July 07, 2007

Report from the MCC Global Conference

The affirming Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) recently held it's annual global conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the stories featured in this Arizona Republic article was global and moving.

Garfield Mullings prays in secret. He worships while looking over his shoulder because he is a member of what is called the "gay church" in Jamaica. And that association could cost him his life.

"Living as a member of the community there is something that has to be done with the utmost care and utmost caution. People have to be very, very careful," said the parishioner of the Metropolitan Community Church. He goes by the name Mullings to protect his true identity, and potentially his life, from his countrymen.

But this week, Mullings said he prayed without fear. He was one of roughly 1,450 worshippers attending the Metropolitan Community Church global conference in Scottsdale.

"It's been overwhelming. To be able to be in an affirming place - where we can worship without having to look over our shoulders - is psychologically lifting," Mullings said.

The Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay said he recognized that same thirst in Nigeria, where he began a branch of Metropolitan Community Church in the country about 10 months ago.

"The presence of the church is making a difference in the community," Macaulay said. "We have a lot of gay and lesbian people coming out because we're reaching out."

In Nigeria, families often will disown children who come out as gay, said Macaulay, who has dual citizenship in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

"Coming out in Nigeria equals either suicide or death. We're working around that because we want coming out to be liberating," Macaulay said.

Homosexuality is against the law in Nigeria. Consensual homosexual conduct between adults is punished by 14 years in prison, according to Human Rights Watch.

I think it's good to hear these stories every now and then to keep a proper perspective on the fight for GLBT equality in the United States.

I did not know that MCC had an international reach. Good work on their part creating a safe place for worship in unsafe part of the globe.

1 comment:

  1. They do, to some degree. I am disappointed they continue to have their alleged "Global" conferences in the US though. Unless the US has changed the "no AIDS" policy. We had made a statement that the global conferences would no longer be in this country as long as that policy was in place.

    I am glad UFMCC is still around. I just wish they would do more. But that's another sermon for another day.

    I attended two of the global conferences as was always in awe of folks who come from other countries and feel so liberated being able to worship in public.