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posted Friday, August 26, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 34
Emerald City MCC Seattle celebrates anniversary
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Emerald City MCC Seattle celebrates anniversary

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On August 28, Emerald City Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Seattle will celebrate its 39th anniversary as the first church founded by and for LGBT persons in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. A celebration worship service is scheduled for 11 a.m. in the Chapel of University Temple UMC (1415 N.E. 43rd St.), in the University District. According to MCC Seattle officials, a chef-prepared dinner will follow the worship service. You do not have to be a member of the church to attend.

Christina Brewer and Tyler Mauga are scheduled as the guest musicians during the service and will perform several selections of contemporary and gospel music. Brewer is a former Miss Teen Washington and Miss Washington for the Miss Worldwide Pageant, and is a Seattle Pride Idol 2011 finalist.

The Rev. Ray Neal, the pastor of ECMCC Seattle, said, 'The church began with great controversy in Seattle during the period following Stonewall when LGBT persons were being called 'militant' simply for demanding equal rights, open recognition, and acceptance of their sexuality. At that time, it was claimed by their religious opposition that a person could not be Christian and Gay. Gladly, we have been able to lay that ridiculous statement to rest. God loves all persons exactly as God created them: Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, or straight. MCC Seattle, as it was known then, offered all persons a place of acceptance and community. We still do so today!'

The church was founded in 1972, a year Pastor Ray says 'was a very different time for LGBT persons. Many of our movement's early leaders were coming out of the closet for the first time, publicly declaring their sexuality while they worked to bring justice into being for all persons. Being out could mean the loss of your job, the loss of your family and friends, ridicule, or even arrests for public displays of affection as simple as a kiss. Opposition to the new church was extremely high in Seattle.'

The Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the first Metropolitan Community Church in the Los Angeles area in 1968, came to Seattle to offer his support and affirmation of the new church, which became a part of the international denomination that later developed. Metropolitan Community Churches now number more than 250 congregations in more than 30 countries around the world. Known widely as 'the Human Rights Church,' MCC continues to advocate for the inclusion and acceptance of LGBT persons around the world. Perry has agreed to return to Seattle for the church's 40th anniversary celebration, taking place during Seattle Pride 2012.

For more information regarding the worship service call the Rev. Neal at (206) 325-2421 or email him at info@mccseattle.org. Visit the MCC Seattle website at www.mccseattle.org.

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