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MCC Moderator Holds Ecumenical Talks With UCC Officials

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    MCC Moderator Holds Ecumenical Talks With Officials Of The United Church of Christ Truly, they are our most faithful and treasured colleagues in the Christian
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2005
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      MCC Moderator Holds Ecumenical Talks With Officials Of The United
      Church of Christ

      "Truly, they are our most faithful and treasured colleagues in the
      Christian family in the United States," says Rev. Wilson.


      December 13, 2005

      This past week, Rev. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community
      Churches, visited the headquarters of the United Church of Christ in
      Cleveland, Ohio to participate in long-planned ecumenical meetings.
      Rev. Wilson met with UCC President John Thomas and Ecumenical Officer
      Lydia Veliko.

      Rev. Thomas and Rev. Wilson, both of whom previously served as the
      Ecumenical Officers of their respective denominations, reminisced
      about their past ecumenical work and updated each other on the state
      of their churches, their joys and their challenges.

      Rev. Wilson reports:

      "We talked about many specific issues of mutual interest and concern
      to our denominations and we reviewed the present climate in the church
      and society vis-�-vis LGBT rights and marriage equality. And during
      our meeting, we discussed moving toward creating protocols for both
      our denominations concerning possibilities of dual clergy
      credentialing and the dual denominational affiliation of congregations."

      Currently there is one dually-affiliated MCC/UCC congregation.

      "We also talked about the need for clear communication and mutual
      respect when there are churches that might want to transfer their
      denominational affiliation, and we discussed the need to be sensitive
      to the processes and issues that may arise. We agreed on the
      importance of proceeding with mutual care and intentionality in all
      that we do."

      Rev. Wilson will hold follow-up meetings with MCC leaders on these issues.

      Rev. Wilson discussed MCC's role as both a denomination and a
      movement. "I am excited about opportunities for mutual cooperation and
      collaboration between Metropolitan Community Churches and the United
      Church of Christ. To further our collaborative process, we talked
      about the similarities and difference in UCC's and MCC's history,
      structure, and polity and practices, as well as the importance of our
      distinctive identities and mission."

      Rev. Wilson emphasized the enormous importance of the "historical
      friendship and connection between the UCC and MCC, which we hope can
      continue and grow" and also held discussions about participation in
      the World Council of Churches General Assembly in Brazil in February
      of 2006.

      Rev. Wilson's cousin, Rev. Robert Chase, took her on a mini-tour of
      the nine-story UCC Headquarters, as well as the Office of
      Communications which he directs. The UCC Headquarters has a TV studio
      and production suite in which they recorded an interview with Rev.
      Wilson for archival purposes.

      Rev. Wilson then met with Dr. Ben Guess, the Editor of United Church
      News, who conducted a press interviewed her. Dr. Guess is an openly
      gay man and UCC pastor.

      Rev. Wilson also met with Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer. Rev. Schuenemeyer
      serves with Rev. Elder Diane Fisher on the Religious Roundtable of the
      National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. He wears many hats, including
      service as UCC's Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy, LGBT
      Ministries, and HIV/AIDS Ministries. Schuenemeyer works closely with
      MCC friend Bishop Yvette Flunder and her HIV/AIDS programs, and he
      will be participate in the joint ministry visit to Zimbabwe with
      Bishop Flunder and members of MCC.

      Schuenemeyer also helps resource and educate local UCC churches about
      their denomination's commitment to the full inclusion of LGBT people.
      He updated Rev. Wilson on the progress the UCC is making in increasing
      the number of Open and Affirming Churches. There are 580 presently
      (out of a total of 5700 UCC churches) -- or approximately 10% of the
      UCC's local congregations. He fully expects 200 more churches to join
      the ranks in the New Year as a direct response to recent UCC stands
      for same-sex marriages.

      In the midst of these hopeful opportunities, they also face the
      possible loss of hundreds of churches who disagree with the UCC's more
      inclusive stand for LGBT people of faith. They are very prepared for
      this eventuality and they also take hope in the number of progressive
      churches that are inquiring about joining.

      Schuenemeyer serves as the liaison with the UCC's independently
      organized Coalition for LGBT Concerns, which recently moved its
      offices and full-time staff to Cleveland, Ohio. They will soon hire a
      field director to work with congregations and associations struggling
      with LGBT issues.

      Rev. Wilson was introduced to other staff and one of the highlights
      was seeing Dr. Paul Sherry, the recent past President of the UCC and a
      long-time friend to both MCC and Rev. Wilson. Paul and his wife Mary,
      both of whom attended more than one MCC General Conference, are in
      good health. Paul says he is "failing retirement!" and is traveling a
      little too much, but loves his work. He is presently working for the
      National Council of Churches, (with office space at UCC Headquarters)
      directing the NCC's Campaign for a Living Wage, something dear to his
      heart for a long time.

      During the visit, Dr. Sherry extended an invitation for MCC to join
      the other 50 religious and civil organizations that are supporting
      this campaign, and he asked to be remembered to many MCC friends he
      has known and worked with over the years.

      "The hospitality, friendship and clear witness of the UCC are greatly
      valued by the people of MCC," said Rev. Wilson.

      "Truly, they are our most faithful and treasured colleagues in the
      Christian family in the United States."

      (END)


      For additional information on Metropolitan Community Churches, visit
      www.MCCchurch.org.



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