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June 16, 2021 - The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that Philadelphia may not bar a Catholic agency that refused to work with same-sex couples from screening potential foster parents, claiming that religious freedom trumps all other rights. SCOTUS has it wrong.

I hope our friends, colleagues and allies will bear with me if this post seems more personal than most of those I write. It is personal for me; let me explain why.

Before I assumed the role of Director of Eastern European Affairs for The Global Justice Institute, I was Director for Marriage Equality and Family Issues for several years. I also worked in the child welfare system in Florida for many years. During those years we worked tirelessly to change Florida child welfare policy and legislation that prohibited placement of children with same-sex families. At that time over 2,000 children languished in poorly matched foster care placements and residential treatment facilities, simply because no other options were available.

Limiting the availability of good stable loving homes in which to place dependent children is not\ a gay rights issue – it is a children’s issue. Policies such as these leave children trapped in foster homes with numbers of children far over the legal limit, homes that barely qualify for placement, and even homes where foster parents assume the role hoping to benefit financiallyby fostering as many children as the system will allow. Certainly, this is not always the case, but it happens far more often that necessary. Every child deserves a good and loving forever home which often happens through foster care systems that refuse to discriminate and thereby rob these children of the opportunity for permanent placement. This is, to be sure, a children’s rights issue.

Let me tell you about my Godson, Logan. Logan spent years in the foster care system in Florida. About a year ago he was placed with our good friends Jarrod and Brian. This was made possible in part by our previous work with the Florida child welfare system, the Florida Department ofChildren and Families and the Florida legislature. With a difficult past, Logan immediately began to thrive. His grades improved and he made the honor roll at school for the first time. His mood began to brighten, his attention span improved, and his ability to form meaningful attachments with others grew steadily. Logan thrived in this placement with his two dads, and I
was deeply honored the day I was invited to become Logan’s Godfather. He recently graduated from Middle School and is looking forward to a bright future. Logan and I have talked a lot about God and faith, and he recently asked me to baptize him. Here is a picture of Logan on his Middle School graduation day and one of him and his wonderful dads on their adoption day (used with permission).

Study after study shows that children in homes with same-sex parents do at least as well, if not better than, children in homes with opposite gender parents. They do well in school, their social skills are on target with appropriate markers in child development and they do well in colleges, universities, trade schools, work environments and long-term relationships. And let’s be very clear about this, the sexual orientation of a child’s parents, whether biological oradoptive, does not determine the sexual orientation of child. Any claim in that regard issimply false.

Just one more thing. I have served as a delegate to all three of the United States Department of State’s Ministerials for the Advancement of Religious Freedom. I am deeply committed to this concept. However, religious freedom ends when it demands that people of faith be allowed to discriminate against others. In God’s realm, however we view God, there is room for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, creed or other distinguishing factor. Prohibitingchildren from being placed in good and stable homes, regardless of the gender of the parents is just plain wrong. It is wrong as a public policy issue, and it is wrong as a so-called protection of religious freedom. Remember, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.”

In Florida we have a well-known law firm whose motto is “For the people.”

As an individual and on behalf of The Global Justice Institute, call us FOR THE CHILDREN. SCOTUS has it wrong!

This statement prepared by The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director of Eastern European Affairs,
The Global Justice Institute. Bishop Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director

CONTACT: RevJimMerritt@globaljusticeinstitue.org





April 21, 2021

As I waited yesterday for the verdict for the man who killed George Floyd, I cooked. That’s what old Black women do when we worry. We cook. And as the flames of history soften our confidence in our futures, we try once again to get a prayer through to our God who keeps promises. As I cooked and prayed I wondered about what would happen and about what I would feel when whatever was going to happen finally happened. I expected to be overcome with joy or sorrow or anger, expected to feel peace - that biblical kind of peace - way down in my soul if his guilt was declared. Imagine my surprise when relief was all I felt as each guilty verdict was read. No joy. No elation. Instead of deep and abiding peace I felt only momentary relief sweep across
my soul like a brief summer breeze on a night too hot for rest-filled sleep. Momentary justice can only yield momentary relief…

Today, I so wish we had a morning after pill. Something to take us back and beyond where it all began. Something we can put in our guts to make it – whatever “it” is – all go away. On this morning after, the man who murdered George Floyd is in a jail cell, sent to his room to think about what he has done. As he sits and ponders, we are again burdened to determine what to do as that momentary relief dissolves and grief returns once again. As people of faith, the real journey God has called us to take has begun anew. The verdict for the man who murdered George was only another call to arms, beaconing us to the front lines to continue fighting for radical truth and absolute integrity. There will never be true justice for George Floyd or Eric Garner or Michael Brown or Breonna Taylor or Daunte Wright or the many, many others who have been assaulted by the inequality of this system we so proudly uphold as the American Dream. Only the living can experience true justice. As people of faith we are once again charged to do the work of revealing the injustices that continue to flood our lives. We cannot allow ourselves to be disillusioned and distracted by momentary relief, believing that yesterday’s victory will bring tomorrow’s justice. If that verdict means anything, we must now double down on speaking and revealing our truths: we are all good; we are all worthy; we all matter. We must continue to claim all children as our children and fight for their dignity and demand their respect and their safety.

As the sun set on an unseasonably warm Seattle night, I went to bed last night without feeling that spirit of jubilation highlighted in breaking news interruptions and press conferences across the country. I laid down yearning once again for the joy of true justice, yearning for relief that will remain well into the dreary nights of winters still to come. Until then, however, I will just keep cooking and praying.

The Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy, The Global Justice Institute
Bishop Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director

Contact: The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director of Eastern European Affairs



January 2021

Dear friends of the Global Justice Institute ~

Though we faced many challenges as a pandemic raged across the globe, often unchecked by governments and
public health systems, the Global Justice Institute {GJI} remained faithful to its partners and in the work of bringing to
life God’s vision of a world at peace with its created diversity.

The inability to safely travel, and in many cases closed borders, only served to drive our creativity and develop our
virtual capacities, as well as enable travel budgets to be entirely re-directed to on-the-ground projects.
My deepest gratitude to all who gave generously to this work, including churches which gave whole Christmas
offerings as MCC Boston did, and Churches which gave percentages of their budgets as did Sunshine Cathedral and
MCC Key West. Thank you MCCNY for contributing all overhead costs, as well as staff time and talent. Thank you
members of the GJI Board for contributing all your service freely, and in many cases supporting work financially.
I am every grateful to the Government and Policy Team and Board Members who are listed below, and who held firm
in the midst of a global challenge, and enable not only ongoing work but the opening of new projects.
We continued our work in Eastern Europe, focusing in Romania, Belarus and Lithuania, under the leadership of The
Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director of Eastern European Affairs. Rev. Jim coordinated with Florin Bucheanu and his
husband to move the push for relational equality forward, successfully positioning our case for insurance coverage
for same sex partners before the Commission on Human Rights, a necessary step toward appearing before the
International Human Rights Court. With the aid of a former seminarian, GJI opened an inclusive worship experience
for LGBTQIA people in Romania.

Belarus, under the dictatorship of Lukashenko, remains a dangerous place for LGBTQI and Allied peoples. We
maintained our partnership with Journalists4Tolerance, offering 3 training sessions virtually for journalists, covering
the Bible and Homosexuality, theological implications of targeting Queer life, the dangers of reparative therapy and
how to deal practically with the restrictions journalists face. Thank you, Rev. Jim, for developing and presenting
these sessions. A Parliamentary measure limiting media coverage to “traditional families” has only enhanced the
need for the presence and work of the GJI and our partners.

Because of increases in targeted threats to our partners, we successfully relocated one person out of Belarus into
Lithuania, and are working to secure others at this time.

I am very proud of Rev. Jim and our partners for laying the foundation to open an Eastern European satellite
office for the GJI in Lithuania through a partnership with a local attorney and Journalists4Tolerance.
This office will join our campus in Mtito Andei, Kenya in making sure that our work is inspired, driven and
implemented by people on the ground.

The reception of an Orthodox priest banned from his local seminary to our team in Eastern Europe will also ensure
that our work there is centered in the lie and cultural practices of the region. As a small footnote, we were also able to
help a seminarian and his partner threatened in Russia, move to safety. We are happy to share they were married in
December of 2020.

