Videos: Pride March 2016

June 27, 2016 @ 04:05 pm by Christina Fleming

Watch Middle Church singing, dancing, and celebrating in the Pride March. These videos were recorded and published on Facebook Live:
















#30DaysofPride - Day 20

June 20, 2016 @ 04:01 pm by Daniel Kessel

The 2016 Pride March is right around the corner! Today we are sharing photos of the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir wearing orange for 2014 Pride.

#30DaysofPride #Day20 #NYCPride #Loveisloveislove

#30DaysofPride - Day 19

June 19, 2016 @ 03:42 pm by Daniel Kessel

We highlight today's worship service, in which members of the Middle Church community read the names of the victims of Orlando and remembered those who died one year ago in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston. We lit candles, and sang, and prayed, and wept, and we resolved ourselves to chase away hatred with #RevolutionaryLove.


Photo credit: Lola Flash

#30DaysofPride #Day19 #SayTheirNames #Loveisloveislove

#30DaysofPride - Day 18

June 18, 2016 @ 03:32 pm by Daniel Kessel

Save the date! On Wednesday, June 22 at 7pm at Pub Theology: Queer + Christian, we will talk about spirituality and sexuality, and ask questions like "How does the Bible affirm queer people?" and "What's up with Leviticus anyway?" RSVP here.

#‎30DaysofPride‬ ‪#‎Day18

 

#30DaysofPride - Day 17

June 17, 2016 @ 03:10 pm by Daniel Kessel

For #Day17 of #30DaysofPride, read the email that was sent to the Middle Church community in our weekly e-blast. The message celebrates all LGBTQI individuals and outlines how our faith community prepares for continued welcome and safety.

"And then I think about our Middle Church community—that part inside our sanctuary and the part in our networks. And the rock in my stomach, the cry in my throat—the rock feels a little lighter, my tears fall, not just because I am sad and angry, but also because you are so beautiful.

"Your consistory and I are clear—this violence and hatred against LGBTQI communities is not acceptable. Not on our watch."

To sign up for the weekly e-blast, click here.


#30DaysofPride - Day 16

June 16, 2016 @ 03:07 pm by Daniel Kessel

Jacqui Lewis and Jim Kast-Keat recorded "One," a new episode of the That'll Preach podcast discussing how Middle is responding to the Orlando tragedy as a community. To hear the full podcast, click here.

#30DaysofPride #Day16 #Loveisloveislove


#30DaysofPride - Day 15

June 15, 2016 @ 02:58 pm by Daniel Kessel

On #Day15 of #30DaysofPride, the blog “If We’re the Ones We’re Waiting For, We Best Get To It” by Jacqui Lewis was published on Auburn Voices. The blog counters the violence in Orlando with Revolutionary Love. Read the full blog here.

"They think their hatred is powerful, their violence decisive, that their acts of terror will terrorize us. True, these violent acts are frightening. But we are stronger than fear. We are stronger than hatred. We have the real power, love power."

#30DaysofPride - Day 14

June 14, 2016 @ 02:50 pm by Daniel Kessel

After the violence in Orlando, The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis performed this rap, inspired by the song "Glory" from the movie Selma, during worship and shared the following words. To watch the rap, click below.

"'Glory' is my new national anthem. It is like scripture to me. It makes me think about race, about gender, about sexuality, about faith, and about how these are gifts from God. To be celebrated. That one day, when the Glory comes, we will all cherish these differences. Behold the intersections and marvel at the complications. Delight in the unique ways we see the world, and lavish love on one another. So much love as to cancel out the hatred. And the suffering will end. And the Glory of God will shine on all of creation. Right here on earth."

#30DaysofPride #Day14 #LoveIsLoveIsLove

 

#30DaysofPride - Day 13

June 13, 2016 @ 02:04 pm by Daniel Kessel

On Monday, June 13, Jacqui Lewis, Middle Church member Tituss Burgess, and many interfaith clergy and leaders read the names of those killed in Orlando—49 of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Thousands of New Yorkers gathered at the Stonewall Inn Vigil to honor the many young lives lost. To see the video posted to Mayor Bill de Blasio's Facebook page, click here.

