What are Community Churches?

Community Churches -- or more specifically, Metropolitan Community Churches -- are a fellowship of progressive churches which focus their ministry on the homsexual community, to include gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and persons of transgender, commonly referred to by the acronym GLBT. Not only do they reach out and embrace the GLBT community, but they defend their sexual preferences as healthy and acceptable to God. They maintain that throughout history, the church as a whole has been mistaken about the Bible's stance on homosexuality -- that Scripture actually supports, condones, and promotes homosexual relations as spiritually enriching and divinely blessed. They believe that the time has come for Christians of traditional denominations to stop ignoring, judging, condemning, and persecuting GLBT individuals and begin to accept them as God's children. It's not a matter of merely tolerating their lifestyles as forgiveable sins or sicknesses which can be cured by God, but embracing them as equal to those of the heterosexual majority. Whether or not you agree with this stance, the following links should guide you to a better understanding of this alternative viewpoint and help to solidify your position on homosexuality in light of the gospels one way or the other.

Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church

"Gentle Shepherd MCC (GSMCC) is a congregation within the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC). We are a Christian denomination with a ministry to all people everywhere, particularly those people who have ever felt separated or unwelcome by the church at large because of their sexual orientation, gender or gender identification, race, class or ability... We are an inclusive church branching out from our roots in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community with God's message of unconditional love. We are a Christian Church. We preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ which can best be summarized by John 3:16 which says, For God so loved the world that God gave God's only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." We are a Bible-based Church. We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and it contains all we need to know in order to live the life we were created to live. However, the Bible must be interpreted in its cultural, historical and literary context. Failure to properly do this in the past has led to much misinterpretation of texts, especially those texts concerning homosexuality. We are an "inclusive" church. We are not simply a "gay" church. This means we seek to make a place for everyone who walks through our doors to feel welcome. There is a place at God's Table for everyone at GSMCC. We take our dedication to inclusivity into our language. Therefore, we use words to describe ourselves, others -- and especially God -- in ways that include rather than exclude, expand rather than contract. We believe in an infinite God, therefore an infinite number of ways can be used to describe God."

Google Directory - Metropolitan Community Churches

Society > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity > Denominations > Metropolitan Community Churches

International Christian Community Churches

"The CENTRAL values on which ICCC is based are Christian teachings and include the following: ICCC recognizes that people, rather than structure and governance, must always predominate in how the church understands itself, undertakes governance and meets ministry needs.
  1. PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS: Based upon 1 Peter 2:5-10, ICCC is committed to mutual collaboration between laity and clergy in ministry.
  2. MADE IN GOD�S IMAGE: Based upon Genesis 1:27, ICCC is committed to each person's growth toward wholeness in body, mind, and spirit, and full integration of spirituality and sexuality.
  3. LOVE ONE ANOTHER: Based upon John 13:34-35, ICCC is committed to expressing love for one another by encouraging each individual to develop high self-esteem, being a servant to, and colleague with one another, and showing respect to each person.
  4. PROUD OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST: Based upon Romans 1:16, ICCC is committed to boldness in proclamation and excellence in ministry.
  5. PROCLAIMING TO ALL WHO WILL HEAR: Based upon Matthew 28:19-20, ICCC is passionately committed to being open to reach all people with the Good News.
  6. A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE: Based upon Isaiah 56:7, ICCC ministry in every arena reflects a commitment to justice and inclusively, nondiscrimination, and equal access by, and opportunity for all.
  7. GOOD STEWARDS OF GOD�S GIFTS: Based upon 1 Peter 4:10, ICCC wisely utilizes the gifts God has given to us, both in material and spiritual possession.
  8. LIVING LIFE WITH INTEGRITY: Based upon 1 Corinthians 12:27, each person is called to develop a relationship with God in Jesus Christ that empowers them to be the embodiment of Jesus Christ in this world."