In Armenia, we are partnering with a Human Rights defender who works with AIDS Action Europe and Mission AID
Development, focusing on people living with HIV/AIDS, Queer people and positive public policy initiatives.
We are very grateful for acceptance of the formal appointment of The Rev. Dr. Margarita Sanchez-deLeon as
Director of Latin American Affairs. On behalf of the GJI, Rev. Margarita served this past year as pastoral support for
women, partnering with Catholics for Free Choice in Mexico. With the financial support of the GJI, COMAC, and
AIDS service organization, was kept afloat during dwindling government support, and its offices were relocated.
The safety of women and girls and reproductive justice remain critical issues throughout Central and Latin America,
and will be a major focus of our efforts in the new year.

This past year we continued our work with Ecumenicas por la Derecha a Decir in Honduras, enabling members
testimony before Parliament and supporting the daily lives of cis and Trans women.
Covid-19 interfered with planned visits to Brazil, but we were able to continue our support of Sephoras and the Trans
women it serves in the capital. We had hoped to complete the process of government recognition for the shelter in
Marina, but Brazil cut off all avenues in that venture. We will continue to look at this possibility in the new year. As
the country issued a high court decision on “involuntary rape,” further endangering the safety and well-being of
women and girls, Rev. Margarita drafted and issued a position paper in response. We will continue to be a voice for
justice and safety in the region.

The GJI continued work in Costa Rica, offering support to Casabierta and its work with Central American refugees.
Up to 10% of all refugees in Costa Rica are LGBT identified. Providing and identifying resources for Trans women
among the regufee population remains a priority, as does developing a partnership with Jesuits working in direct
services to people fleeing violence at the southern border of the United States.
In this past year Argentina offered the GJI several opportunities to participate in panels focusing on the rights of
women around reproductive health care and justice, one of which included pastors and women who are theologians
addressing Parliament.

Rev. Margarita also led our work with the anti-racism movement in Puerto Rico, as part of a broader effort to connect
the realities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil and other countries. We understand racism as another of the
global pandemics we are facing.

In the United States, the GJI continued its work with the Council for Global Equality. Thank you Rev. Jim for filling
our seat on the Council, and helping create a different image and offering a different voice to what has passed for
Christianity these past four years in particular. Rev. Jim has been involved in extensive efforts to lobby the U.S,
Congress and shape federal legislation beneficial to. LGBT peoples and our allies. He served as a delegate to the
Ministerial for the Advancement of Religious Freedom sponsored by the State Department of the United States,
hosted virtually this past year by Poland. That choice of country host provided myriad opportunities to both challenge
Poland’s designation of “gay free zones” and solicit allies.

Rev. Jim represented the GJI as the clergy representative to the Florida chapter of the ONE Foundation. He has
made sure the voice and mission of the GJI are heard and visible from the halls of the U.S. Congress to the streets of
Belarus, Romania and Lithuania. In the coming year, Rev. Pat will serve as the clergy representative for the New
York chapter.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to John Hassell for keeping the work to end AIDS, an enduring global pandemic, alive,
keeping AIDS clinics open around the globe through his paid position, and addressing systemic and encoded
injustices directed at PLWAs ever before us as a movement for justice. John continues as an original member of the
GJI and Government and Policy Team.

Our Government and Policy Team {GAP} worked tirelessly throughout this past year on issues ranging from Covid-19
and a public safety net to racial justice, immigration reform, a faith leadership team for the recent U.S. elections,
getting out the vote efforts, health care for all, just pay, equitable vaccine distribution, Federal jobs protections in the
U.S., overturning negative policies maintaining discrimination, partnering on AMICUS briefs here and in Romania,
foster care and adoption, keeping HIV clinics open globally and making sure all MCC doctrinal and policy statements
enshrine the practice of Marriage Equality in the event opposition leaders attempt to use “freedom of religion”
arguments to dismantle favorable high court decisions. Thank you Kareem Murphy for your long-term faithfulness to
the work of global justice, and for monitoring a vast array of public policy issues and keeping the voice of the GJI
alive on issues of policy around the globe. Thank you, Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis for all your work with the Poor
Peoples Campaign in the United States and on issues of racial equality and justice. Your long term dedication and
witness has been exemplary.

We continued to serve as a fiscal conduit for Rainbow Faith and Freedom Movement located in Canada, and look
forward to expanding that partnership in 2021, as well as extending our services in a similar capacity to a Palestinian
rights organization.

Of the many Amicus briefs the GJI was part of, supporting the right of Muslim parolees to refuse participation in
religious gatherings and activities not of their own tradition connected us again to The Rev. Troy Perry’s founding
vision and the right of everyone to seek a relationship with the Divine on their own terms.
We issued statements in tribute to notables like John Lewis and on issues like Housing Saves Lies, the dispatching
of Federal Troops to cities like Portland, the execution of George Floyd, and IDAHOBIT among others, and marched
with Black Lives Matter protestors and demonstrators on behalf of the GJI.

In East Africa, the Rev. Uthasyo Kimindu continued to serve as the Director of East African Affairs, expanding the
services and work of the GJI in Mtito Andei and beyond. The GJI again sponsored the annual LGBTQI and Allies
retreat for spiritual leaders, the expansion of water availability to the surrounding community, education regarding
HIV/AIDS, the development of community gardening and exploration of the possibility of developing a hot house. We
helped enable a Kenyan student’s study with Pacific School of Religion and the stocking of a fish pond, as well as
providing Covid-19 relief in the form of toiletries, soap, food and sanitary supplies for teen girls.

In the Caribbean, we began exploring new partnerships with emerging leaders in Jamaica, and hope that the new
year will lead us to directly tackle sodomy laws again. Thank you Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin for your long term vision
and faithfulness to the work in the Caribbean.

Sadly, one of Rev. Dr. Boon Lin Ngeo’s books was banned in Malaysia after 7 years in circulation. The good news,
however, is two-fold: Government officials finally read the book and that action has motivated local Human Rights
activists to pursue a court case challenging the ban and potentially expanding Queer rights protections there. Thank
you Rev. Boon for your faithful service.

Though Covid-19 remains a challenging reality around the globe, we who are devoted to the work of the GJI remain
committed to continuing and expanding our work in the new year. We will take advantage of the pandemic
restrictions to enlarge our virtual capacities and engage more globally inclusive strategic planning. As mentioned
above, we hope to open a 3rd satellite office in Latin America, and engage potential partners in Venezuela with efforts
there to open the nation’s first LGBT center.

When we summed up 2019 as a “challenging year” we had no idea what lie ahead in terms of the challenges of
2020. Yet, through it all, the GJI and. Our partners managed to not only keep our spirits high, but to forge ahead with
projects to make justice rock and roll and rush forward in this world.

We still have lots to do, and with God’s guidance and the support of those who aspire to keep Rev. Perry’s vision of
salvation for all, community for all and social justice for all alive, we will push forward.

Donations to support the ongoing efforts of the GJI can be made by visiting our website at
www.globaljusticeinstitute.org and clicking on the donate button or by mailing gifts to the Global Justice Institute, 446
West 36th Street, New York, New York 10018 USA. As always, all donations are designated entirely to the projects
of the GJI.

Thank you for the privilege of serving and for sharing the vision of just and right-relationship prevailing in this world.
May God continue to bless and guide us all.

For the Global Justice Institute,

The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director
The Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt The Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin
Kareem Murphy John Hassell The Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy
The Rev. Steve Torrence Mike Easterling The Rev. Dr. Boon Lin Ngeo

Today, we watch in stunned disbelief as domestic terrorists have stormed the U.S. Capitol Building, some even getting inside the chambers. There have been injuries. Congressional members have been sequestered and given gas masks.

The scene is sickening, heart-breaking, and infuriating. Conscience and character demand that we respond. Personal responses, political responses, pastoral responses, prophetic responses...multiple responses are needed, now.

We obviously don’t want to add to the angst or the agony.
We, as always, want to find the hope of healing, but that hope cannot condone silence or apathy. We may have little more than our voices right now and so we must raise those voices.

In recent years, those hoping to maintain power have tried to discredit our electoral system.

During this same period of time, we have seen racist and xenophobic attacks on the rise. We have seen transgender and gender non-binary people have their dignity denied. We have seen a pandemic rage out of control. We have seen bullying from office holders.

We have grieved and we have spoken out and marched, written to representatives and signed petitions, and we have voted. We have called for a return to decency, diplomacy, and decorum.

