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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
November 12, 2015 @ 05:45 pm by Christina Fleming
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.
About This Blog
You make such a difference in so many lives! Here are their stories.