International Council of Community Churches

"In 1950, two fellowships in the Community Church Movement joined in a historic merger. At the time, their joining represented the largest interracial merger of religious bodies in America. The new creation was the International Council of Community Churches. Member churches and centers united to be a fellowship of ecumenically-minded, freedom-loving churches cooperating in fulfilling the mission of the Church in the world. For over 50 years, the Council has witnessed and worked for Christian unity and reconciliation in human society, and this work it carries into the 21st Century. A �community church� is a church that grows out of the life of the community. It is neither planted nor transplanted form the outside. It grows out of the hopes and needs and aspirations of the people of the community. It is a native product of the life of the community. The community church serves all the community, and claims the whole of the community as its parish. It is in fellowship with all other Christian churches, and welcomes all who love the Lord Jesus Christ to its fellowship and membership, regardless of religious background. It invites to the Lord�s Table all who �truly and earnestly repent of their sins and are in love and charity with their neighbors and desire to lead a new life following the commandments of God,� regardless of other affiliations. The community church never seeks to live to itself. It recognizes that it is part of the Holy Catholic church, the whole body of Christ. It yearns for the unity of Christendom, and labors tirelessly for that end. It practices ecumenicity in worship, believing that Christians may and ought to worship and serve the Lord together despite differences of theological opinion and Biblical interpretation. It expresses ecumenicity in mission, choosing cooperation over competition and focusing on human need over institutional gain."

Jesus Metropolitan Community Church

"Jesus Metropolitan Community Church is a church unlike any you've ever attended! If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered, we believe Jesus MCC can minister to your spiritual needs, because: You will find our teachings deeply relevant to your life. The sermon illustrations and practical applications are put in the context of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered life experiences. You are free to be who you are. You�ll have opportunities to receive basic instruction regarding why it's ok to be gay and Christian. By joining with us, you can help Jesus MCC fulfill its unique mission to share the Good News of God's love for all. That's a message our community needs to hear! We are a Christian church that embraces the basic doctrines of Christianity. We confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and seek to encourage one another to live in accordance with Jesus' teachings. Our denominational bylaws are tied to the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, which have served as the basic creeds of Christianity since the early days of the church. Beyond these basics, however, we leave it to each individual to work out the details of the Christian faith in accordance with her or his interpretation of Scripture. At Jesus MCC, we seek to create an environment where each person is encouraged to explore the hard questions of faith without fear of criticism. We are persuaded by Scripture that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people are beautiful creations of God, who are invited to live in communion with God on the same basis as all other people. We are also persuaded that women should play an equal role in the church. We are the only Christian denomination where women comprise more than half of all ordained clergy. We believe Jesus MCC is called to be a prophetic voice sharing the Gospel and advocating justice for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people, as well as women and other minorities. We are committed to encouraging one another to live out the Christian faith from day to day in every aspect of our lives."

MCC San Francisco

"The Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco was founded in 1970 by Rev. Howard Wells with prayer meetings held in the "upper room" at Jackson's Bar & Grill in North Beach. In 1979, the congregation purchased the building on Eureka Street; it is one of the few properties in San Francisco actually owned outright by a LGBT community organization. Our congregation is affiliated with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), the largest grassroots organization of LGBT people in the world. Metropolitan Community Church is the second-oldest LGBT congregation in the United States. We are a progressive church, influenced by liberation, inclusive, and feminist as well as traditional theologies. Our congregation of more than 550 members is a rich diversity of various Christian and non-Christian traditions sharing respect and great value for every individual's spiritual journey. For many, this is a reconciliation of religion and spirituality whether it be over issues of sexuality and denominational doctrine or intellectual freedom. It may be an awakening of spirituality for the first time, or renewal following year's of spiritual dormancy after coming out. We primarily serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; however, our services, programs and membership are open to all. One way we express this commitment is through the use of inclusive language. Our church hymnal, scripture lessons, and communal prayers use non-gender-biased language and talk about people and God to express the diversity of who we are and who God is. As a commitment to the community we serve, our building is open as a community center --providing much-needed meeting space within the Castro District of San Francisco. Nearly 1,000 people use our facilities each week representing more than 25 organizations and different groups including meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, and many others."