But today, we see not a peaceful march or even a spirited rally, but instead we see an invasion of hallowed space, of the people’s space, of the nation’s halls of governance. Parties and politicians are voted in and out of office, but to have those who lose an election refuse to accept defeat and to resort to threatening means to try to retain power is something the American ideal has long suggested could never and would never happen in the U.S. But, today it happened.

Today, whatever voice we have, we must raise to denounce this attack on our democracy. And, while religion should be non-partisan, and people of all political stripes can strive to love their neighbor and welcome the stranger and share their resources with those in need, and people of every political bent can do justice, love mercy, and live humbly, it is also true that the prophetic witness cannot be silent in the face of injustice and foul play.

The 45th POTUS has, either by design or reckless callousness, encouraged and perhaps even incited this sort of violence and mayhem, and can be, therefore, considered a bad actor in this travesty. Let us call on him to demand that his misguided fans and followers retreat from the Capitol building.

Let us call on Congress, once they are allowed to convene safely again, to use their powers to hold the president accountable for his rhetoric and behavior which have fanned these flames of discord.

And, as people of faith, let us pray for the healing of this hurting, divided, wounded nation.

We are not helpless, and we are certainly not hopeless.
We can pray. We can speak out. Let us do both, faithfully, lovingly, and with a commitment for “liberty and justice for all.”

We invite you to join a live-streamed call to prayer at 6 pm EST at Facebook.com/SunshineCathedral
This statement prepared on behalf of the Global Justice Institute by 

The Rev. Durrell Watkins 

The Global Justice Institute In Support of Polish Bishop Niemiec
Calls for Freedom of Religion and Speech

O6 November 2019 – In June of 2019 secular authorities, as well as representative of the Roman Church in Poland, began circulating false accusations against Old Catholic Bishop Szymon Niemiec. On October 28th of this year those false accusations led to the Bishop being charged with violating Article 196 of the Penal Code for “desecrating” a mass, and interrogated at police headquarters in Warsaw, Poland.

To be clear, Poland is a member state of the European Union and the Council of Europe, embracing a constitutional right to freedom of religion and expression. Bishop Niemiec exercised that freedom in celebrating an ecumenical service as part of Pride celebrations earlier this year at which a small group of about 20 people were cared for spiritually. Neither gender identity nor sexual orientation prohibit persons from seeking pastoral care or ministers of the Gospel from providing that care.

Bishop Niemiec has been a consistent spiritual ally providing pastoral care to the LGBTQI and allied communities of Eastern Europe, organizing important ecumenical events such as the LGBT Pilgrim Haven in Krakow during World Youth Day in 2016 and participating in the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups in Gdansk in 2017. His right to do so is a guaranteed human right.

The Global Justice Institute joins allies around the world in calling on Polish authorities to cease masking outright disdain for LGBTQI human rights allies and defenders as criminal conduct and to honor their obligations as part of the European Union by respecting the rights of Bishop Niemiec to both worship as he chooses and offer pastoral care to others in accord with his religious convictions. We call upon police to drop all fabricated charges against the Bishop and issue a public apology reiterating the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.


This statement prepared for the Global Justice Institute by
The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director,
And The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Marriage Equality and Family Issues.

For more information contact: revjimmerritt@globaljusticeinstitute.org

446 WEST 36 th STREET | NEW YORK, NY 10018 | p. 212.629.7440. | f. 212.279.1185

They shall beat their swords into plowshare,
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
nor shall they train for war anymore.
~ Isaiah 2:4

On Wednesday, without provocation but apparently with the tacit and now denied approval of the White House and an order to withdraw all U.S. troops from the region, President Erdogan of Turkey launched an air and land assault against the Kurdish people of Northeast Syria.  While Kurdish men, women and children remain the primary target, others living in the region, including Syrian Orthodox Christians, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, and Yazidi populations will also be at risk. Observers of the region believe that the unprovoked attacks will create as many as a half million new refugees in a part of the world already suffering under the burden of war and displacement.

While many will doubtless see this as a political crisis and problem, we who base our work for social justice on our firm and unwavering faith convictions and who follow the teachings of Jesus the Christ  believe the current escalation of violence and the genocide that will result to be a spiritual and moral crisis and one that calls for people of good will across the globe to speak up, to pray and to act in any way we can to call those responsible for this senseless destruction of life to halt their aggression.

War is always wrong.  “Thou shalt not kill,” is an imperative for those who follow a God who is defined as love and a Child of God hailed as a Prince of Peace.   In addition, there can be no justification for anyone betraying those who have been faithful to them, and we who are in the camps of the betrayers can expect long term repercussions and impact to our own security and that of the wider world around us.  Many say we can now expect the resurgence of ISIS and extremist factions in parts of the world where those forces had been quelled.

We know those who are most vulnerable, like women, children and the aging and ill, will most assuredly pay the highest costs for this senseless aggression.  We also know that Scripture’s mandate is to care for the vulnerable, not destroy them.

For all these reasons, we ask that you join the Global Justice Institute in this daily prayer until the violence in Northern Syria is brought to a halt.

O God, 

Angels sang at the birth of the Christ child about peace on earth and goodwill among all.
Let that song ring in our hearts and minds now, and in those of every man, woman and child across the globe.  
Turn the course of history and of the leaders of this world toward acting justly and walking humbly with you.
Protect all those who are in imminent danger, and help those of us with access to the seats of power
and the means of protest to do all we can to end the atrocity in Syria.

We are all your children, O God
May that simple truth guide us to act as family politically, socially and in spirit.
Save those who face harm, and save those of us who face the demon of indifference.
Make us into the living and life-giving presence of Jesus the Christ,
whose teachings and example we follow,and in whose name we pray.   


This statement prepared by The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner,
Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute.

For more information, please contact 

The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt at drjimmerritt@gmail.com

Family Values Value Families
A Call to the U.S. Branch of Metropolitan Community Churches

8 August 2019.

Yesterday, a few hours before the President of the United States stepped off a plane in El Paso, Texas to pay tribute to people targeted for their race and culture in a massacre that claimed 22 lives, approximately 600 agents representing the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, descended upon 7 Mississippi food processing centers, targeting 680 workers based on their race and culture, taking them into custody for alleged immigration violations.

It was the first day of school in towns like Morton and Forest, and many school age children and younger were left without anyone to pick them up, take them home, hear their first-day-back stories, help them with homework, feed and bathe them, or tuck them in for the night. Abandoned. Alone. Instead strangers touched them, trying to comfort them or make sure they had some of what they needed, like gym owner Jordan Barnes. He was kind ~ “…everyone needs to hold the kids first and foremost in their minds,” he said. But apparently the current Administration held them as an afterthought. “This is just what happens,” said one agent, “when parents are arrested.”

I know we, who are part of Metropolitan Community Churches, come from many political persuasions, and certainly the wider LGBTQIA community is diverse in its beliefs, but who among us really believes or advocates or thinks it is ok or in any way justifiable to destroy and rip apart families, to terrorize and traumatize small children, to target people because of perceived race or culture or the accent with which someone speaks? --- By ripping apart the families of hard working productive community members, driving marginalized communities farther underground, devastating local food processing businesses and areas dependent upon those businesses for economic survival, what ultimate value are we espousing? What political principal or cherished spiritual belief are we upholding? Is America safer? Are any of our futures more secure because 11 year old Magdalena Gomez Gregorio was separated from her father, as she through her tears she managed to say, “I need my father. He is not a criminal.”?

I have read about Nazi, Germany and studied the history of Japanese internment camps in the United States. The images of Bosnian men and boys shirtless and caged, their ribs showing, are seared in my memory. I am old enough to remember the calls, when AIDS was still called GRID, for rounding up all gay men as a way to contain the spread of AIDS and save lives. There were enough well-placed people among us then, with access to enough power, to make sure that didn’t happen. We need those people to step forward now. We need those of us who don’t think we have much power to step forward and remember that silence is death --- for all of us.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi said of the raids yesterday, “We are once again becoming a nation of laws.” I don’t know about you, but I at least, try to follow a higher law than any single nation could ever encode. I don’t know what you hold sacred, but I reverence and strive to enflesh what I regard as the Word of God: “As often as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me. . . . Whoever hears the Word of God and does it is family to me.”

