Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) celebrated its 24th year in the Philippines, marking the continuing “claiming of our place in God’s table,” according to American minister and LGBT activist Rev. Darlene Onita Garner, the first African-American elder in MCC.
MCC was brought to the Philippines in 1991 by Bishop Richard Mickley after he received a letter from a Filipino who was looking for a more inclusive church than the dominant Roman Catholic Church. Based in New Zealand at that time, Mickley came to the Philippines to celebrate the first Pride-related mass on June 26, 1991 at the cathedral of the Holy Child. He eventually returned to Manila on September 7 of the same year to formally establish MCC’s presence in the country.
Interviewed by Outrage Magazine, Garner said that when MCC was established in the Philippines, “(we) had a lot of hope but had no idea that MCC will really take root in Filipino soil. We didn’t know what was going happen, but we knew there was going be a possibility,” she said.
Garner credits “the courage and strength of the people who nurtured the seed of MCC (so) that seed has now grown and is blossoming.”
“The 24th year of MCC in the Philippines means 24 years of hope and defiance to the predominant culture of prejudice,” said Pastor Myke Abaya Sotero, who helms MCC in Metro Baguio.
Meanwhile, Pastor Kakay Pamaran, who helms MCC in Quezon City, said: “I can only re-echo the words of our Rev. Garner: ‘MCC has dared to ask the hard questions that many churches are still beginning to ask.’ Twenty-four years ago, a handful of gay people dared to put themselves out there, and God heard them and honored them. To this day, we continue the struggle for the emancipation of the ‘odd folks’ that have been shunned by traditions and doctrine – the LGBT, the unwed mothers, the effeminate fathers, the different and the seeking. We continue to define ‘church’ in ways that many others cannot as yet. And in the making of our meanings, and in the naming of our struggles, we are a church that will always decide to love even in the midst of ambiguity and uncertainty. We are a church alive that continues to define and redefine (often on a daily basis) the many meanings of ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’.”
There are now MCC churches in:
Myla’s Residence, 3612 Bautista Street
Brgy. San Isidro, Makati City
Contact: 0917 513 9388 / 0932 708 2716
2/F Aurora Bldg., #836 Aurora Boulevard
Cubao, Quezon City
Contact: 0916 636 1512
Contact: 0947 456 4573
5 St. Joseph Ave. Dela Costa Homes
Barangka, Marikina City
Contact: 0927 652 7811)
“Stay strong. Stay bold. Be filled with courage that you have been anointed by God to bring Good News to the people who are yearning to hear your voice. Don’t give up hope. Grow in your strength. Grow in your courage, knowing that everything that you do is blessed by God and will bring forth good fruit,” Garner ended.
PHOTOS FROM MCC-QUEZON CITY’S OBSERVANCE OF THE 24TH ANNIVERSARY
(PHOTOS COURTESY OF RED MACALALAD)