Of late I’ve been trying to get used to wearing bifocals. So far I only use them when I’m working on my laptop and watching TV, but I’m able to glance from one to the other and not miss a beat. I have tried using them out and about but so far I’ve been tripping over my feet. To see everything around me clearly, except for the ground I’m walking on, is a bit of a challenge. Stairs are proper scary.
Sometimes as Christians looking at the world we need a pair of bifocals. One lens to see as Jesus sees, and one to see as an individual. To see as Jesus sees is to look with our heart, whereas our ego often looks with the head. I believe that we should always look with our heart, and make decisions with our heart, but our head helps us to see the very real implications of doing so. No good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes, and whilst being as innocent as a dove is the goal, being as wise as a serpent is excellent advice. And it’s good to remember that our vision is never 20-20. As Paul said “We see as though through a glass darkly“. (1 Cor 13:12). The ego isn’t a bad thing, it’s the part of us that we so often identify with as an individual. Not a bad thing, but not the only thing.
Looking with our heart and our head means that we help those that need help, but don’t put ourselves unnecessarily at risk in doing so. It means that we love our neighbour as ourselves, which does not mean that we let our desire to help put ourselves in harms way. For example, I always meet strangers who want to access the pickle fund, or speak about a pastoral issue, at the community hub or with another team member present. It helps to help them feel safe and keep me safe, even though my heart suggests that I invite them to my home or that I visit theirs. Not a great idea!
Looking with our heart and our head means that we look after our health. We cannot look after others when doing so means that we’re not looking after ourselves. The heart reminds us to be caring, whilst our head reminds us what our limitations are. For example, I could spend an hour or two walking Brighton’s streets on cold evenings supporting the homeless. However, the last time I did so my arthritis and spondylitis kept me in bed for the following three days. So I have other ways in which to care for those around me and I leave the streets to those much more capable than I.
I hope you’re able to see the world through two lenses. To see through just one can harden us to life’s pain, or make us vulnerable to predators. Being able to see the world both ways means we can love our neighbour, whilst looking after ourselves, and following Jesus.
I hope you have a blessed Easter.
Dameon is recovering much more quickly than expected. The doctors are amazed at the speed with which he is healing and he’s generally very upbeat. Alas, if you visit him when the pain killers are at the max you won’t get much sense out of him so best to plan ahead with him. He’s just moved to a rehab centre. If you want details please message me.
Will is recovering slowly after surgery and sends love and best wishes. It was major surgery and recovery will take time.
Nicks funeral service was this week. Although he wasn’t a regular attendee at the church he connected deeply with some of us at The Village and his death has hit hard.
The next Phoenix Affirmations group meeting is on Wednesday April 3rd at Charlie’s home, with the board meeting on Friday April 5th at Keith’s home. Easter is almost upon us and our Queer Seder is Thursday April 18th, 7pm, at the Somerset Day Centre. There’s a whole lot in the pipeline, I’ll keep you informed as we move along!
Please continue to lift all those who are in need of healing, whether in mind, body or spirit, in your prayers. Thank you.
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Next year’s MCC Europe network gathering will happen from 4th till 6th September 2020 in Corrymeela/Northern Ireland. We wil try to start early registrations late this year. Stay tuned!
All the best and God bless you
Jochen Gewecke – MCC Europe Network Leader
Sören Kunze – MCC Europe Network Gathering Coordinator
As part of The B Right On LGBT+ Community Festival
Understanding Hate Crime
– with The Crown Prosecution Service.
This free workshop will cover the following topics:
- What is a hate crime?
- The different types of Hate Crime.
- The history and evolution of legislation.
- How do the Police and CPS deal with/ make decisions about Hate Crime?
- An overview of the criminal justice process and how to report including third party reporting.
- What support is available?
- What can we do as a community to reduce hate crime?
- How YOU can challenge Hate Crime.
DATE: Wednesday 3rd April 2019 11am – 12pm TICKETS: FREE Refreshments available. BOOK NOW
Please contact us if you have any access requirements by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01273 855620 and selecting option 4
The B Right On LGBT+ Community Festival celebrates LGBT+ History, Lives and Culture, is organised by the volunteers of the Brighton & Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum. and takes place at the Phil Starr Pavilion – a multi functional, fully accessible, heated performance, conference and community space with a licensed bar which is located on Victoria Gardens, Brighton, BN1 1WN.
