President Obama and Cuban leader, Raul Castro, made history in April of 2015 with a handshake. On April 28, leaders of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) will make history by traveling to Cuba at the invitation of leaders of the Baptist LGBTQ group, Abriendo Brechas de Colores, from the Federación de Iglesias Bastistas de Cuba.
Leaders of Abriendo Brechas de Colores are bringing together LGBTQ people and their supporters at the Evangelical Seminary of Matanzas, Cuba.
There, MCC leaders will share their experiences of almost 50 years of ministry with people of faith who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ), and increasingly ministering to a people who are not LGBTQ but who are looking for a more open church community.
The delegation will include MCC founder Rev. Elder Troy Perry with his husband Phillip De Blieck, as well as the Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West and the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez. The goal of the delegation is to discuss the ongoing global challenges faced by LGBTQ people of faith and to establish relationships with religious leaders in Cuba and explore possibilities to expand the MCC presence in Cuba.
"We were thrilled that MCC was invited to send some of our top theological and entrepreneurial minds to dialogue about faith from our history of building something out of nothing," said global MCC Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. "LGBTQ people and our allies are on a long journey; we have much to share from our successes and challenges."
"We know people of faith in Cuba also have so many rich stories to share with us."
"Throughout the Americas and the world, people know that Cuba's future will impact everyone's future," said the Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez, head of the Latin American MCC Network. "I meet people in los pueblos where they live their daily lives and increasingly see families supporting each other, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. I am so hopeful about supportive relationships with our partners in Cuba."
Rev. Elder Dr. Mona West, a leading author for the MCC Theologies Team, said, "I was ordained as a Southern Baptist before I came to MCC, and I so look forward to talking with my Cuban Baptist family in the faith. The possibilities of building partnerships that help everyone are real. We go with open hearts and open minds to learn how we can work together."
"As the founder of MCC going back to 1968, I have lived long enough to see so many churches open their doors and to see MCC congregations on almost every continent," said the Rev. Elder Troy Perry.
"Our Cuban faith family has invited us to share and to listen. I believe we will all be inspired to keep opening doors!"
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.
Photo via Metropolitan Community Churches