Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
   The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) grew out of the experience of its founder, Troy D. Perry (b. 1940), as a homosexual man in the Protestant church. Licensed as a Baptist preacher, Perry was drawn to Pentecostalism and became an evangelist for the Church of God (Cleveland,Tennessee). He later married, but an early homosexual encounter led to his dismissal from the church. He became a member of the Church of God of Prophecy, and worked as a pastor in southern California.
   over the next few years, he came to accept his homosexuality, ended his marriage, and left the Church of God of Prophecy. In 1968, following a period of reflection on his call to the ministry and his sexual orientation, he began a church serving the homosexual community in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Community Church, the first congregation of what would soon be a new denomination. The movement would enjoy great success as the gay movement developed through the 1970s. The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches emerged in 1974.
   The church adopted a simple statement of beliefs drawn from the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, which places it squarely in the Protestant theological tradition. It affirms the Trinity, the Bible as the word of God, the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, and justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The church believes that the Bible does not condemn homosexual relationships, and that God is accepting of them. The church has been open to liberation theology and feminist approaches to the Bible, and advocates reading the Bible from the perspective of oppressed gay and lesbian people.
   The MCC has seen itself as a safe haven for those rejected by other religious communities, especially those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). It works for LGBT rights and opposes homophobia. MCC developed a massive response to HIV/AIDS, promoting education and assistance for HIV-affected people across the United States and around the world.
   The fellowship's headquarters are in West Hollywood, California. It currently has some 40,000 members in 300 congregations in 18 countries. It is ecumenically oriented, though its attempts to join the National Council of Churches have been rebuffed. The fellowship is the largest of more than a dozen gay-affirming denominations, most others being limited to a few congregations.
   Further reading:
   AIDS: Is It God's Judgment? A Christian View of Faith, Hope and Love from Metropolitan Community Church (Los Angeles: Metropolitan Community Church, n.d.), 6-page leaflet; Troy D. Perry, Don't Be Afraid Anymore (New York: St. Martin's, 1990); , The Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay: The Autobiography of the Reverend Troy D. Perry (Los Angeles: Nash, 1972)
   ■ ----, with Thomas L. P. Swicegood, Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage (New York: St. Martin's, 1991)
   ■ Nancy Wilson, Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible (San Francisco, Calif.: Harper San Francisco, 1995).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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