#30DaysofPride #Day13 #LoveIsLoveIsLove


#30DaysofPride - Day 12

June 12, 2016 @ 12:43 pm by Jacqui Lewis

What do interracial and same-sex marriage have in common? Both are protected rights in our nation thanks to a decision by the Supreme Court. Today we celebrate Loving Day, the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which made it legal for interracial couples to wed on June 12, 1967. Read senior minister Jacqui Lewis's illuminating meditation on the intersections of interracial and same-sex marriage.

‪#‎30DaysofPride‬ ‪#‎Day12


#30DaysofPride - Day 11

June 11, 2016 @ 11:12 am by Daniel Kessel

Save the Date! Washington Heights Got Talent is a Pride Month celebration on Friday, June 17 at 7pm. Our own Middle Players will present a section of their original comedy, "I Am Bob."

#‎30DaysofPride‬ ‪#‎Day11‬

Middle Pride

#30DaysofPride - Day 10

June 10, 2016 @ 11:44 am by Daniel Kessel

Black, white, Muslim, gay, straight, queer—thanks to you, Middle Church marches for Love. Period.

#30DaysofPride #Day10



#30DaysofPride - Day 9

June 9, 2016 @ 05:12 pm by Daniel Kessel

We are family! Today, we share this video from the 2014 Pride March, where Middle sings the famous Sister Sledge song, "We Are Family."

#30DaysofPride #Day9

#30DaysofPride - Day 8

June 8, 2016 @ 01:37 pm by Daniel Kessel

On July 24, 2011, gay marriage was legalized in the state of New York. The next day, the New York Times published this video, in which Jacqui Lewis appears (minute 2:28) speaking on behalf of gay marriage.


#30DaysofPride - Day 7

June 7, 2016 @ 11:29 am by Daniel Kessel

For Day 7 of #30DaysofPride, we share this image of love from our 2011 Marriage Equality Concert.


#30DaysofPride - Day 6

June 6, 2016 @ 03:07 pm by Jacqui Lewis

For #30DaysofPride, Day 6, we're sharing The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis's words advocating for same-sex marriage in the Ocotober 2012 Essence magazine article, “Same-Sex Marriage: Two Pastors, Two Perspectives.”

Jacqui writes, "To withhold civil rights from gays is, to me, unconscionable."

To download the full article, click here.


#30DaysofPride - Day 5

June 5, 2016 @ 05:59 pm by Daniel Kessel

It's Day 5 of #30DaysofPride! Check out this photo from Pride Sunday 2013. Our congregation marches for Love. Period.



#30DaysofPride - Day 4

June 4, 2016 @ 06:01 pm by Jacqui Lewis

Today is Day 4 of #30DaysofPride, and we're inviting you to save the date! On Wednesday, June 15, our own Chad Tanaka Pack and Ann Kansfield will speak at the Collegiate Pride WeWo.

For a complete listing of Middle's June 2016 Pride events, click here.


#30DaysofPride - Day 3

June 3, 2016 @ 05:57 pm by Jacqui Lewis

For Day 3 of ‪#‎30DaysofPride‬, we're sharing this photo from our Marriage Equality Concert in June 2011.


#30DaysofPride - Day 2

June 2, 2016 @ 04:17 pm by Jacqui Lewis

For #30DaysofPride, Day 2, The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis shares her experience reading Leviticus and how she came to conclude that the Bible is all about "Love. PERIOD."


It was January 1990, my first semester at Princeton Seminary. Our campus was buzzing with protests and demonstrations about gay. New to theological conversations, my first question was, “What does the Bible say?”

And the answer came back, “Abomination.”

“Where?” I stammered, “And what does that mean?” “Look it up,” I was commanded, and directed to the King James translation.