Metropolitan Community Church in East London

"In Romans 1:26-27, St. Paul talks of men and women giving up natural intercourse and being consumed with passion for each other. Is homosexuality seen as being unnatural because it is supposedly against the laws of nature or because it's against God's perfect creation? There is a danger of understanding what is natural in terms of what is customary in a given society. In some societies it is considered unnatural to wear clothes. It is against the laws of nature for humanity to fly. It is natural that there is pain in childbirth. Paul says it is unnatural for men to have long hair (1 Corinthians 11:14), but the laws of nature dictate otherwise. Some argue that God created male and female as a means of procreation, the sexual organs are determined by nature and their natural use must not be 'perverted'. Homosexuality is condemned because it is not procreative. Those who use this to condemn us call us to be celibate. Should women be celibate after menopause? It is dangerous to argue solely from biology when discussing God's desires for humanity. When reading Romans 1:26-27 consider, "is there a distinction between naturally heterosexual people turning towards same sex relationships, for what ever reason, and those who are 'naturally' homosexual?"

"You shall not lie with a male as with a women; it is an abomination." (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13). These passages appear within the Holiness Code of Israel. The Holiness Code is concerned with keeping Israel pure and untainted by the surrounding nations whose ways, it was felt, would lead them away from God. An abomination is that which God found detestable because it was unclean, disloyal and unjust. The word appears six times in the Holiness Code, always with reference to sexual impurity. In the book of Ezekiel the word appears several times, where it is associated with idolatry. The Hebrew religion stood in continuous tension with the religions of the surrounding Canaanites who worshipped the multiple gods of the fertility cults. Sexual intercourse (as cult prostitution) was a regular feature of the pagan worship. In having sex, devotees re-enacted the relationship of their God with the land. Homoerotic encounters were part of the many pagan cults and therefore Israel distanced herself from them. Christians today do not follow the other laws found in the Holiness Code (the wearing of clothes with two kinds of materials, for example). We are however aware of actions that may lead us away from God. Homosexual acts are no longer seen as part of pagan worship. Cult prostitution is condemned in Leviticus, such condemnation should not be applied to loving, respectful, same-sex relationships."

"Behold, this was the sin of your sister, Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease but did not aid the poor and needy." (Ezekiel 16:49). There are three possible reasons for the destruction of Sodom: general wickedness, as shown in the opening quote; inhospitality, in a world where inns were a rarity travellers were dependant on the goodwill of strangers not just for their comfort but for their survival (see Deuteronomy 23:3-4) and homosexual intercourse. "Bring them out that we might know them." These are the words the men of Sodom said of the strangers in their town. And Lot offered his virgin daughters to the crowd. If the men of Sodom were all homosexual, why would Lot offer his daughters? If the men (and women) of Sodom were intent on homosexual intercourse it would have constituted gang rape. Gang rape, under any moral code, would justify divine displeasure. In the ancient Middle East male rape was a way of expressing the lowest form of contempt. In the then culture anal sex meant that one partner had to play the passive role of a woman, thus making oneself worthless. From Lot's reaction we can already see how valued women are! Jesus says nothing at all about homosexuality but he does talk about Sodom in terms of hospitality (Matthew 10:15). Nowhere does the Bible say that Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality."

Metropolitan Community Church Philippines

"An issue that is challenging some of the foundations of the Church, and perhaps our society, is the relationship of homosexual persons to the Church. Much of Western culture�s homophobia can find its roots in our Judeo-Christian heritage. It is becoming increasingly clear that much of what has long been held as truth is less scriptural and theologically founded than we have believed. In our Judeo-Christian society, the documents known as the Bible serve as the primary guide on most issues. It is interesting that many Christians take literally the references to homosexual acts while interpreting other texts with great flexibility... What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Actually, very little. Jesus said nothing at all, which is most significant. Considering the relatively small amount of attention the Bible gives to the subject, we must ask ourselves why this is such a volatile issue while other subjects (e.g. judgment, pride, hypocrisy), about which the scriptures say a great deal, receive much less passionate attention... Nowhere in the Bible is the idea of persons being homosexual addressed. The statements are, without exception, directed at certain homosexual acts. Early writers had no understanding of homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. That truth is a relatively recent discovery. The biblical authors were referring to homosexual acts performed by persons they assumed were heterosexuals... The Bible never addresses the issue of homosexual love, but has several examples of same-sex love. David�s love for Jonathan was said to exceed his love for women. Ruth�s relationship with Naomi is certainly an example of a deep, bonding love. The Bible does value love between persons of the same sex... Jesus� remarks about celibacy and castration are clear, but a male child being born without testicles is a rare birth defect. It is only in our day that the Kinsey Institute has demonstrated that sexual orientation is likely determined prior to birth. It could well be that those to whom Jesus refers as being �born eunuchs� are the people we call lesbian or gay... Paul's other reference to homosexual acts is similar to that of 1 Timothy 1:8-11. Both passages contain lists of persons to be excluded from the Realm of God. The interpretation of these passages depends on two Greek words that have always presented a problem for translators. In the King James Version, they are translated "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In the Revised Standard Version, they were combined and rendered homosexuals; however, these are not the Greek words for homosexual, so that translations reflect the scholars' bias. The New International Version illustrates the difference in these two words by translating them "male prostitute" and "homosexual offenders". The Jerusalem Bible uses the terms "catamites and "sodomites". Catamites were youth kept especially for sexual purpose; they were usually paid large sums of money. Neither passage refers to persons of same-sex orientation, but to people who used their sexuality for personal gain."

Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

"MCC Toronto is proud that we have assisted many other gay and lesbian groups in getting started. We helped organize the first PFLAG meeting and we paid for the telephone line in their first year of operation. We have provided office space for the Toronto Counselling Centre for Lesbians and Gays, for Lesbian & Gay Youth Toronto, Collation for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario to name a few. Our congregation has been at the centre of many key struggles for equality. In 1986 we supported Bill 7, adding sexual orientation to the Ontario Human Rights Code. In 1994 we supported Bill 167 in favour of equal rights. In 1996 we went to the Supreme Court of Canada as interveners in support of Egan and Nesbit in the constitutional question of same sex spousal recognition under the Old Age Security Act. As a result of this case, the rights of gay and lesbian couples was recognized and sexual orientation was read into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 1999 Rev. Hawkes testified in the M vs. H case on spousal support provisions in family law. The ruling in this case was the first to hold that same sex couples receive equitable treatment under the constitution. In the fall of 2000, we made a decision that the time was right for our church to take the next step in our pursuit of equal marriage rights in Canada. Our lawyers developed a strategy that was built on a combination of The Ontario Marriage Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In January of 2001 we legally married two same-sex couples but the Registrar General of Ontario refused to register the marriage documents. We took the provincial government to court and our case was heard in November of 2001. The decision was ultimately in our favour."

Open Door MMC

"For those of us who were raised in a religious atmosphere, homosexuality was usually associated with shame and guilt. As a result, many of us were cut off from the spiritual dimension of our lives. Our churches provide an opportunity to explore a spiritual experience that affirms who we are. Thousands of individuals have experienced emotional healing and reconciliation from abuse and oppression, and countless members and friends credit their involvement in our churches and congregations with saving their lives. We experience our communities of faith as places of healing and hope, places of reconciliation with family, with self-esteem, and with individual spirituality. UFMCC brings together Christians of all races, backgrounds, socioeconomic levels and age groups. Our congregations include gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and heterosexual people who worship, witness, and serve God together in a loving community. Open Door Metropolitan Community Church is an ecumenical Christian church with a special ministry to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community of Montgomery County and beyond. We proclaim and teach God's love in Jesus Christ for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, ethnic, or religious background... We believe in the Bible's message that God loves us all, unconditionally, just as we are. We celebrate the knowledge that we can be Christian and gay and lesbian. We believe the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are relevant in today's world and help us live with hope and dignity during uncertain times and in an unjust world. It is by the presence of Jesus Christ that we are healed, comforted and challenged."

