Posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2013
July 4, 2013 - Evening Update
Wow! What a day. I attended the Preaching Institute with Dr. James Forbes today. He was amazing. His teaching is just as much sermon as lecture, maybe more so. I enjoyed this a lot. After that I attended a plenary session that, to be honest with you, all but bored me to tears. Some people are very worried about MCC and its transition to the next Moderator (3 years from now). I just know we are going to thrive way out into the future. MCC is important to the world, it's important to my life and yours, and our mission is far from complete. I have already begun praying for the process around the selection of our next Moderator and I remain convinced that everything arount it will be blessed, annointed and wonderful.
Tonight's worship was the best of the confernece so far; led by the young people of MCC. I can't even put into words all the ways it moved me, inspired me and just blessed me all over. I can, however, assure you that MCC is in good hands now and it will be over many years to come. These young people, clergy and laity, are simply amazing.
Tomorrow is the final day of conference and for those of you who have been asking, we will return to Florida on Saturday and be with you in worship on Sunday. Be prepared for my message, "You and Me & MCC."
July 4, 2013
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! I hope you have a safe and happy celebration today. We have a full day of worshops and worship. I'll be attending the Preaching Insitute with Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes. I always enjoy picking up tips and new ideas from excellent preachers like Dr. Forbes. Tonight is Youth Night during worship and our own Vittorio Amoruso will be on the stage with the other young people participating here. I'm looking forward to seeing them.
Yesterday we had the afternoon off. We took an architectural tour of the city via the Chicago River. Touring from the water gives a unique perspective on the ways cities are planned (or not) and the consitent themes used by those who designed and built around the river. After that we had dinner with my relatives again, which I loved. Last night I interviewed a clergy candidate who wants to come intern with us. I like her very much and will tell you more about that at the upcoming Board Meeting.
Tomorrow I'll be part of panels in two workshops surrounding Global Justice/Public Policy issues. After that it will be time for us to pack up for our flight on Saturday morning. I can't wait to be back with you on Sunday.
June 30, 2013
WOW. MCC rocked in the Chicago Pride Parade today. Be sure to check out the pictures which will be posted here. However, before we left for Pride we were wonderfully blessed to hear MCC Founder Rev. Troy Perry preach in the morning worship. Listening to him recount stories from his 45 year history with MCC reminded me how blessed we are to serve a God that has a specific calling for all of us. Furthermore I remembered again the day Troy emailed me with that simple note, "Jim, I believe God has a place for you in our church. Love Troy." Finally I was reminded of the need to all of us to carry on the work of sharing the inclusive message of God's love, of standing up for Equality and Justice for all people, and to celebrate that God has created us in God's own image and loves us more than we will ever come to comprehend.I wish you could see my fingers flying across this keyboard right now as I remember it in Troy's voice. What a morning it was. Just one story before I finish this for tonight and post picture. All along the parade route today, our Moderator, Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson and I shouted to the crowds, "God loves YOU!" I wish you could have heard so many of them shout back, "God loves you, too," with the bright light of God's love in their eyes. I wish you could have experienced them reaching out to touch us, to hug us, to kiss our faces. I will never forget those young people for as long as I live. This is what MCC is about. This is our calling, and yes, those of you who know me understand that I have gone to preaching now. But I'm going to stop. Thank you so much for sending us to Chicago to represent you. My spiritual battery is already charging, and I know that is true for many here. Know that I hold you in my heart and I can't wait to be back with you next Sunday to really tell you all about it. Have a wonderful week and check back here often for updates.
Blessings and Love,
Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt
June 28, 2013
After a very long and full day of celebrating the SCOTUS rulings on Marriage Equality, I took yesterday off. We enjoyed the Field Museum www.fieldmuseum.org. We are thrilled to discover that Starbucks is located in the shopping center adjacent to our hotel - we don't even have to go outside to get there. I was very happy to have dinner with my cousins Brent and Mary Ellen and their baby, Bella. Check out my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/revdrjim.merritt for a picture of me with Bella. You will see that picture in my office as soon as I get back.
Today I have been working hard on our preparations for Chicago Pride on Sunday. We have 3 contingents in the parade this year. The first is a general MCC group, second is The Global Justice Institues and finally, our walking Rally for Marriage Equality. I wish many of you could be here with us to participate. The parade is 3 miles long. I'll post pictures when it is finished.
Rev. Troy Perry is preaching on Sunday morning. I can't wait to hear him preach again and to have some time to chat with him. He always tells me how much he is proud of our work together.
I'm enjoying seeing so many of my clergy colleagues as they arrive. Vittorio is meeting so many of them. We learned that one of my friends is a former Catholic priest, so he is helpful to Vittorio as one who has grown up in the Catholic church.
That's my update for today. I hope you're planning to be in church on Sunday to hear Rev. Kathy Beasley preach. You won't want to miss her message and her love.
Check back soon for more updates. Until then, BE MCC!
Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt
Dear Trinity Members and Friends:
What a way to start off General Conference. As you know, in addition to serving as your pastor, I am the Director for Marriage Equality of MCC's Public Policy Team. For weeks I have closely followed the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) while awaiting their rulings on Marriage Equality. We got them today and they were very positive. I've spent all day coordinating MCC's response, sending out statements and press releases, talking to the media and other clergy and then speaking at the Marriage Equality Rally and March in Chicago tonight. I can't tell you how excited I was to walk hand in hand with my partner of more than 18 years, Al Leach, through the streets of Chicago (with police protection, so don't worry).
This is a day I will always remember. While we still have much work to do in Florida and around our country, this is a day of celebration. It is a day to share the joy we experience when we are treated as equals under the law.
At Trinity MCC we teach and preach an all inclusive love that comes from God who created us in the image of God. We know that we are loved - the very apple of God's eye. Before long now, Marriage Equality will be the law of the land because it is God's will for it to be so. Join me in this celebration. I'll be back soon to begin our next steps forward.
Finally, thank you for supporting my faith based activism. You are always in my heart.
Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Pastor