Click to read more

#30DaysofPride - Day 1

May 27, 2016 @ 04:24 pm by Daniel Kessel

At Middle Church, we're celebrating Pride Month with #30DaysofPride. Each day in June, we're sharing a unique way Middle has shown up for Love and Justice—for all people—out in the world.

Today, we celebrate Middle Church youth taking Pride to the streets at the 2014 Pride March. This photo originally appeared in Gothamist.

Stay tuned for more #30DaysofPride!

This Is Family

December 31, 2015 @ 01:17 pm by Daniel Kessel


On a recent Sunday at Middle Church, member Kelly told the touching story of how she came to adopt her son, Jonah.

"About 14 and a half years ago, I was looking into adoption, and I had been told I'd be waiting at least a year. 'That's okay, I'm young,' I thought.

"And I got a call about three days later, 'Could you take a baby?' And I was like, 'Yeah!' On Maundy Thursday 2001, the most beautiful seven-and-a-half-week-old, eight-and-a-half-pound baby was put in my arms. After three days of no sleep, and basically being in complete and utter shock at how my life had changed, there was no place that next Sunday morning that I wanted to be more than at Middle Church.

"We sat near the front on the right side--if you've been here on Easter it's packed and crazy--and I got here on time but not early with my baby, Jonah.

"We sat right next to the trumpets and the piano and I thought, 'Okay, this is going to be a disaster.' And he slept the whole time.

"At one point, we prayed and I can still remember these giant tears were just coming out of my eyes and falling on him and falling on me. And to this day, I don't know who it was, but I felt a hand reach out and just pat me gently on the back. And I thought, 'This is it. This is where I want to be. This is my family, this is my new family, and we are all family.' And we've been here ever since.

"To this day, when things happen in the world—after the Eric Garner non-indictment, after Trayvon Martin, after George Zimmerman's acquittal, after all these things—there is nowhere on those Sundays that I want to be other than Middle, and there's nowhere that I want Jonah to be other than Middle.

"When we first joined, there was a utility closet off the Sanctuary that was used as the nursery. On Sunday morning, they would clear out the dangerous stuff and put a crib in there. I used to think, 'Oh my gosh, if my social worker ever showed up, Jonah might not be my child anymore.' You can see the amazing things that have changed in 14 years. We have a beautiful childcare center. We have programs for children and youth.

"Jonah has basically done every program Middle has ever offered. We're here all the time. We're so grateful to John Del Cueto for the amazing work that he does. Jonah adds, 'Don¹t forget Jacqui, don't forget Jacqui!' So shout out to Jacqui Lewis.

"There are so many amazing things that have happened here for kids. That being said, like any family, I think there are always things we could be doing more. There are so many kids who need to know the love and acceptance of Middle. We're given so many negative messages about what it means to be a person of faith in this world, and I really look to Jim Kast-Keat and the folks here at Middle to help me raise Jonah in a way that he understands the truth about his faith and the love and the acceptance and the inclusion. And there's so much we can still be doing in that way.

"What can you do? You can contribute to Middle Church and support the programs offered to youth. If you have children, if you know children, if you're touched by children, you know how important this is. Think about the children in your life and the many ways they can benefit from a place like this, and just give what you can to help that continue and grow. Thank you."

Kelly has been attending Middle Church for 18 years and a member for about 15 years and serves on the Stewardship team. To see a video of Kelly telling this story at Middle Church, click here.

Sophia's Healing Moment

December 17, 2015 @ 05:45 pm by Daniel Kessel

“I grew up singing in the church, and then I was excommunicated and publicly shamed when I was 13, and I have not sung in a church since until right now," Sophia said after singing “You’re My Joy” last Sunday in worship.

Watch this video until the end to see Sophia’s moving words:


Sophia grew up in a Puerto Rican Pentecostal Church in the South Bronx. As a smart, articulate girl, she believed she would one day grow up to become a preacher.