This past Sunday, I asked everyone in the congregation I serve to go on line and find a way to send at least 1 message to 1 lawmaker on some level about ending gun violence. It isn’t the whole answer, getting people in power to act, but it’s a place to start. --- Now I am asking us to go on line and find a way to contact at least 1 person in power about stopping the inhumane and racist, the devastating and destructive targeting of some of our family members, Children of God like us, for the sake of defending a line in the dirt, a boundary that somebody made up. It’s never OK, no matter what civil law allows, to destroy peoples’ lives. Everyone has a divine birth right, regardless of where they were born or the language they first uttered, to live the best life they can. America was built on that belief.

“Give me --- GIVE ME your tired, your poor, our huddled masses yearning to breathe free” ~ that’s supposed to be a foundational principle for all of us; that’s supposed to be the heart of what makes America great and distinguishes us as one people, indivisible, with liberty for all.

Go on line. Make sure the values of God’s universal family are being upheld and lived out no matter what. Maybe do even more, step up and support organizations that are doing things most of us are not able to do on our own. United We Dream, Mijente, The American Civil Liberties Union and Immigration Justice Corps all provide advocacy and legal services to immigrants. Border Angels always need cash to buy water for people making the long journey to freedom. Freedom for Immigrants needs support to continue providing visitation and bond money to the detained. Check out www.theyoungcenter.org
for 20 ways we can all help immigrants now. They focus on unaccompanied minors.

“I love you and you are mine,” Isaiah heard the voice of God say. We have it within our power, no matter who we are or how well we are stationed in this life, to make sure all God’s children know that and feel safe and cared for.

The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner
for The Global Justice Institute

Prepared on behalf of the Global Justice Institute.

For more information contact:

The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Government and Policy Team,
Email: drjimmerritt@gmail.com,   

or write to us at

446 West 36th Street,
New York, NY 10018.

The historic 2017 Women’s March inspired hundreds of women to run for office and millions of women to support them in winning. In November 2018, the #WomensWave swept into office record numbers of women and people of color!

We are not done exerting our power. Now in 2019, it’s time to march again and send a loud and clear message to President Trump that women are raising our voices for the real changes we need in our communities — and also to show our newly elected representatives that we have their backs as they prepare to fight on behalf of women and families. Are you in?

*RSVP now — say you’ll be joining the 3rd Women’s March on Saturday, January 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the nation!

The stakes for our nation are too high to be silent right now. One thing we know through our agreements, and even through our disagreements, is that our voices are urgently needed to stand up for the rights of every woman — and against sexism, racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and all forms of discrimination that are negatively impacting our communities. Together, our #WomensWave will keep growing and letting the Trump administration know that diverse women will continue to be a wall of power against his destructive agenda!

The Women’s March in January 2019 is an important opportunity to demonstrate our power and unity, and, critically, to continue to build momentum to 2020 and beyond. When we return to the streets of Washington, D.C. and cities around the world, we arrive with an agenda on behalf of all women, families, and communities.

*Are you with us? Let us know by RSVPing here.

When you click the link, you’ll be letting us know that “You’re all in!” as part of the #WomensWave. By RSVPing now, you will help us share with the media and leaders that women are still rising, persisting, and insisting on justice, so please fill out the form. The more of us who are “all in,” the bigger the impact we’ll have together. 

*Here’s the RSVP link again (Feel free to share it with others too!): https://action.momsrising.org/survey/WomensMarch_RSVP2019/?t=7&akid=11634%2E2135868%2E1bGF8v
Here’s more information about transportation, sister marches, buttons, and more:

  • Need help arranging transportation or want to register your bus so others in your area can join you? https://action.momsrising.org/go/39523?t=9&akid=11634%2E2135868%2E1bGF8v
  • Can’t make it to Washington, D.C., but are interested in participating in a march event near you? You can find a full list of the local events happening (organized by state and city) at the main Women’s March website: https://action.momsrising.org/go/39524?t=11&akid=11634%2E2135868%2E1bGF8v
  • Want to show some MomsRising/MamásConPoder pride around the marches no matter where you are and whatever you're doing? We have printable "Super M" buttons for you to wear while marching! #MomsMarching "Super M" Button INSTRUCTIONS: Just print the PDF downloaded from the following link, color the buttons, cut them out, and use a safety pin to put the buttons on for the #WomensMarch! --> Here's the link to get your FREE buttons for the #WomensMarch: https://action.momsrising.org/go/29059?t=13&akid=11634%2E2135868%2E1bGF8v
  • Want to get involved virtually? Connect with MomsRising on Facebook and via @MomsRising and @WomensMarch on Twitter on January 19th to raise your voice and help amplify the mission of the Women’s March!
  • Keep Informed! We will continue to keep you posted as information comes our way! You can also find the latest information at the main Women’s March website, including transportation recommendations, suggested reading, and the mission of the march.

*Don’t forget to RSVP that you’ll be there (in Washington, D.C., or any of the sister cities) — and to share the RSVP link on Facebook, Twitter, and with friends and family too, so we can keep building a strong movement. Here’s that RSVP link againhttps://action.momsrising.org/survey/WomensMarch_RSVP2019/?t=18&akid=11634%2E2135868%2E1bGF8v

Together, we'll #KeepMarching. Together, we are the #WomensWave!

See you there! 

We, who care about our fellow human beings, both children and adults, both families trying to make it together and trans women like Alejandra fleeing violence in El Salvador and who has a family in the US willing to receive her - we, who have the privilege of living in a country that ostensibly welcomes the oppressed and weary, must keep the pressure on until our legislators feel the pain of failing to care for those in need.

Vote for no one who would sooner throw a trans refugee or child in prison than help them to safety. Make your voice and the will of God for compassion and care known anyway you can... The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner.



Photo courtesy of ThinkstockPhotos

“It is impossible to celebrate an order that leads to expanded incarceration of immigrant children and families at the United States borders,” said The Reverend Doctor Jim Merritt, Director for Family Issues of the Global Justice Institute.

The New York Times reports that the President caved to enormous political pressure today, and signed an executive order meant to end the separation of families at the border by detaining parents and children together for an indefinite period.  

However, today’s order does nothing to address the plight of more than 2,300 children already separated from their parents and held under the president’s zero tolerance policy.  According to Federal officials, the order does not include any provision to immediately reunite these children with their families while parents remain incarcerated awaiting immigration proceedings.

“Immediately incarcerating immigrant families, including children, is immoral, unethical and ungodly,” wrote Global Justice Institute Executive Director The Reverend Elder Pat Bumgardner. “We call for the immediate reunification of these families and for housing appropriate to the developmental needs of the children.”>

“It is clear the president created this situation himself, contrary to his ongoing rhetoric blaming members of Congress, particularly Democrats.  Today’s order falls far short of appropriately bringing an end to the gross abuse of immigrant children and their families,” said Dr. Merritt.

The Global Justice Institute continues calling on people of faith everywhere to stand in solidarity against the US government’s gross mistreatment of immigrant children and families.  We encourage participation in rally’s, marches and other peaceful actions demanding an end this horrific treatment of “the least of these” at the hands of the Trump Administration.

This Statement Prepared by The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Family Issues,

The Global Justice Institute. The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director

Contact revjimmerritt@globaljusticeinstitue.org for more information


Participate in MCCNY’s Easter Offering forThe Global Justice Institute!

By participating in the Easter Offering for Global Justice, we will join hands with others around the globe to put our faith into action. Your support will aid the Global Justice Institute and its bold vision for the coming year and the activists on the ground that are supported through the institute.

Last year, your generosity empowered the Global Justice Institute to:

• publish the first book of spiritual reflections for LGBTQI Christians in China to provide a resource for people worshipping in an "underground" context.

• open a computer lab for children in Mtito Andei, Kenya, and saw our first students and hold the first Lesbian retreat in the area, with 10 women in attendance.

• send a representative to the Eastern European Forum, a coalition of LGBTQI Christian groups in Europe, and their conference in Romania. Rev. Jim Merritt represented GJI, and in addition to speaking on the work of GJI, led a workshop that helped formulate a strategic plan.

• continue our work in Honduras supporting the work of Ecumenicas, as they hold workshops in local neighborhoods to teach women how to advocate for reproductive justice and health care options.

• support the work of Casa Misao in Maringa, Brazil and its outreach to and support of homeless LGBTQI peoples and those struggling with drug addiction. Our investment helped the house remodel and achieve sufficient standards to qualify for future government funding.

• be represented by Rev. Elder Pat as part of a group of 11 LGBTQI activists of faith from around the globe who spoke at the United Nations about faith and LGBTQI rights.

