The Metropolitan Community Church of Edinburgh (officially Holy Trinity Metropolitan Community Church but this name is rarely used nowadays) is a church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Foundation of Edinburgh CongregationEdit
On 17 June 1995, the first ever Pride Scotland March and Festival was held in Edinburgh. Rev Jim (James Gough) McManus (then Pastoral Team member of MCC Newcastle and Rev Roy Beaney (then European District Coordinator) visited Edinburgh and organised an MCC stall at the Pride Festival. The next day they held a small worship Service in the LGBT Centre in Broughton Street.
Using the contacts that were made at Pride, Rev McManus tried to get a group together of those interested. An article appeared in The Scotsman and Michelle Russell was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland. A meeting was arranged for Saturday 15 July in the LGBT Centre for those interested. A dozen or so attended and the decision was taken to form a congregation and the first worship service after deciding to become a congregation was Sunday 16 July (third Sunday in July), downstairs in the LGBT Centre.
On 2 August 1995 (during Metropolitan Community Church General Conference in Atlanta) a small group of people met (Rev McManus phoned in from Atlanta), and decided to form an Interim Development Group, appoint Jim McManus as Pastor and to meet for worship on the third Sunday of every month.
The Church met for worship in August and September in the LGBT Centre on the third Sunday and by October were finding the room too small and, at the invitation of Rev Iain Whyte, Chaplain of Edinburgh University, began to meet in the University Chaplaincy.
On 17 November 1995 the Church's Constitution was first adopted at a meeting after worship in the Chaplaincy Centre, formally constituting the new group as Holy Trinity Metropolitan Community Church, Edinburgh, a parish extension of MCC Newcastle. Rev Jim McManus was elected Pastor and Michelle Russell and John Thompson were elected Pastoral Team members.
The Church sent two Observers (John Thompson and Chris Hoffland) to Metropolitan Community Church European District Conference in November 1995.
On 16 February 1996 (again in the Chaplaincy Centre) the Congregation's first members were admitted into Metropolitan Community Church by Rev Jim McManus.
The Chaplaincy Centre, while free, was proving difficult to book during University vacations and, as from Easter 1996, the Congregation moved to the Quaker Meeting House.
On 16 March 1996, the Committee took the decision to move to twice monthly (1 & 3 Sundays) worship from May 1996.
In June 1996 Pride Scotland took place in Glasgow. The Congregation marched with its new banner (made by hand by members), and made contact with some local people who subsequently worked to form a Glasgow group, which, although not long lasting, worshipped in that city for three years.
Over summer 1996, the fledgling congregation ran into difficulties. Rev Jim McManus moved from Newcastle to Brighton and could no longer take part in the Congregation's life after August 1996, or within the Denomination. Over the next few months several committee members either left the Church or moved outwith Edinburgh, leaving only John Thompson and Stephen Harte as Committee members. This was a hard time in the Church's life. Michelle Russel stood down from her Pastoral role due to her attending New College Edinburgh to do BD in Theology. The need for Pastoral support for LGBT became apparent, relationships were being blessed. A presence was being established in the City.
Undaunted, the Church continued meeting for worship twice a month and numbers grew. In April 1997, the second Annual Congregational Meeting took place with Rev Doreen Shambrook representing the Metropolitan Community Church European District. A new Committee was elected, among whom was a new attender Ian Bonner-Evans. Over the next months a new Committee worked to move the Congregation forward and to recover from past set backs.
In January 1998 the Congregation had a development weekend in Scottish Churches House (a practice continued annually ever since). Kevin Dudman (now Pastor of MCC Torbay) attended to offer assistance. As a result of the retreat, the Church decided to move to weekly worship from April 1998.
Lent 1998 saw the Congregation's first mid-week group. A small group worked their way through the "Believing" Group Course from Metropolitan Community Church. In 1998 MCC Edinburgh were formally admitted as a New Work Congregation by the European District.
In the Congregational Meeting in April 1998, several new members were admitted at a service attended by Rev Andy Braunston of MCC Manchester and John Thompson stood down as Pastoral Leader, being succeeded by Ian Bonner-Evans.n
The subsequent time has seen much growth in the Congregation's life. Numbers were low when the congregation first moved to weekly worship. By the year to 31 March 2001 the church saw average weekly worship in the region of 25.
Media Work and Justice StrugglesEdit
Much media work has been done. Mr Bonner-Evans has appeared on Scottish TV and the BBC. The Congregation has appeared on BBC Radio Scotland several times over the years - generally on religious or news programmes — and on Scottish Television. A high profile piece in The Scotsman increased membership and Ian Bonner-Evans was interviewed in the Evening News at the height of the Section 28 debate.
The Church has been active in many social justice struggles including the campaign to repeal Section 28, the campaign for same-sex marriage and Make Poverty History. The Church gave oral evidence and lodged a Petition to the Scottish Parliament when legislation was being considered on civil partnerships in the United Kingdom. The Church was seeking the right to constitute civil partnerships in a religious context, though it was unsuccessful at this time.
- MCC Edinburgh website
- Petition Lodged by the Church with the Scottish Parliament on Civil Partnerships
- Oral Evidence given by representatives of MCC Edinburgh to the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament on 12 May 2004
- Gay church blasts civil partnership rights plan - Edinburgh Evening News
- Church calls for right to marry gay couples - Edinburgh Evening News
- Church appoints new Pastor - Edinburgh Evening News
- Gay church prays for gay marriage - pinknews.co.uk
- Man of God bothered - ScotsGay Magazine
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