“I used to always ask a lot of hard questions,” she said. “The pastor hated me for that. He really didn’t like me at all. He was also machismo and sexist.”

When Sophia was 13 years old, a 15-year-old girlfriend framed her for something she didn’t do. “I didn’t smoke pot, but I was with this girl when pot was being smoked. And she told her mother and the pastor that I was the bad influence. And everyone quickly believed it because of how independent and headstrong I was.”

Confronted by the pastor, Sophia went along with the older girl’s story. “I thought, What would Jesus do?” Sophia remembers. Her membership was revoked in front of the entire congregation, and she was excommunicated from her church.

“And so I left and became a sinner, [laughter], like any good Pentecostal should [more laughter],” Sophia said. And she also went on to become a successful singer and performer.

Singing at Middle Collegiate Church on December 13, 2015, was the first time Sophia sang in a church since she was 13 years old.

“I’m just going to sing this song to God. And that’s why I never made eye contact with the congregation. Because that’s a beautiful song with beautiful lyrics with a beautiful melody. That was healing.”


Making a Difference for Our Children

December 9, 2015 @ 12:28 pm by Daniel Kessel


"Singing with the choir makes me feel happy and perfect," said Dominick.

Dominick is growing up at Middle Church surrounded by your love and our children's programming. Your stories of faith and your dedication to justice guide how he sees the world around him and how he views himself.

He’s an active member of our Village Chorus for Children & Youth, and he participates in the children’s activities including The Ark and the weekly Message for All Ages during worship.

Your giving allows DJ and other children to grow up in a faith community that honors all paths to God and is dedicated to those on the margins. Donate here.



The Longest Four Minutes of My Life

November 20, 2015 @ 01:53 pm by Jacqui Lewis

“I started to panic as I became aware of my breathing. The presence of God filled my heart telling me to do the thing that I feared the most. The voice was telling me to let go of my fear.

“Fear, for a variety of reasons, has been ever-present through most of my life. Flashbacks to several personal encounters with the police flooded my mind. I had forgotten how fear and anger had sustained me in complacency, protected me with invisibility and made content with passivity.

“The more I resisted God’s unrelenting encouragement, the louder the message became. If you don’t do it now, you never will. And then I did it. I surrendered, and exhaled.

“Something special had happened. I realized that my life was changed, and as we sang I had to hold back the tears. Yes, as a Black man, my life does matter.”

– Jonathan Lucas, Middle member

In response to the killing of Eric Garner and the black lives taken in the hands of police, Middle members, staff, and interfaith allies at Bend the Arc and Auburn Seminary staged a die-in on the floor of a packed Capitol Hill cafeteria during the lunch hour on January 21, 2015.

These excerpts are from an essay consistory member Jonathan Lucas wrote about his experience of the die-in. To read his full essay go here.

Through your activism and your financial gifts, Middle Church stands for racial justice.

Your gifts power our multiracial congregation and stand for #BlackLivesMatter. Help change the conversation around race—donate now.


Policy Changed at the Pentagon

November 12, 2015 @ 05:45 pm by Christina Fleming

Photos by Damon Winter for The New York Times

Photos by Damon Winters for The New York Times

Graham Bridgeman, one of our board members, and J Mase III, an activist and slam poet, preached and led worship at the 2014 Transgender Awareness Sunday celebration. The New York Times contacted Middle Church and asked both Bridgeman and J Mase to submit video essays to complement a week-long series on Transgender rights earlier this year. Watch J Mase's video here and Graham's video here.

Andrew Rosenthal, who oversees the opinion pages at The New York Times, credited the series as having the greatest editorial impact:

“Our series on transgender rights was instrumental in persuading the Pentagon to lift the ban on transgender men and women serving openly in uniform."

Graham, J Mase, and Middle Church were a part of this historic series.

Support our LGBT ministries and our voice for LGBT equality–donate now.

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You make such a difference in so many lives! Here are their stories.

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