• sponsor a speaking tour for The Rev. Dr. Boon Lin Ngeo in Taiwan regarding marriage equality.

• provide financial support in the aftermath of the hurricane in Puerto Rico, the earthquake in Mexico, for two gay men in Uganda fleeing violence, for a gay activist's mother in Uganda, and to a group in Chechnya helping gay men who have been targeted by the government get to safer housing.

Our goals in 2018 include:

• working with a young man to bring GJI and safe worship space to Zimbabwe.
• strengthening and expanding our programming reach at our satellite location in Kenya and providing safe space for LGBT outcasts at our site.
• drilling a well at our Kenya site, which the East African drought has necessitated, to provide clean and consistent water.
• expanding into western Kenya.
• partnering with a group in Mexico around work with Chiapas trans women. and a shelter for refugees in Bojay.
• continuing our collaboration with HIV/AIDS activists in Cuba, including supporting the securing of property and partnering on shared human rights projects with CENESEX.
• expanding partnerships between local MCCs and GJI projects

Join Metropolitan Community Churches on Easter Sunday as we hold a special dedicated offering for
the work of the Global Justice Institute!



A Statement from
Dr. Robert P. Sellers
Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World's Religions 

Dr. Larry Greenfield
Executive Director of the Parliament of the World's Religions
In these times of extraordinary tension and danger, leaders—whether political, socio-cultural, or religious and whatever their nation, tradition, or spiritual path--have a special obligation to be unquestionably truthful, intentionally civil and respectful, and particularly careful to avoid being inflammatory and polarizing in any way. Instead, they need to be relentless in seeking a common good for their nation and its diverse peoples.

The Parliament of the World's Religions is committed to holding leaders to such standards, because the religions and spiritual communities of our world expect this of their own leaders and those in power in other spheres of human society. It is out of this commitment that we condemn the irresponsible retransmission of false and racist videos against the great religious tradition of Islam by the President of the United States, as well as his entirely inappropriate words to demean a political opponent at an event meant to honor Native Americans who served the United States with the deepest of commitments.

We invite other religious and civic leaders to join together in condemnation of the dangerous and disrespectful behavior by the President, who should apologize and exercise the discipline required of his office, his nation, and his position on the world's stage.

Now is exactly the time for religious and spiritual leaders, especially in the United States, to use the power entrusted to us and to empower our colleagues in religious service to take persistent actions that reveal to the wider public our deep solidarity for truth-speaking and peace-seeking, justice-advancing, and compassion-sharing.

Click on the RSVP link to respond


Click on the RSVP link to respond


After the 1,300th mass shooting since Sandy Hook, after the dead were covered in tarps and the wounded whisked away in wheel barrows and the backs of pickup trucks, after strangers waited with the dying so they wouldn’t be alone and the very, very brave shielded those they’d never met before from rapid fire shots they thought at first were fire crackers --- after 59 people died and 527 were injured, we heard a White House spokesperson say ~ now is not the time to discuss gun laws; there will be time for “policy discussions,” but “that’s not the place we’re at.”

WHERE ARE WE AT?  Columbine, Herkimer, Tucson, Santa Monica, Hialeah, Terrell, Alturas, Isla Vista, Marysville, Chapel Hill, Tyrone, Waco, Charleston, Chattanooga, Birmingham, Fort Hood, Aurora, Virginia Tech, , the DC Navy Yard, a Congressional baseball practice, San Bernadino, Sandy Hook, Orlando and now Las Vegas are a few places we’ve been.  

Depending on how we define “mass shooting,” since Orlando and the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub, at least 585 people have been killed in mass shootings; 2, 156 have been injured.  All of us have been traumatized.  .  .  .  “I’ve lost hope,” said a man on the street.  “I gave up after Sandy Hook.  If they {lawmakers} didn’t care about the deaths of first graders, if seeing children massacred didn’t change anything, what will?”

IS THAT WHERE WE'RE AT?  A place, a time without any hope that things can be different?  That we, as a people, can change the rules we live by?  The Rev. Troy Perry, founder of our movement of faith, is famous for saying:  “You can live 3 weeks without food, and about 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without air --- but you can’t live 1 second without hope.”

Where is our hope for the future being different and less violent?  Our hope for no more mass shootings or gun-related violence?  Almost every commentator on Las Vegas says the same thing:  After the extending of condolences and prayers for the dead, after the somber funeral processions and lowering of flags to half staff, after all the moments of silence and the make-shift sidewalk memorials, nothing will change.  Life will go on as always, and there will be another mass shooting and gun violence will continue and 92 people will die every single day who would not have if it wasn’t so easy to get a gun, so easy to buy a weapon of mass destruction capability, so easy to buy so many rounds of ammunition, so easy .  .  . to take a life.

Despite legislative disclaimers, NOW IS THE TIME to talk about preventing more needless and gun-related violence and bloodshed in the United States.  The only nation in the world that even comes close to the level of gun ownership by private citizens in the U.S. is Yemen, and people there are in the middle of a war. ~ Maybe we are, too.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans say they don’t think anyone needs an assault rifle or high capacity ammunition clips, yet a majority also support an interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that would make both things a right.  Does having a right to do something mean we should do it?  The first humans purportedly had freedom of choice in the Garden.  They made the wrong choice and suffered for it.

Is there a difference between having a right and doing the right thing?  People of faith and good will need to ask themselves these questions.  Almost every study on gun ownership says the more prevalent ownership, the more likely violence and bloodshed.  It’s that simple.    Stephen Paddock didn’t need the 29 guns in his hotel room or the 18 others found in his home.  No one does.  Not even soldiers in combat carry the amount of fire power he brought to a 32nd floor hotel room in the entertainment capital of the world.

There’s no way to justify civilians having access to weapons of mass destruction.  No way.  The studies have been done and they all conclude one thing:  the more guns available, the more deaths that will occur.  And no one needs a study to feel the grief and pain and despair violence like that in Las Vegas levies on all of us.

Many reading this will no doubt shrug it off ~ these sorts of things just happen now and then.  Only 1% of the gun deaths in the United States each year are the result of mass shootings. ---  Perhaps others will say, it’s a uniquely U.S. problem.  Is it?  We live in an interconnected global reality that lines on a map cannot and do not change.  Terrorism is terrorism.  Violence is violence.  Not stopping it anywhere promotes it everywhere.  Maybe it’s time for the world to call the United States to accountability.  Maybe it’s time for those of us in the United States to do that for ourselves.

Image Credit: The Daily Beast

Caleb Keeter, one of those performing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival did that when he tweeted to his fans, “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd Amendment my entire life….I cannot express how wrong I was….A small groud {or 1 man} laid waste to a city…because of access to an insane amount of fire power…this is completely out of hand.”


We can do something if we stand together and stop allowing corporate enterprises that benefit from trading in fear scare us into not acting.  The government is no where near rescinding the 2nd Amendment.  Renounce that fear; it’s pointless.  Banning assault weapons and high capacity rounds of ammunition will not interfere with anyone’s right to own a gun.  Banning guns in public places like schools and churches and movie theaters and at concerts will not make us more vulnerable.  People who had guns at the Las Vegas concert testify that they could not use them for fear of being targeted by law enforcement as the shooter, further endangering themselves and those around them. Opposing the SHARE Act, a measure that would allow concealed carry reciprocity across state lines, is a no brainer.  It’s really this simple: common sense gun regulations will save lives.  

Now is the time to act to limit access to weapons and ammunition that has no place in our communities and serves no purpose other than mass destruction and terror.  We can do this.  Mass shootings are not inevitable.  They are preventable.

This statement prepared by Members of the Government and Policy Team of the Global Justice Institute.
 The Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner,
Executive Director.

For more information on how to become active in the fight to end gun violence or

about the Global Justice Institute, contact The Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt at


September,   2017
Request for Financial Assistance – LGBTQ Justice Work in Mtito Andei, Kenya

Next major project – a well!

Mtito Andei, Kenya is a medium size city in Kenya strategically located half way between the two major cities of Nairobi, the capital, and Mombosa on the Indian Ocean Coast.  The town is economically depressed, and since it is a major overnight truck stop on the Mombosa – Nairobi route, many women (and some men) resort to prostitution as the only option to support their families.  The HIV rate among children in Mtito Andei is very high, and local churches often ostracize sex workers and LGBTQ people.

