Newsletter – Feb 13

Welcome to the February edition of the newsletter. Christmas is now well and truly behind us, although right now the weather does not seem to know it, and we are well embarked on Lent.

I have introduced a few new features to the newsletter this month which I hope you will enjoy – firstly, there will in future be a monthly column from our Lay Delegate, Tim Fellows, keeping us informed and up to date on what is happening in MCC worldwide. Secondly, a regular feature highlighting one of the many ministries within the church, and the hard working people who provide them. We kick off this month with Andrew and his work heading up the hospitality ministry. Finally, there will be a section with announcements and news from our fellow MCCs in East and South London, with whom we hope to work more closely over the coming year to spread God’s all-inclusive love in our city.

In this edition:

  • Recent Events-
    • Social Trip to the British Museum (by Clive Brooks)
    • DVD night ‘Call me Kuchu’ (by PJ Samuels)
    • Ash Wednesday Service (by Rob Hansen)
  • Ministry Highlight –
    • Hospitality – Andrew Gourlay
  • Upcoming Events
    • Easter Services
    • LGCM Annual Conference
  • News from East and South London
  • Regular Events and Reminders

 

Recent Events:

Social Event – Visit to the British Museum (by Clive Brooks)

February’s Social Event was a visit to the wonderful British Museum. A bitterly cold day is always good for being in the warm and feasting the eyes on many of the ‘collection’ goodies.

Having been twice, to scout out what was practical, I soon realised (if I didn’t know it before) that we had to limit the ‘visit ‘to the old favourites – and Egypt always comes to mind for most people. I introduced us to one of that culture’s most successful Monarchs: Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty, a ruler during Egypt’s Golden Age of peace and plenty.

The museum has a number of very good statues of Amenhotep but sadly, none of his formidable Great Royal Wife, Queen Tye. The Egyptian Hall has an amazing collection from many other Dynasties as early as the 3rd and 4th, and the belief system is well represented also; especially by the Goddess Sekhmet the wife of Ptah, a creator god.

After a fairly brief tour of the neighbouring Assyrian collection and a break for refreshments, it was upstairs for the refurbished Mummy Rooms, which have to be among the best presented and represented this side of the pond. Only Egypt itself can boast more; but then they do have almost all the known Royal Mummys, including Ramesses II.

We were joined by members from MCC East London, and I think we can say that we really enjoyed our three and a half hours together. It gave us the chance to talk and discuss other matters also; so, a productive afternoon all round.

I will be away again in March, but hope to bring you (with Clive Ramsey of East London’s help) another enjoyable social outing for April.

 

DVD night – ‘Call Me Kuchu’ (by PJ Samuels)

“No man is free, until all men are free.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Our social event for January, originally scheduled for 19th January 2013 and rescheduled due to inclement weather, was the screening of the film ‘Call me Kuchu’ held on 16th February. This is the critically acclaimed film about the life, and death, of David Kato, Ugandan Gay rights freedom fighter who was murdered in his bed.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/168706-call-me-kuchu-remarkable-portrait-of-a-man-and-a-movement/

A wide cross-section of the LBGT Community attended. It was a very emotional film. The panel discussion after was very engaging. Chaired by Rev Sharon, it was meant to be comprised of three Ugandans and myself; the content of the film was so emotionally charged that they felt overwhelmed and unable to participate, so Obi was put on the spot and joined me on the panel. A discussion ensued where the nature and reality of LGBTI persecution was aired from personal perspectives, questions fielded and information dispersed. A reminder that the freedom enjoyed in Britain was not freely given but fought for and paid for with lives, and a reminder that in other parts of the word horrific persecution continues. As said in the film ‘A luta continua’ — the struggle continues. Refreshment shared and connections made and altogether interesting and thought-provoking; a successful evening. 

