Alive and well: Metropolitan Community Church’s first four decadesBottom Highlights, Where's the Faith? Thursday, June 30th, 2011
Social Chaos: Where's the Faith?
Happy 41st anniversary to the Metropolitan Community Church! We are celebrating 41 years of fulfilling our mission of helping to bring people closer to God and one another.
The MCC has been a leader in the San Diego LGBT community for a complete generation, going on the second generation now. It is no doubt that MCC continues to fill a mighty vision for “such a time as this.”
There is a reading from the book of Acts, chapter 2, about the Apostles asking Jesus, “Is it time yet?” “Are we there yet?”
Jesus replies, “It’s not for you to know the times. Don’t worry about these things – but I have a gift for you. The Holy Spirit – your helper, counselor, advisor – and you will receive power to witnesses the light, right here locally, and even to the ends of the earth! Power to witness, to let your light shine!”
And as Jesus was saying this, he was lifted up in the clouds, and they kept on staring until two angels said, “Why are you staring up to heaven? You’ve been given the Holy Spirit, to help you, to give you power, to make a difference in your life. To be alongside you as your comforter.”
I remember hearing the saying, “Some people are so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good!” It’s about a balance, balancing our spirituality and practicality.
Last Wednesday, I was invited to be a part of California Faith Action, a coalition of coalitions to see how faith communities might be able to make an impact on our legislators around moral budgeting. It was empowering to walk through the state capitol in Sacramento, going door-to-door, delivering oil (a symbol of anointing with the message they are anointed to serve the public) and we requested they vote with the poor, the disenfranchised and those on the fringe of society in mind.
Through the gifts of time, talent and treasure, the Metropolitan Community Church has been making a difference in lives, one person at a time, through helping the homeless with Interfaith Shelter Network, Feed My Sheep, Uptown Faith Community Service Center, recyclables to help feed inner city students at a local high school and supporting organizations like Live and Let Live, Alano Club and Mama’s Kitchen. (And there are others).
We have also just joined the Leadership Circle for the Aging with Dignity Initiative sponsored by the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (Rev. Tony Freeman) and The Center (Dr. Delores Jacobs). This Aging with Dignity program will serve to address the unmet needs of LGBT seniors. We will be taking a second offering the last Sunday of this month as part of our commitment to support this important initiative.
Speaking of Aging with Dignity, our Pastor Emeritus, Rev. David Farrell has made a major impact on the LGBT community in San Diego since the 1970s.
Rev. David is quoted as saying, “We as a community of faith are dedicated to being not just a vocal minority, rather a visible minority community.”
In 1971, he became Deacon David. In 1973, he became worship coordinator while the church “looked for a pastor.”
In 1975, Rev. David Farrell was elected senior pastor and on May 6, 1975, the Metropolitan Community Church closed escrow on the Fern Street church property, making MCC SD the first gay organization to own property in San Diego.
In 1978, he was a San Diego leader in the fight to defeat the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays and lesbians and possibly anyone who supported gay rights from working in California’s public schools.
In 1979, he hit the airwaves as MCC of the Air began radio broadcasting on station 860 AM and later services were broadcast on Cox television.
When in August, 1982, the Metropolitan Community Church had outgrown the Fern Street church and closed escrow on the 30th Street church property, during Rev. David Farrell’s senior pastorate, many wonderful things happened: He was part of the first gay men’s AA group, Auntie Helen’s, Mama’s Kitchen – every organization that was started in San Diego – Gay (Roller) Skate Night and in 1993 he started Affinity Groups. During the AIDS Crisis, Rev. David called the church to hold a prayer vigil that grew and grew into what is now known as World AIDS Day.
Rev. David also met his life partner Gil Caldwell at this church. There are many good things that come out of being a part of a faith community.
To honor our pastor emeritus, the Rev. David Farrell Community Service Award is given to an individual who exhibits a love for our church and our community, and this is given annually on Father’s Day, beginning this year.
We are the church alive! There is a song written by Jack Hoggatt-St. John and David Pelletier in 1980 that says: We are the church alive, Christ’s presence on this earth; We give God’s Spirit body in the act of our new birth. As yielded open channels for God’s descending dove, We shout and sing, with joy we bring God’s all inclusive love!
Let God’s light shine through you, everyday, everywhere!
Rev. Dan Koeshall is the Senior Pastor at The Metropolitan Community Church (The Met) in San Diego, California, themetchurch.org.
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