About two years ago, Metropolitan Community Church pastor Rev. Michael Kimindu relocated his ministry to Mtito Andei since he is originally from that area, and it was underserved in the area of religious and justice ministry.  With the assistance of a small number of donors, 2 acres of land were purchased, and a gazebo type structure and a small home for Rev. Kimindu and his family were built.

Currently, Rev Kimindu is building strong alliances within the community with elementary school leaders, a new local university and several community leaders also concerned with the community’s issues.  His vision includes some small scale agriculture and vocational training to provide alternatives for local residents, promoting safer sex among sex workers, addressing child abuse issues in local schools, and providing a spiritual home for those who are shunned by their churches.  To leverage the property and his resources, Rev. Kimindu has formed a collaborative ministry with Metropolitan Community Churches, Global Justice Institute, Other Sheep and the Kimer-Kamba Cultural Centre.

Early this year, we constructed a small totally enclosed classroom building which will facilitate community meetings and training, and to provide a small office space for Rev. Kimindu along with a small kitchen.  In addition, we raised funds for supplies, furniture and equipment for this building.

The next step which will help this ministry to become self-sustaining is to dig and equip a well on the property.  The Mtito Andei area is very dry with recent draughts, and often the water supply from the town is barely a trickle.  A well would not only assist Rev. Kimindu, but also all his surrounding neighbors and help him build bridges to them.  And it would allow for much larger scale gardening which can provide income to the struggling women of Mtito Andei.

A fully equipped well will cost around $25,000, and we already have $10,000 saved up toward that amount.  We are looking for all size donations, and for a $10,000 gift we would grant naming rights to the well – to name in honor of yourself, loved one or friend.

Below are photos taken from the property in late 2015 when visited by Rev Elder Pat Bumgardner and long time MCC lay leader and current Kenyan church member Stan Kimer
C:\Users\Stan\Desktop\My Documents\My Pictures\Africa 2015\Kenya\Kenya RevPat 05.jpg C:\Users\Stan\Desktop\My Documents\My Pictures\Africa 2015\Kenya\Jan update 01.jpg
Below is a photo of Rev Kimindu in his new office and family and friends celebrating the opening of the class room building
https://www.totalengagementconsulting.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Mtito-May-10-300x180.jpg https://www.totalengagementconsulting.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Mtito-Andei-Kenya-11.png
And a few photos of early gardening efforts on the next page.  And you can see water barely trickling out of the faucet.
The wonderful first fruits of first gardening project on the land. May Kenya water trickle

Thank you for your consideration of funding this crucial work in this area of Kenya, East Africa.

All donations are fully tax deductible as allowed by US Law.  Checks can be written to the Global Justice Institute, which is a US registered 501-c(3), 446 West 36th Street, New York, New York 10018 {note Kenya Well in the memo}, or a contribution can be made on line by clicking the donate button.  

All donations can be designated as “Kenya Well.”  

May God bless you for your generous support.

Global Justice Institute,
446 West 36th Street,
New York, New York 10018


August 13, 2017

The Global Justice Institute Demands Equality and Justice for ALL People

photo courtesy of wired.com
“Make no mistake, what we saw on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia was terrorism,” wrote The Global Justice Institute’s Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt on Saturday, August 12, 2017, as gangs of Nazi’s, racists, white supremacists and other hate groups descended on the city of Charlottesville.  “In addition to our shared outrage at such blatant racist symbolism, let us also realize that such despicable actions are emboldened by dog whistle language that demonizes ‘the Other’, that attacks, vilifies, or seeks to exclude people for how they look, how they identify, how they pray, or who they love. Regardless of who uses this kind of divisive and demeaning language, even if such speakers of spite otherwise share our religious or political affiliations, we must name such language for the vile, vitriolic, verbal venom that it is,” said Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Senior Pastor of Sunshine Cathedral (MCC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Global Justice Institute stands with all people for equal treatment, safety and full equality around the world.  We echo the words of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe who said, “Go home.  You are not wanted…shame on you. You pretended you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot.  We are stronger than you.  You have made (us) stronger.  There is no place for you here and there is no place for you in America.”

“Although many place their deadly actions under the umbrella of God and Christian faith, we say emphatically this is not the work of God, these are not Christian values, and these are not the behaviors of people of faith,” said Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director of The Global Justice Institute and Senior Pastor of The Metropolitan Community Church of New York.

We must stand firm in the face of evil.  Defeating evil will take prayer, faith, and action.  Accordingly, we call for these immediate actions in response to this weekend’s terrorist acts;

  1. Pray for the victims, especially for the family of Heather Heyer who was murdered in the streets of Charlottesville.

  2. Demand an appropriate response from the President of the United States specifically denouncing Nazis and white supremacists and their actions.

  3. As people of faith, demand that meaningful conversations and actions take place in our churches, in our local communities and at the National level.

  4. Stand in solidarity with minority communities who will, no doubt, be targeted further as we continue toward full equality and justice for all people.

The time for action is now.  Let us all join together in prayerful activism today, tomorrow, and until God’s beloved community is established among us.  They are necessary.  The forces of hatred and division we saw in Charlottesville are planning similar gatherings around the U.S. in the coming weeks and months.  

This statement is prepared by The Global Justice Institute.

Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director and Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Director for Family Concerns and Mr. Kareem Murphy

Contact Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt at revjim@revjim.org.


Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, joined by celebrities and politicians, flooded midtown streets Saturday with pink hats and homemade signs to show Donald Trump they won't be silent over the next four years. People chanted "This is What Democracy Looks Like" and "Not My President" in a march that snaked from the UN headquarters on the East Side, across 42nd Street and up Fifth Avenue to President Donald Trump's home.
"Trump, although he is a New Yorker, does not reflect the values of this city," said Vanessa Weber, who marched and lives in New York City.

About 400,000 people participated in the rally and march, according to Mayor de Blasio, who thanked the NYPD in a tweet for keeping everyone safe.
Many held homemade signs with messages such as "Fight Like a Girl," and "Stop Tweeting, Start Tweeting." One sign said "Can't Comb Over Misogyny."
"I'm here to fight for families and women because all of us, our rights are being threatened," said Wendy Most, of New York City.
Rosie Perez, Whoopi Goldberg, and Taylor Schilling of "Orange is the New Black" helped kick off the march.
The demonstration started just before 11 a.m. with a rally and choral performance by the HERmonics, an informal women's choir, at One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. Streets started filling up about 90 minutes before the choir began.

Source: 'NBC New York

photos:Dallas Phelps New York


Hundreds of thousands of women and men, adults and children will converge on Washington, DC the day after the 45th Presidential inauguration to both send a message that women’s rights are human rights and to continue building a global movement with full human equality as its centerpiece.  Originally focusing on the United States capital, the march has grown to include demonstrations in 140 cities in the U.S., as well as in twenty additional countries.

The March on Washington will begin at 10am EST, stepping off at the intersection of Independence Avenue and 3rd Street NW, marching west along Independence Avenue.

If you are marching in your city, we want to know.  

Please email the Government and Policy Team of the Global Justice Institute

If you are going to Washington and would like to march under the Global Justice Institute banner,
text Frances at
212-390-0627 when you arrive in Washington, D.C.

For more information on local buses to D.C. go to


or visit the Women’s March facebook page.   Information on marches in countries outside the United States can be found on the following facebook pages 

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Auckland, New ZealandBarcelona, SpainBerlin, GermanyBrussels, Belgium;Copenhagen, DenmarkEdmonton, CanadaFrankfurt, Germany;Geneva, SwitzerlandHeidelberg, GermanyLondon, EnglandMalecon, MexicoOslo, NorwayOttowa, CanadaParis, FranceRome, ItalySt. Johns, CanadaStockholm, SwedenSydney, AustraliaToronto, Canada;Vienna, AustriaWellington, New ZealandJalisco, Mexico.
The Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches are inviting of people of faith, peace, and goodwill to rise up, raise their voices, and work to end gun violence. We believe in a world where everyone should be free from gun violence. We resolve to work toward building that world.

photo:Dallas Phelps New York
21 June, 2016

The first anniversary of the attack on Mother Emanuel AME Church (Charleston, South Carolina, USA). The massacre at the Pulse Nightclub (Orlando, Florida, USA). Newtown, San Bernardino, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood . . .

It’s not just about the list of mass shootings being too long. There should be no list.

