St. John's MCC

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An Anniversary During Transition: Reflections of living, dying, and hurricanes

Rev. Rachelle BrownAs the newly appointed Interim Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), I humbly reflect on this 48th anniversary of MCC.

Today, I am on a plane going to Florida as Hurricane Matthew approaches. Why am I going towards a hurricane? I am going to Florida to meet MCC office staff members and Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson. I will also speak with MCC founder Rev. Elder Troy Perry. Nancy, Troy, and I will celebrate MCC and discuss the transition to me as the newly appointed Interim Moderator.

Transition is a part of living, dying, and hurricanes.

In 2005, Rev Elder Nancy Wilson became the new Moderator of MCC. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita swallowed entire cities, unearthed graves, and tore trees from the ground. My father, unable to evacuate due to health status, was surrounded by many others seeking shelter from the storm. A few months later, as the house still showed signs of wind and water, his body gave way to cancer.

This day, literally flying towards a hurricane, remembering 2005 and my father also matters because, last night, my grandmother died. She was in her home. After 99 years, she left this life on the land where she arrived.

The hurricanes and endings of these great figures each occurred as I entered liminal spaces, or thresholds.

The death of my father occurred while I was in Seminary. I stood before his coffin recalling his words that I would study for the ministry “over his dead body.” His emphatic expression, spoken in my youth, was intended for my protection, future, and education. Yet, it was eerie to prepare for ordination with his body in the ground.

Last night, as I absorbed the news of my grandmother’s death, I felt an era come to an end. She spoke best in Cajun French, forced to speak English after hundreds of years of linguistic independence. She was the oldest child of sharecrop farmers, even picking cotton. Her full life included tackling and surviving cancer twice while in her 80s. Her commitment to the people and land, feisty spirit, love of friends, sweet red wine, the rosary, and daily newspaper barely describe the woman I physically resemble.

Transition is a curious state of being. My grandmother’s death last night and the flight this morning parallels another living transition. On this 48th Anniversary of MCC, the leadership is handed off to a new generation.

Ma Chers (Dear ones), the people of MCC, my heart is full with love, even as my eyes fill with tears, and the sound of Cajun music rings in my ears. I step into this ministry as Interim Moderator with clarity that even in hurricanes, death, and transition among the living, God has been present in every step. The Spirit is with us now, and we, the people of MCC, are exactly where we need to be for a time such as this.

Our global movement and church is on the move in our own powerful and transforming path.

As the wheels of the plane touch down, I offer a prayer for all of us in our living and those have gone before us, filled with hope that we are letting go into God’s grace and wisdom.

May God bless MCC.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!