'Gay' Has a Different Meaning at Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit
MCCD celebrates Easter, diversity and tolerance.
Families gathered into the Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit (MCCD), tucked in a room inside the Drayton Avenue Presbyterian Church, for a service on a sunny Easter morning. And like an Easter basket filled with an assortment of painted eggs, the pews at MCCD were equally diverse.
“We would like to welcome you to MCC Detroit,” the Rev. Mark Bidwell and the Rev. Deb Dysert said together to a crowded room of nontraditional families observing the traditional holiday of Easter.
MCCD is a chapter of the MCC Protestant Christian Denomination started by the Rev. Elder Troy Perry in 1968 in Los Angeles after he noticed that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community around him lacked a relationship with religion.
“It started as church geared toward the LGBT community that has now gone across the globe to 19 different countries," Dysert said. "There are a number of countries who reach out to us because we are the only church who allows people to worship together as Christians. It’s not always our gender preference that separates us from God; sometimes, it's government.”
At the MCC Detroit, the word “gay” serves a different purpose and has a different meaning from its usual defined connotations, and that meaning is “God Adores You.”
“I would say, if you can imagine it, that’s the families that come here,” said Dysert, 58, a former preschool teacher who had to change careers because she said God would not stop calling her to start teach his word instead. “Really and truly, we are a whole kaleidoscope of families."
In honor of Easter, the MCC held three services, including the almost-sunrise service at 5 a.m. in addition to its usual two services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Keeping up with the tradition of the American Easter, the church was joined by the Easter Bunny after a Sunday school Easter egg hunt.
“I think it’s a very loving, welcoming environment,” said Shelly Stewarts, 43, who drives from Clinton Township to attend MCC services with her two daughters, Faith and Lauren. “I like to come here for services because there is not a whole lot of LGBT support like there is in Ferndale. We have been in church all of our lives."
Stewarts has been raising her two daughters with her female partner, who was not in attendance.
"It makes us feel like our family is more normal. Well, just more ordinary," said Lauren, 18, thinking over her definition of "normal." Lauren and her sister are very involved in Sunday school and coordinating activities for the younger students.
“I think they have a lot to offer, even for straight people,” said Faith, 14.
The MCCD welcomes visitors from all faiths, Dysert said.
“As much as one of us might love someone in our life — whether it is a child, a spouse, a brother, a sister, whatever — the love of God for us is unbelievably more than that, and there is nothing anyone can do to separate you from that," she added.