That the Pulse Nightclub attack happened within days of the first anniversary of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charlestown reminds us of the common link bigotry plays in gun violence.

One attack targeted the LGBT and immigrant communities and the other targeted African-Americans in their place of worship. Through our prayers and worship services, we remember the dead and honor their sacrifices, and call out the common thread of hate in all these acts.

stands at the intersection of so many targeted and marginalized groups, providing a space for safety and healing. Joy MCC (Orlando, Florida, USA) along with several other MCC congregations have hosted or participated in interfaith prayer services and gatherings that focused on the shootings at Pulse and on ending gun violence.

We hope that your community of faith will join in the effort to prevent the proliferation of guns and end gun violence.
MCC Moderator’s statement condemning the Orlando massacre.
Text of H.R. 4469 the Assault Weapons Ban legislation pending in the U.S. Congress
If you wish to text your support for commonsense gun control legislation, go to Voices Against Violence.
Get the facts about guns from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
President Obama’s Plan to Reduce Gun Violence
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence Letter to Congress
Mother Jones Investigative Report A Guide to Mass Shootings in America

photo:Dallas Phelps New York

The Orlando massacre reminded the nation that there is still a ban on blood donations by gay men.

The unwarranted ban highlights how men who have sex with men remain unable to provide real, immediate, and meaningful help to the victims of the attack.

Federal policy prohibits us from helping our own. The Public Policy Team, the Global Justice Institute, and Metropolitan Community Churches call on all people of faith and goodwill to actively petition the U.S. government to end the blood ban.

Our lives hang in the balance.

Read our previous statement and call to action (with resources) HERE.

May Our Activism Be Our Prayer.

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia– Tuesday, 17 May 2016
May 11 2016

Conceived in 2004 by French activist Louis-Georges Tin to commemorate the decision of the World Health Organization (1990) to de-pathologize homosexuality by removing it from the International Classification of Diseases, May 17th has become a globally recognized day to raise awareness of LGBTQI lives and call attention to efforts to end discrimination and violence and promote equality.

This year, from China to the Congo and Canada, LGBTQI peoples and our allies in over 150 nations will sponsor conversations, festivities and events, as well as demonstrations and marches for an end to the criminalization of Queer life and the implementation of IDAHOBIT17May2016 policies that recognize and respect the diversity of God’s creation. The themes are Mental Health and Well Being. The focus is designed to ensure that everyone, including those within the LGBTQI community, receive all the supports for mental health that are necessary. This will refute the ways in which government and societal leaders wrongly characterize people of different genders, sexualities, and gender expressions as mentally ill. The goal is to create opportunities for well being and to confront/eliminate violence and discrimination.

We join organizers in encouraging people to:

Push for the depathologization of transgender identities
Oppose “conversion therapies” and specifically protecting young people
In Hong Kong, community activists will honor businesses that have supported LGBT equality. Organizers will celebrate the fifth LGBTI pride event in Albania, also gathering people from Kosovo and Macedonia. Activists on every continent will pause to remember slain LGBT journalist in Bangladesh who were hacked to death last month.

Everyone can do something to highlight LGBTQI life and our victories or address the challenges that remain before us.

The Public Policy Team invites MCC congregations around the world to mark May 17th INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA, BIPHOBIA AND TRANSPHOBIA!Here are some suggestions for you, your congregation, or your ministry:

Host a Bible Study, preach and pray about ending discrimination and promoting peace and goodwill throughout the earth.


Organizers, encourage the use of dance and the arts in hosting the events.
Use music, host a flash mob, busk, hold street performances, be improvisational.

Advocate for full equality.

Add your community’s support to a local legislative drive to promote equality and safety for all youth.

In the United States, contact your U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative and encourage them to move the Safe Schools Improvement Act to end bullying against Queer youth out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.

Host a gathering and invite your neighbors, family and friends to the movement for equality in your location and make them aware of what volunteer or organizational opportunities are available. Invite a local activist group to speak or provide resources.
Every word offered, every event celebrated, every step taken, every prayer lifted up can and will make a difference for God’s LGBTQI peoples and a world at peace with its own diversity. You can inspire others around the world by sharing what you do. Send your stories and photos to the Public Policy Team at mccadvocacy@mcccchurch.net.

Thank you for making this world a better place.


14 January, 2016

Conference Call with White House
Friday, 15 January 2016, 1pm Eastern USA
A Call to Action for Faith Based Leaders:
Combat Substance Use Disorders in Your Communities


The White House Office of National Drug Control Polic
y (ONDCP), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships invites all faith leaders, including the laity and clergy of Metropolitan Community Churches, to join an important webinar “A Call to Action” for faith leaders and health ministers for taking action to end the opioid epidemic and increase access to health care.

The webinar will take place on Friday, 15 January 2016 from 1-2pm eastern standard time.

Faith groups play an essential role in supporting health and wellness in communities across the country; we have a demonstrated history of providing spiritual, social, and emotional assistance for persons struggling with substance use disorders and chemical dependency. Recognizing this, the Obama Administration will have selected faith leaders share their stories on how they are engaging their communities to address the opioid epidemic, building coalitions, reducing stigma and building trauma-informed congregations. Additionally, federal officials overseeing health care and criminal justice programs will highlight several government funding and programming opportunities. They will offer strategies on how faith groups can access these programs, either directly or in partnership with state and local government grant recipients.

You may register for this event HERE.road to recovery

Be prepared to offer questions when you register. This will allow the presenters to address them as part of their prepared remarks. Because of the webinar format, you will also be able to ask questions live during the webinar. The White House has asked MCC to share this information broadly, beyond our roster of clergy and lay leaders. You are invited to share this as broadly as possible, especially to our partners in recovery ministries and substance abuse disorder prevention and treatment.

For more information, contact mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net
Posted in Drugs, News, Take Action, US Action, US News


Part of our founding vision in Metropolitan Community Churches includes responding to the Biblical mandate to shape a world of just and right relationship. Over the years we, as people of faith, have preached a Gospel of equality, offered safe space and worked to address the intersections between homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, mass incarceration, poverty and economic inequality. With the formation of the Global Justice Institute, we have been able to expand our outreach and our work in these areas.

This year for the first time, as the United Nations marks the 67th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, the focus will include economic development and addressing the intersection with human rights.

The GJI has been a leader in linking economic well-being, Queer rights and the social change necessary to insure the security and freedom of human beings around the world. Our projects in East Africa, South and Central America and Pakistan testify to the change possible when people learn to work together for the common good.

This year, as we mark World Human Rights Day, join GJI in promoting peace on earth and goodwill among all by supporting our most recent project in Mtito Andei, Kenya.

Bringing water to the land of our new satellite location will enable local women currently caught in the sex-for-survival trade to have the opportunity to pursue an alternative means of securing food for their families by growing vegetables on the land hosting our new building.

It is a way to move the wider population from judgment to compassion and community.

And, please remember to pray daily for the work God has called us to embrace in this world. Join your brothers and sisters around the globe in praying that we might all act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
Click here to make a donation      to the water project in Mtito Andei.

Dear Friend of The Global Justice Institute:

Tuesday, December 1, is National #GivingTuesday. The Global Justice Institute is coming together with LGBT organizations around the U.S. for a day of focused philanthropy. #GivingTuesday allows everyone to honor phenomenal success in the LGBT equality movement by investing in its future. Our work is unfinished. The b) is the world’s premiere faith-based community organizing and advocacy organization dedicated to LGBT justice in the U.S. and the world. You can visit our website or check us out on Facebook and Twitter to see our work in action.

Because of your generosity, we:

Broke ground on a Global Justice Center in Mitito Andei, Kenya to provide safe space to all in need.

Provided ongoing funding for LGBT safe houses in Nigeria and Uganda, following the adoption of harsh, anti-LGBT legislation in those countries.

Marched alongside out LGBTQI siblings in the first Vietnam Pride Parade, and had talks in 15 cities across Asia.
Continue to forge a groundbreaking partnership in Costa Rica among HIV/AIDS service providers, LGBT-oriented homeless shelters, and a Central American refugee initiative.

By gjiadmin on 6 November, 2015

Dry Bones in Houston
Rev. Dr. Michael Diaz

Days later, I’m still in disbelief. One hour I want to cry out at the top of my lungs, and the next hour, I want to sit in deadening silence. As I move from frustration to tears, I remember the last time I was this emotional. Back in May of 2014, Houston City Council passed the historic Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), ensuring Houstonians have the right to access employment, housing, and public accommodations without discrimination.