Ash Wednesday Service (by Rob Hansen)

On Ash Wednesday a small group gathered in Camden to mark the beginning of Lent. This important period in the Christian Calendar, symbolic of the time Jesus suffered temptation at the hands of Satan and his decisive turning away from the Devil’s agenda, started a debate on what Christians might actively do to follow Christ in Lent rather than what they might merely give up . (Among the suggestions for items to give up had been chocolate (of course) and Facebook!!). In this spirit the group were advised to look for ways where their Christian walk could be more in line with what God wants, namely: justice and mercy, helping the afflicted, and raising up those who suffer. In the clearest terms the words of the Prophet Micah (6:8):

“And what does God require of you? To act justly
 and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” 

 All were marked with the sign of the cross in remembrance of Genesis 3:19  :

“Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” 

 Among the other scriptures used for meditation were these two memorable passages:-

Lamentations 3:  v22

22 The steadfast love of God never ceases;
God’s mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “God is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
 

 Jeremiah 18: v5-6

Then the word of God came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares God. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 

A positive start to Lent!!

 

Ministry Highlight – Andrew Gourlay, Hospitality Ministry

Born in Nantwich, Cheshire I brought myself up in the Methodist tradition. On coming out at 23 I turned my back on the Church – God however did not turn his back on me.

I connected with MCC at London Pride in 1996 and after much hesitation attended a service later that year. I immediately knew that I had arrived home. In 1998 I visited New York and of course MCC- it was then that I decided to become a member – I realised that North London was not unique and the love, values and inclusivity I had experienced was the same across the Atlantic.

I have been very blessed to attend several MCC’s across North America and each visit has enforced my beliefs in the values of our denomination- the love of a Christian Faith from which nobody is excluded and a desire for social justice especially for the LGBT community. MCC has opened my mind and allowed ongoing questioning of faith – a healthy process on my journey.

I have spent my career in the Catering Industry so when you see me running around with the hospitality role just know that I am enjoying every minute- as with so many in MCC God will use us in service .

In 2009 I married my dear husband Tyrone and we live in Staines (a trek to Camden but so worth it!)

Upcoming Events:

Easter Services:

As usual we have a busy line-up of services for Easter, beginning on Holy Thursday with the Seder Meal on Thursday 28th March, 7pm til 10:30pm

This is the meal where we re-enact the Passover supper, as Jesus did with his disciples, and remember the time when he shared the Last Supper before his arrest, the meal that we commemorate every Sunday at communion. As always there will be a delicious home-cooked meal, and good music and good company. For this event you will need to buy tickets in advance so that our hardworking chefs know how many to cater for!

Then on Good Friday (29th March) we have the Stations of the Cross, a quiet reflective service, in which meditations for each of the ‘stations of the Cross’ – significant points in the events of Jesus’ crucifixion – are laid out around the church. You are welcome to come from 7pm, and move through the stations at your own pace, and if you wish to receive a prayer and anointing with oils as you reach the end of your ‘Good Friday journey’ with Jesus.

On Saturday 30th, our worship begins with the Exultet service at 7pm, a beautiful sung service in which we welcome the Christ-light. Then at 9pm we begin the Saturday Night Vigil, which lasts until 6am. Join us as we wait by Jesus’ tomb for the risen Christ, a time of prayer, contemplation, conversation and creative expressions of faith. At dawn we break our fast with communion together, and then a delicious cooked breakfast, before getting some sleep before returning for our

Easter Sunday Service at 7pm, a joyful celebration of the risen Christ!

LGCM Conference:  

This year’s annual conference of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement takes place in Brighton on Friday 19th – Sunday 21st April. The keynote speaker will be Revd Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church. The venue is the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YD.

This year’s theme is ‘Surviving and Thriving’, and asks the question of how we can thrive, beyond simply surviving, in the Christian Church, which seems to be falling behind our society’s movement toward greater inclusion of LGBT people.

The conference will start with a cheese and wine evening on Friday 19th April and end on Sunday 21st April with morning worship.  On Saturday, registration will begin at 10am and the day will finish at 6pm. To download a booking form, go to the LGCM website, http://www.lgcm.org.uk/2013/04/lgcm-annual-conference-2013/ 

 

News from MCC South London

On Sunday 3rd March at 6:30pm, MCC South London will be celebrating the installation of their new Pastor, the Revd Dwayne Morgan. Rev Andy Braunston of Manchester MCC will be the guest preacher. MCC South London worship at St Andrews URC, Cavendish Road, Balham

 

Regular Events:

Small Groups Lent Series

At the moment there is one Small Group, meeting in Camden at the church. We are now running our Lent series on Wednesdays at 7:30pm. The series will focus on Women of the Way, women who were part of Jesus’ own journey, including women such as Pilate’s wife.