The 2019 LENTEN APPEAL IN SUPPORT OF THE GLOBAL JUSTICE INSTITUTE
The Season of Lent is fast upon us, and affords those within our faith tradition the opportunity to reflect on our faith lives and renew our efforts at being faithful to Gospel of Social Justice. Our Founder, The Rev. Elder Troy Perry, put it best and directly when he framed the vision of salvation for all, community for all and social justice for all.
When Rev. Perry passed the mantle of leadership to The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, she carried on that vision with the founding of what would become the Global Justice Institute.
In years past, and under her leadership, the Global Justice Institute has taken a yearly Easter Offering to support our work around the globe. This year, the Governing Board of MCC has decided to redirect the Easter appeal, and so we are coming to you now.
The truth is our work around the globe will be severely impaired without your support.
Last year alone, the Global Justice Institute:
- Partnered with activists on the ground in Romania to fight and defeat a referendum narrowing the definition of family to exclude same sex couples.
- Financed a successful legal case securing the recognition of married couples from throughout the European Union in Romania.
- Partnered with allies in Armenia to plan the Forum for LGBT Christians in Easter Europe and Central Asia.
- Worked with the Global Interfaith Network to move people to safety who faced danger in Tanzania.
- Intensified our efforts to combat threats from the United States government to cut programs and decrease funding for HIV/AIDS work.
- Stood up against efforts to erase Trans people and gender languor in US policy protections.
- Participated in the Parliament of the World’s Religions and its first track of LGBTQI programming, as well as hosting a hospitality suite during the gathering.
- Held a seat on the Council for Global Equality, and participated in the United States Department of State’s Ministerial for the Advancement of Religious Freedom as the sole religious voice protecting LGBTQI people of faith.
- Formed a new partnership with Rainbow Faith and Freedom in Canada to combat the western exportation of religiously based hatred and identify safe religious communities.
- Marched in Taipei’s Pride Parade, and provided support to the campaign for marriage equality.
- Sponsored “teaching tours” throughout China to dismantle myths and fears about the Bible and Homosexuality.
- Partnered in Kenya to complete a well in Mtito Andei, providing fresh water to local inhabitants and the opportunity for community gardening.
- Sponsored the annual LGBTQI retreat in Mtito Andei.
- Revitalized a partnership in Costa Rica for Central American refugees.
- Provided funding to rebuild LGBT businesses and housing for Trans people in Miraflores following the storms in Puerto Rico.
- Funded an all-country retreat in Brazil, and helped fund renovations for a shelter in Maringa that houses homeless LGBT people and those struggling with drug addiction.
With your help, we will continue to expand our efforts throughout Asia, push back against mounting repression in Eastern Europe, continue our support for those persecuted in places like Chechnya and Tanzania, support land expansion in Kenya, continue our work on the Council for Global Equality representing the premier LGBT faith voice for global equality, fight against the dismantling of civil rights in countries like the United States, provide support to areas suffering under natural disasters, and respond to every invitation we received to partner in the work of justice around the globe.
As you know, all of us working for the Global Justice Institute volunteer our services. The congregation of MCCNY offers its space as well as office supplies, computers and phone service to the Institute. Congregations like MCC Boston give their entire offering twice a year to the Institute, and congregations like MCC Key West and Sunshine Cathedral in Ft. Lauderdale give a percentage of their Sunday offerings each month to the Institute.
This Lenten Season, please join in diving deep into the vision that called us to life as a community of faith, and join fellow MCC congregations and individuals in supporting this critical work. The world needs us now more than ever!
TO SIGN UP TODAY:
Write to Global Justice Institute at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know that your Church will make a special Lenten gift to the work of the Global Justice Institute.
There’s no better time than the Season of Lent to reflect on Jesus’ passion for justice and love prevailing in this world, and what we can do to further his vision and that of our Founder.
In hope for the future,
The Board of Directors for the Global Justice Institute
The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director
The Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy
The Rev. DeWayne Davis
The Rev. Ty Bradley
The Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
John D. Hassell
The Rev. Steve Torrence
The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt