 2014

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(Click Picture Above for News Video Clip and AP Article)
 
 
 

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OPENING REMARKS by Rev. Aaron Miller

Transgender Day of Remembrance – November 20, 2013

 

 

As pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford,

I offer a warm welcome to each and everyone who is gathered here tonight

and offer a special welcome to

Senator Beth Bye and all our speakers and musicians.

 

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is an international annually held event that began with the murder of Rita Hester in 1999, a murder that remains unsolved to this day, with JUSTICE DENIED.

 

Each year since, we have gathered to remember the lives lost the previous year---reading the names of those who have been murdered.  Like Rita Hester’s, these murders, will likely remain unsolved as well, with JUSTICE DENIED.

 

NAMES -- 45 will be read of the 238 total.  This number is likely significantly understated because proper reporting of anti-transgender murders is difficult.  These murders share something in common---they involve OVER-KILL and are largely Transgender women of color.

 

NAMES

 

NAMES that remind us of lives cut short, dreams shattered, and families broken.

NAMES that remind us of our own fragile existence and its uncertainty.

NAMES of children, 13 and 16 year olds, many under the age of 20.

NAMES of those in our country and across the globe.

NAMES of those who cross lines of sex, gender, race, status, and privilege.

NAMES of lives that were precious, taken by the hands of ignorance and hate.

------------------------------------

These NAMES have now become angels among us,

calling US by name---

asking us to care---

and reminding us that our work is not done until…

 

ALL are free to be and free to become

whole and holy

authentic and true

affirmed, valued, and loved.

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We stand together in this moment of time---

 to remember and mourn our loss,

to celebrate the lives of the courageous,

and to commitment to making this a safer world for us all--

so that we may all --- live life fully ----and with integrity.

We stand together…in grief, with hope and love.

 

 

 

CLOSING REMARKS and sending…

 

May we go from this place

To REMEMBER…

To DEMAND JUSTICE…

And to BE the justice and change we need.

 

May we go from here

to love wider, love deeper,

holding a sacred promise

to put our love into ACTION.

 

In their names and for all our names’ sake, may it be so.  Amen.

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 Blumenthal, Lembo, LGBT Activists Call On Speaker Boehner To Bring Employment Non-Discrimination Bill To House Floor

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Friday, November 8, 2013 (Press Release)

(Hartford, CT) - Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) - joined by Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Robin McHaelen, founder and executive director of True Colors, Inc., and the Rev. Aaron Miller of Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford - called on U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the House floor for a vote. Although ENDA passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 64-32 yesterday, the legislation's path forward in the House is uncertain as Speaker Boehner has indicated that he opposes it. 

"No one in this country should go to work in fear of being fired because of whom they love," Blumenthal said. "I call on Speaker Boehner to follow the U.S. Senate's lead and bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the House floor so members can vote on this landmark civil rights legislation. While I'm proud to be from one of 21 states that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, we need a comprehensive federal law to support states like Connecticut and deter employers across the country from committing such abuses. ENDA would greatly assist Connecticut employees who are victims of discrimination by providing federal sanctions that apply regardless of where their employer is located."

"Economic growth and opportunity cannot coexist with discrimination," Lembo said. "This week's Senate victory - and a threatened holdout from the Speaker of the House of Representatives - is a reminder that every civil rights movement in history is celebrated incrementally. Both personally and professionally, as the state's chief fiscal guardian, I remain hopeful that Speaker Boehner will quickly recognize that our nation's economic recovery depends on a job market built on fairness and equality. I am grateful to live in a state where our entire federal delegation - both in the Senate and the House - is supportive and fighting for adoption of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)."

ENDA would prohibit employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor-management committees from discriminating in employment or employment opportunities on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The legislation prohibits the use of sexual orientation or gender identity as a "motivating factor" for any adverse employment action, even if there were other factors influencing the adverse action. ENDA also prohibits employer retaliation against employees seeking redress under these newly established protections.

In 1991, Connecticut passed a comprehensive law that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and access to credit on the basis of sexual orientation. That law was amended in 2007 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of civil union status, and again in 2011 to include gender identity or expression. Connecticut is one of 21 states that have prohibited employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA would further deter such abuses and establish a national standard.

 

Press Conference November 8, 2013, 10:30am

Remarks by Rev. Aaron Miller

Senator Blumenthal, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, and Robin McHaelen

 

Thank you Senator Blumenthal for inviting me to speak today…and for your consistent stance for justice and equality.