I remember the courage exercised by so many friends.

Many spoke their truth like never before in front of city officials, risking the little stability found in the closet by coming out for the first time ever on public television.

I was proud of my city that day.

I feel ashamed today.

Despite our collective efforts as people of faith and equality, this week Houston voters emphatically repealed the Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance. Let’s be honest. It wasn’t simply an ordinance. It was a statement about our values and how we as followers of Jesus commit to treating one another – with love and without discrimination. We had the chance to affirm the sacred value of every Houstonian. We had the opportunity to prove to the rest of the country and one another that we indeed value being the most diverse city in this USA. Instead, we sent a message of blatant disregard for people like my own mother who years ago had to endure ridicule from apartment managers not wanting to rent to an unwed mother and child. Blatant disregard for African American Houstonians who are forced to pay outrageous cover charges at establishments where our white neighbors get in for free. Blatant disregard for Latina lesbians being denied a job because of the languages they speak or the person they love. Blatant disregard for the dehumanization of children of God, our trans* neighbors.
In a year where we are experiencing record numbers of trans* people (especially trans* people of color) being murdered in cold-blood, a small minority group of evangelical pastors and right wing activists has the nerve to fear-monger, make up lies, and engage in spiritual violence towards our trans* siblings, all for political purposes. MCC’s Moderator, Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, saw how anti-LGBT faith leaders rooted their advocacy in bigotry and hatred, “It is a sad day when church leaders use fear to enforce prejudice.”

I, too, am sad because like many of you, I feeI did all I could do and it was not good enough. The brittle bones of HERO and the brittle bones of hope-filled people were finally beaten down by hate, racism, transphobia, and oppressive rhetoric. After all of the organizing, phone banks, and volunteer hours from so many fair-minded Houstonians, it still wasn’t good enough
As I wrestle with this phenomenal tragedy, scripture reminds me that the Prophet Ezekiel speaks of a valley of dry, brittle bones. Notice the story is grounded in a valley, not a mountaintop. Maybe that’s where unique opportunities for transformation are supposed to take place – in valleys. Yes, positive change happens on mountaintops by way of broad coalitions of community organizations like we had in Houston. But justice-minded people must also work directly in the valleys where dehumanized Houstonians, our trans* siblings, have been made to feel like dry, brittle bones. As justice-minded people, our goal is not only to change public policy, but to transform dry bones into hopeful hearts and transformed minds.

I firmly believe the Houstonians who voted against HERO did so out of fear. After being preyed upon by vicious transphobic and homophobic forces themselves, I wonder how dry are the bones of voters themelves, especially those from communities of color. Maybe it’s time we come down from the mountaintop and and commit our work to the valleys of dry bones all around us.

Rev. Troy Plummer-Treash, Senior Pastor of Resurrection MCC here in Houston, declared that “Our struggle is not over,” and he is right. Just as Ezekiel stood among the dry bones and prophesied of their resurrection and transformation into a revived community, maybe that’s our first step as well….

Stand alongside our LGBT Houstonians, especially are trans* siblings. Speak life into dry bones, not only with our words but with our presence. Love our neighbor anew. Hug and comfort our neighbor. Allow our trans* friends to authentically share their stories, share their commitment, and share their leadership. Let’s make space for them to find and use their voice so they are not longer dry bones, but empowered Houstonians. Then, let’s engage Houston voters in the valley also. We now know more about what our neighbors think about this issue. We know that we must engage them where they are. We know that we must be true and authentic, sharing our stories of transformation, our commitment to equal protection for all people, our resolve to work toward an end of economic exploitation, racism, the sexual exploitation of young people, equal rights for women, homelessness, and so many other social justice issues. We must struggle in the valley with all people on the margins so that we truly see each one another as children of God.

I prophesy, not from the mountaintop, but from within the valley. I prophesy over dry bones, bones battered with homophobia and transphobia, bones that rest in the ballot boxes of Houston. Through our organizing and advocacy, and our love, we will make space for Spirit to breath new life into voters. They will rise up, new and transformed and we will work hand in hand in the valley. The valley will be restored. Houston will be restored. We will redeem the outcome of Tuesday’s election. We will be proud of Houston once again.
Our work and ministry continue. Let’s cause some #HolyTrouble.

Here are actions you can take to help to advance equality for LGBT and anyone who faces discrimination and marginalization:
Participate in the 40 DAYS OF FAITH IN ACTION campaign by the National LGBTQ Task Force (a follow up to the Faith & Family Power Summit) with resources available here.
Add your name to Believe Out Loud’s open letter to Houston voters telling them the discrimination is not a Christian value.
Use social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram) to share your story about how natural and loved by God your family is. Use the hashtags #HolyTrouble and #FaithFamilyLGBTQ
More firmly establish partnerships among your congregation, other local faith groups, and social justice organizations so you can host educational forums on religious liberty, religious exemptions, and equal rights. The Public Policy Team is available to consult and help organize.
If you would like our support send us an email.
For more information, contact mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net


photo: aclu.org

In her bestselling book The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander likened the U.S. criminal justice system to the Jim Crow caste system of the U.S. South, in which a class of Americans are subject to a basic political, economic, and judicial system of legalized discrimination. Her powerful analysis inspired a new look at the impact of the mass incarceration of African-American men and people of color on communities of color, causing many lawmakers, sociologists, and activists to conclude that “mass incarceration in the United States…is a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of social control.” Now, there is a growing consensus that something must be done to bring balance to our criminal justice system.

The statistics tell the story and highlight the challenge before us.

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, the USA has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world (794 per 100,000).

The U.S. prison population has quadrupled since 1980, increasing from approximately 500,000 to 2.2 million in 2013. President Barack Obama has taken action to address mass incarceration, helping to shepherd through Congress and sign into lawlegislation that reduced the sentencing disparity between possession of crack and powder cocaine.

In a recent speech to the NAACP, President Obama called for lowering long mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses; investing in alternatives to prisons, like drug courts and treatment and probation programs; and rewarding offenders with reduced sentences if they complete programs that make them less likely to re-offend.
The President has also advocated for “Ban the Box” on job applications for state, federal, and private employment to give ex-offenders who have paid their debt to society a fair chance to reenter society by getting and holding good jobs. Major corporations like Target and Wal-Mart have removed the criminal history box from their job applications. Amidst the startling statistics, there are glimmers of hope.
The United States Senate is now joining the effort. On October 1, Senator Charles Grassley introduced S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, which would permit a court to reduce the mandatory minimum prison term imposed on certain non-violent defendants convicted of a high-level first-time or low-level repeat drug offense.

It would also permit a court to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum for certain non-violent, cooperative drug defendants with a limited criminal history.

The bill would reduce the enhanced mandatory minimum prison terms associated with high-level repeat drug offenses and those where a firearm was present. It would improve programs for non-violent elderly offenders and pre/post release programs for certain juvenile offenders.

The Global Justice Institute and Metropolitan Community Churches join with all those who seek to address the problem of mass incarceration. We encourage our lawmakers to take affirmative steps to reduce mandatory minimum prison terms for nonviolent defendants, invest in programs that help offenders become less likely to re-offend, and fund and support early childhood development and juvenile justice community-based interventions.

Here Are Some Actions You Can Take to Change U.S. Policy Toward the Incarcerated
Please contact your Senator today to urge them to SUPPORT S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015:
Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 1-800-270-0309 and ask for your Senator.
When you are connected to your member’s office these are things that you might say: I want Senator ___________ to know that it is now time to reform our criminal justice system by ending mass incarceration. Please support reducing the mandatory minimum terms for nonviolent defendants convicted of drug offenses and programs that encourage early release for good behavior. Please support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015.
Contact Bill Medford (faith organizer) for the call in information.
  To learn more, please see:

 Text of S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, or the one page summary.
 Remarks by President Barack Obama to the NAACP on Mass Incarceration
 Bureau of Justice Statistics, Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013
 Polices for Ending Mass Incarceration
 Interfaith Letter Supporting the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act
 For more information, contact mccadvocacy@mccchurch.net
This statement was prepared by the Public Policy Team of Metropolitan Community Churches and the Global Justice Institute (Rev. Elder Pat Bumgardner, Chair).
Posted in Incarceration, Prisoners, Race, Take Action, US Action

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