“John the Baptist…says, essentially – clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and treat one another decently. God does not need us to produce life – God needs us to sustain and restore life.”
The Rev. Pat Bumgardner
Lead Pastor, MCCNY
MCCNY Charities, Inc. shares the mission of Metropolitan Community Church of New York: to work to bring the world to just and right relationship. Like all communities, we have a daily reality that may not be so neatly wrapped in words: a conglomeration of differing personalities, multiple needs and limited funding that add depth and dimension to the work we do with runaway and homeless youth.
There’s a way in which this mission statement kind of leaves you hanging: bringing the world to just and right relationship, among whom? Through what actions? Its open-endedness can be confusing if it is divorced from the value of interdependence. Central to this mission is the statement that healing and justice come into the world through relationships. This is as true for runaway and homeless youth as it is for the rest of our community. Many youth are propelled towards our program by broken relationships, with family, with friends, with communities that refused to love them unconditionally. Many people of faith–especially queer people of faith–seek out faith communities for very similar reasons.
Think for a moment of the first time you felt safe in your surroundings and the sense of hope that came with knowing that you had a community supporting you, one that wanted the best for you, now and always. What do you feel capable of after someone says not, “hello, what can I do to help you?” but rather, “hello, we want you here. We need you.”
What do we have to give one another? I’d like to suggest that healing relationships are the primary need of all of us, and the primary gift we have to share. It is what the runaway and homeless youth in our midst offer us, and what we can offer them. Though we advocate for more beds and more services, what we share with the homeless youth in our midst is what we all need: validation, support and care.
I think about the joy of marching in Pride this year, standing behind our banner, which was held up by youth from MCCNY Homeless Youth Services. I’m proud of the many youth who serve our community with music and with advocacy, and those who prepare and serve meals daily in our food pantry. For those who elect to be part of the spiritual community at MCCNY, I see many thriving as they help to serve communion and greet visitors.
I’m honored to assist our Executive Director, William Moran-Berberena in our partnership with Shelter of Peace, which is working to create relationships between faith communities and youth-serving organizations that have the potential to accomplish more through humility and teamwork.
This is what I see when I imagine just and right relationship. It is the kind of world I want to live in.
MCCNY Charities, Inc.