Rainbow Revival Ministries International

"A lot of churches today are like patients on life-support. The Spirit is long gone, but the body is kept alive by artificial means. Many churches have got the form of religion but have lost the power of resurrection. People come to God's house only to find that God isn't home. God's house has become a museum, set up to glorify where God used to be. If ever there were a need for Revival, it is most certainly now. Indeed, there is a renewal movement on the rise. With infinite wisdom and mercy, God is sending a fresh wind of the Spirit to breathe new life into the church. Some churches respond by adding insulation to keep the wind out. Some feel the wind but don't know what it is. And some open their doors and windows gladly and said, "Come, Holy Spirit, we need you." Churches serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities (a.k.a. the Rainbow Nation) are not, alas, on the forefront of this renewal. For good or for ill, most churches that welcome this fresh wind of the Holy Spirit tend toward the conservative side of the Christian spectrum. Rainbow people are neither welcome nor comfortable in the churches where revival is starting to happen. This grieves the heart of God. God knows the Body of Christ will never be complete until all people are welcomed and celebrated. As the fresh fires of Revival began to fall from heaven, God chose some to bring that good news to those who were outcast. And so Rainbow Revival was born to fan the flames of Revival within, throughout, and beyond the Rainbow Nation. Through the preaching, teaching, healing and prayer ministries of Rev. Arthur Runyan and Dr. Mike Amendolara, Holy Spirit Revival will be pursued in the local church and Resurrection Power proclaimed throughout the land."

Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

"The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever" . All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others, whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships. For many centuries, the Christian Church's attitude toward human sexuality was very negative: sex was for procreation, not for pleasure; women and slaves were considered property to be owned by males; and many expressions of heterosexuality, like homosexuality, were considered sinful. Such tradition often continues to influence churches today. Many teach that women should be subordinate to men, continue to permit forms of discrimination against peoples of color, and condemn homosexuals. They say that all homosexual acts are sinful, often referring to their interpretation of scripture. Other churches today are influenced by a century of psychoanalytic thought promoted through a powerful minority in the field of medicine. They see homosexuality as some kind of sickness. Although this view has now been soundly discredited by the medical profession, some churches and clergy continue to be influenced by the idea. They say that homosexuals are "imperfect" and in need of "healing." The Good News is that, since 1968, when Metropolitan Community Church was founded, the emergence of a strong lesbian and gay community, and the conclusions of new scientific studies on homosexuality have forced the Christian Church to reexamine these issues. A growing number of biblical and theological scholars now recognize that Scripture does not condemn loving, responsible homosexual relationships. Therefore, gay men and lesbians should be accepted - just as they are-in Christian churches, and homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed!"

Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches Canada

"Metropolitan Community Churches [MCCs] were created in 1968 as a way of providing an environment where homosexual Christians could freely worship God and grow in their spiritual journeys. MCC created an environment where all people are accepted, affirmed, and celebrated because of who they are (children of God in infinite variety) and not in spite of an aspect of who they are (such as their sexual orientation). Having experienced personally the tragedy of ignorant and insensitive treatment by those who would shun us as being unworthy, we have become sensitive to the needs of all oppressed peoples or minorities (whether visible or not) and have therefore developed a framework for ourselves which embraces our sexuality - everyone's sexuality - celebrates uniqueness, and strives for inclusivity in all its dimensions. The services we offer (see below) are specially - but not exclusively - geared to people in the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transsexual community. As unique as we feel we are, we are in the end a Christian church which is struggling to understand and follow God's will. In that quest, we are not unique but in some areas we seem to be uniquely successful. So we see ourselves as being here for a long time (since many churches are finding it so difficult to embrace gay and bisexual persons and minister to those with AIDS.) The road we are travelling will be walked by many many people, both gay and non-gay - and we very much welcome that. We started by dealing with gay issues and now we are dealing with God issues that are so exciting in this church. We are not in MCC to become isolated from other churches, nor are we in MCC until there is someplace else to go, we are on a spiritual journey that is trying to faithfully integrate our life experiences in this world and our growing vision (revelation) of God's will for us. Being gay or bisexual in a non-gay society gives you unique experiences and insights into an oppression that others in minority groups might feel and so you might become more sensitive to how you treat all people and certainly reduce your assumptions about other people. It has made us more aware of minorities and so we take steps to make worship accessible to the physically challenged and to provide a welcoming space for people who feel different from the majority and alienated from other churches. Perhaps we can make contributions to the other churches through sharing our emerging awareness of the relation between sexuality and spirituality; we are leading the way in how to provide pastoral care to people whose lives are affected by AIDS and in counselling people who are in same-gender committed relationships. Those of us who are homosexually or bisexually oriented have gifts and insights to offer just as those of us who are heterosexually oriented do and we look forward to talking with and learning from each other."

        "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

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