This year has been one crazy year! Our very first worship service was on February 1st and we have consistently held worship every Sunday throughout the year. We worked with MCC Brighton and MCC North London to provide an LGBT safe spirituality resource at Trans Pride. We held our own Pride service and served hundreds of people at our Pride stall. We held our very first retreat, albeit for just one day, where God revealed our long term vision*. We created a worship service format that is very much our own and works well for us. Six new people have begun attending regularly over the year, with one person becoming a member. We’ve managed to hold our own financially and now receive six standing orders every month – truly a blessing.
Being a part of The Village MCC is a very special thing. It is very much your church. It’s not a church provided by a denomination for people to worship (although anyone is welcome to worship with us), rather it is the church that you provide so that the LGBT community, along with families and friends, have an affirming and safe spiritual home. You pay for the rent on the space, for my stipend, for our insurance, and all the other expenses that being a church incurs. Out of the money that you give the village sends a portion to the denomination for their work and outreach. You make a difference in the world in ways that stretch way, way beyond the confines of Brighton and Hove.
I was at MCC quite a while before the penny dropped and I realised how important my part was. Whether it was giving my time, or my money, I was being a blessing for Jesus. I had always read Matthew 25:34-40, (below), in terms of what I did outside the church, it hadn’t occurred to me that I was providing a church for him and that he was grateful! Jesus says that what we do for others we do for him. By creating a church you have given Jesus a place of sanctuary that he can bring people to.
Supporting The Village MCC doesn’t just mean that you have a place to worship, but so that others may have an MCC church home when they need it. Your support means that LGBT people around the world can have a voice and be supported. Seriously, whether it’s making the tea or preaching a sermon, helping to put out chairs or making scones, giving a few pounds or simply affirming those around you, you are a gift to Christ and to the world.
My job is to tell you how much it matters. How much you matter. Jesus is doing amazing things in our communities because of your gift of church. So on his behalf – Thank you.
I hope that the new year is a blessing to you, that it brings new opportunities for Joy, and that a quiet deep peace may follow you each and every day.
Matthew 25:34-40: 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by God, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
Five year vision for The Village Metropolitan Community Church.
(Visioned at the first annual retreat October 2015)
By October 2020 The Village MCC will be the core of an exchange based community hub, a fully integrated LGBT* community resource in the heart of Kemptown.
We have a cafe, with a well equipped kitchen, adjacent to a multi-use space that hosts worship every Sunday. Both spaces are used by various voluntary groups for meetings and events throughout the week. (There are , folding window-doors between the two spaces with privacy blinds available for closed group meetings. The cafe and meeting space can be combined for large events). There is a small room used for general office and filing needs. Parking is available and there is a remunerated building services manager.
The building has first rate audio and media equipment that facilitates both excellent worship and a variety of group needs. It is a safe space staffed by well trained volunteers. We offer free wi-fi access. All facilities are non gender specific. The building is fully accessible.
We have a full time pastor who is remunerated a full time salary. The pastor oversees all aspects of The Village MCC’s spiritual life and support processes, and liaises with local businesses and groups who contribute to the larger community through us.
The Sunday service has both a music/worship group and a choir. Average Sunday worship attendance fluctuates between 50 and 80. We have a strong Spirit led board that does a great job fund raising and grant writing. We budget realistically so that our annual income exceeds budget with expenditure under budget.
We have a well trained and grounded pastoral team who, with the Pastor, are responsible for spiritual life of the church. There is also a hospitality team that ensures that everyone in the area that wants to come to church or access our services is able to do so, and that those we serve feel welcome and valued. All volunteers are well supported and opportunities to volunteer are always available.
We run our own excellent training and spirituality courses, as well as facilitate a broad spectrum of affinity groups. We hold an annual weekend retreat, ( in a rural setting), and an annual one day leadership retreat, which are both always well attended.
*as well as anyone disenfranchised because of sexuality or gender expression.