 

As the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford, a church that has been serving the spiritual needs of the LGBTQI Community for over 40 years now and leading in its pilgrimage to full and equal rights, I am passionate around the issue of justice and equality also.

 

As a pastor, I see firsthand the affects of discrimination – and the harm it does.  It is not just a lost job opportunity---it is the long-term cumulative effect that discrimination has to one’s self image and to one’s very soul.  Although CT has laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, there is still fear around being shunned and shamed in being our TRUE selves in the communities where we live and at the places where we work, in and beyond CT. 

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…

 

My experience ---is that over a long period of time, discrimination chips away until it becomes internalized and LGBTQI people begin to BELIEVE they are less than, inferior, and wrong instead of blessed and a blessing, living life fully and productively. 

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…

 

The golden rule is prominent in various religions and philosophies----that we are to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Christian faith takes it one step further---calling us to love one another as we love ourselves.

 

Discrimination is the antithesis of the golden rule---for it more than divides---it turns us against one another and, more damaging, it turns us against ourselves….we begin to believe we are unloved and, even worse, unlovable and carry a deep sense of unworthiness.

 

This robs the soul; which affects not the one --- but the many as it ripples wider and wider still----until it affects us all. 

 

·         There are times that I have cried with those who are transgender who have become broke and broken when outright denied employment, when gender identity becomes a job qualification.

 

·         I have held those who are gay or lesbian in my arms as they shared their anguish from the shadows, where they hide their true selves to keep their job.

 

·         And, I have prayed with those who despair, believing no one will hire them EVER---even when qualified with the skills and abilities.

 

I have seen hope waiver and I have seen that light go dark, leaving the question—what sense does it really make to keep on living?

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…

 

Stonewall started a movement more than 40 years ago…and that movement now has momentum.   As we watch marriage equality arrive – state by state…     

 

And, that momentum reached the Senate floor this week with the passage of ENDA.  Justice IS rolling down like a river.  It will not --- it CANNOT be denied.

 

17 years ago ENDA was introduced for Senate vote by the Late Senator Ted Kennedy who was early to arrive on this very bill that he co-sponsored.  So how very fitting that we pass this bill as it turns 18, working together to secure this milestone into its adulthood.

 

I am a pastor who does much healing work around self image, depression, and hopelessness.  I believe the time has come for us to stop the harm --- with this vote by the House---that will ensure justice and equality, so that ALL Americans have an equal opportunity to survive and THRIVE.  

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…

 

ENDA is designed to protect against workplace discrimination for LGBTQI Americans---but we are more than LETTERS…we are people who live and love, who have hopes, dreams, and desires.  We are your sister, your son, your uncle, and your mother.  We are your neighbor, your spouse, and your friend.  We are your political leaders and your church congregants.  And, we should have the right to be your co-workers, working toward success together. 

 

We have had 17 years now to GROW to this place in time where we say FAIRNESS and EQUAL OPPORTUNITY are among our deepest held American values, because we care about ALL people. 

This bill turning 18 is a perfect time to say it has reached the age of majority that, like the majority now believes, ALL must be given full agency to love who we love and to be who we are – without FEAR --- in the workplace or anywhere. 

 

This is more than tolerance, more than acceptance, it is celebrating our wonderful differences---embracing that we are created EQUAL AND EQUALLY created by GOD and possessing inalienable rights.  Sure, laws don’t change hearts…but they DO lead the way for hearts to follow. 

 

I am confident that ultimately equality and justice will prevail.  It is not a matter of IF----but WHEN.  

 

So, let us commit then to end division and prejudice WHEREVER we find it BECAUSE….

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…

 

I believe this is a defining moment….one in which we can ensure the workplace playing field is level and that no one is MADE TO FEEL LESS THAN or UNWORTHY because of WHO they love and WHO they are.

 

Make no mistake about it…there is a moral imperative here…for souls are at stake…, including the very soul of this COUNTRY – souls that are damaged by discrimination. 

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…

 

Let us commit to NO MORE tears, NO MORE shadows.  We must ALL have a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

That is more than a declaration of independence…it is a declaration of interdependence…

 

THE TRUTH IS…WE NEED US ALL…TO SURVIVE AND THRIVE.

 

It is TIME --- to do the GOOD AND RIGHT thing and pass ENDA.

 

Thank you…and Amen!!




Printable DOC or PDF

This letter was submitted to organizers in Washington DC as part of a collective endorsement by faith leaders as the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of DOMA and Proposition 8, beginning March 26, 2013.




Printable DOC or PDF

MCC is a compassionate community of faith, and a spiritual home where all people can experience the liberating love of God.