Thursday, January 21, 2010

Church removes barriers -- amen!

Rev. Kittredge Cherry and Rev. Neil Thomas in MCC-LA’s construction zone, January 2010

New construction is making my local church bigger and much more accessible.

I started the new year with a visit to Rev. Neil Thomas, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles.

He led my partner Audrey and me on a tour of MCC-LA’s construction zone. We stepped carefully around power cords as buzzsaws whirred and hammers pounded around us.

The remodeled sanctuary will be about twice as big. I was especially pleased to see that many ramps and elevators are being built. There will even be a special elevator to lift people a few steps to the altar!

I had to use a wheelchair in the past, so I know that steps and other physical obstacles can exclude and demoralize people, no matter how many times the church declares that everyone is welcome.

MCC-LA’s website says, “We invite all to join us without concern for sexual orientation, gender identification, or any of the barriers so often found in other churches.” They’re clearing away even more barriers with their new wheelchair-accessible construction. Hallelujah!


Trudie said...

So glad to hear about MCC - LA's new accessibility. We at FMCC of Atlanta have been blessed in that our building was originally a movie theater, so SOME of the accesibility was already there. However, over various remodeling efforts, we've improved too. Blessings on you!

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thanks, Trudie. I'm glad to hear that your church is increasingly accessible.

A blind lesbian friend shared with me her frustration that she was more welcome as a lesbian at MCC, but that the homophobic fundamentalist church made her more welcome as a blind person. May we follow the vision of creating “a house of prayer for ALL people” -- another favorite prophecy from Isaiah.

pennyjane said...

i'll use the mcc as a segway! today is our 30th anniversary. we are renewing our vows at the first presbyterian church in two and a half hours. i'm all a flutter and so excited.

it was a dream of mine...when i was little to have a beautiful wedding all in became a fantasy, and then a dream again...and it's own wonderful's for real!

ain't God grand! much love and hope. pj

Kittredge Cherry said...

Congratulations, pj! And also to Annie! 30 years together is an achievement, a blessing for you both, and a beacon for others. It’s wonderful to hear about your dream-come-true. Are you wearing a white bridal gown? Any special readings to share? Let me know how it turns out.

I am honored to say that Trudie actually used a quote from my novel “At the Cross” in her 50th anniversary renewal of vows last year.

pennyjane said...

thanks for the good wishes kitt. it was everything i'd hoped for...except i....perspired allot.

no longer can it be said that there has never been a gay or trans wedding at the first presbyterian church in bloomington, indiana...'cause the ice has been broken.

it was a ceremony taken straight out of the presbyterian book of order...per our wishes, conducted by our most beloved presbyterian minister who proclaimed "it was my great honor to preform this service to two of my favorite people." she is amazing!

i have been two years in prayer, contemplation and counceling in preparation for this act. for my annie, it was a given...God would bless our new union just as He had our first one. for me, it was far more problematic. although intellectually i was convinced it was the right thing to do, emotionally and spiritually i kept having this nagging doubt...would God really bless us? is this really right? so...when it came down to was still a leap of faith.

when wendy said, "you may kiss your brides" and we brought our lips together there in front of everybody and beneath doubts were erased. i felt God's wonderful, amazing love just rush between us..peace and excitement..invincible vulnerability. God blessed us right then and there and we were united in spirit and in body.

praise our wonderful, loving, patient and adoring Goddess! pj

Kittredge Cherry said...

Thanks, pj, for allowing us to share in the joy of your renewal of vows ceremony! Your careful preparation and leap of faith are a model for all of us.

And what God has joined together, let no one put asunder!