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May 19, 1979 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-19

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Page 12--Saturday, May 19, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Religious
<Coniinuedfrom lage
rejected. 'They wouldn't even talk to
us," explained Wilson.
However, according to Edward
Willingham, executive director of the
Communications Council, the MCC
wasn't rejected "because it is a gay
church."
"It was an issue for three months,
and we had a special committee to
research and study it. They weren't
turned down on a lack of communion
doctrine but because other com-
munions didn't recognize them in their
churches," Willingham said. "I'm op-
posed to the concept of creating a chur-
ch for a single purpose, a churchshould
be embrasive of every position."
SINCE ANN Arbor's MCC is only
seven months old, Richmond said he
would approach the Ann Arbor Council
of Churches for membership next fall.
Rev, Don Strobe, president of the
council that organizes events such as a
Good Friday service, said he considers
the Council of Churches a low-profile
organization. He added that granting
the MCC membership would be up to
the Council itself, of which there are 16
member churches.
"Anything can happen. If our
organization had more visibility, then
some of the member churches could
possibly say, 'If they (the MCC) are in,
we won't be'," Strobe said.
Strobe, who is also the minister at the
First United Methodist Church in Ann
Arbor, explained the big debate con-
cerning whether or not a homosexual
can be ordained.
"IN 1976 there was a long hammered
out debate and the official stance by the
Methodist Church was that all people
are of sacred worth, but we believe that
homosexuality is not consistent with the
Christian lifestyle," Strobe said. The
drive for ordination of homosexuals
was defeated.
The reverend said the heated issue
will be taken up again at the General
Conference of United Methodist Chur-
ches, which is to be held in Indianapolis
next April.
Strobe said, "It's going to be a very
warm debate because people are
already choosing sides. I'm cynical
about the whole thing. I'm not ready for
this kind of debate."
THE FIRST United Methodist Chur-
ch does accept gays, according to
Strobe. He added, however, that a per-
son's sexuality is looked on as a private
Open Tonight
til 1:00 am
BILLIARDS,
PINBALL and
BOWLING
At the UNION

bias against gays slowly changes

matter. "I don't understand
homosexuality and it's difficult for me
to get into the mind set, but I don't feel
particularly uptight about it."
However, the Northside Presbyterian
Church of Ann Arbor takes the opposite
position regarding the ordaining of
homosexuals.
A YEAR AND a half ago a committee
was appointed by members of the
denomination to study the question of
the ordination and ministry of
homosexuals, according to Rev.
William Baker.
Baker said the position of his
denomination is that there is no objec-
tion to ordaining homosexuals, but his
church has not yet ordained a
homosexual.
But, according to Don Coleman, a
campus minister with the Guild House,
some of the churches in Ann Arbor are
as Homophobic (irrationally fearing or
hating gay people) as churches in other
cities, but Ann Arbor isn't as open about
it.
"People become afraid of what they
don't know about - an unknown. When

In addition, Ellis explained that the
MCC functions in the same way other
churches do and is not an effective
spiritual force. "It's an attempt to build
something new in the image of the old.
The church is the most repressive in-
stitution of society because it stifles
people's best instincts and is the main
enemy of gay people," he said. "The
main function of the church is to say
things are ok the way they are and as
long as it does this, it's destructive."
BUT ACCORDING to Richmond, the
MCC provides a solution to the guilt
society has put upon gays by providing
a positive influence in the gay person's
life.
Ellis, however, said a lot of people
find MCC valuable and useful. But gay
people should be dealing with new
organizational and religious forms and
not with a dying institution, he con-
tinued, like the Christian Church.
"The MCC is very new and not the
kind of thing that interests many gay
people because the church has been'
down on gay people for so long," said
Ellis.

their monthly meetings.
"It's a way to meet other people
without going to a bar or cruising the
bathrooms. It's a hard thing to be gay
and feel you're accepted in any chur-
ch," explained Jim, a member of the
group.
JIM ADDED that St. Mary's had
received some complaints from people
that "some queers were meeting down-
stairs," but the Church has supported
Reconciliation throughout. "Roman
Catholic Bishops in the U.S. wrote a
pastoral letter which explained that
homosexuality was something the
church has to accept, not change," said
Jim.
However, some local churches feel
change is the best way to deal with
homosexuality. "Homosexuals have to
be administered to and have to be loved
as anybody else is. We would seek to
minister to them and get their life in
line with the scripture and alert them to
what God would have to say," said Rev.
Parke Frederick of St. Paul's Lutheran
Church in Ann Arbor.
But Rev. Charlie Irvin of St. Mary's

'MCCs have had more hatred and violence (expressed toward
them) than any gay liberation organization because we threaten
the basic foundation of society. Were claiming Anita Bryant's
religion and demanding to be recognized.'
-Rev. Ted Richmond, minister of
Ann Arbor's MCC

more and more gay people come out of
the closet and become very clear about
their sexual orientation, then this is one
way the barriers will get broken," said
Coleman.
ACCORDING TO Richmond, a
majority of the gays who belong to Ann
Arbor's MCC are in the closet because
most of them are professional people
who fear the possibilities of family
rejection and of losing their jobs.
"We respect the fact that people want
to remain in the closet even though I
believe people should not have to hide.
But we don't force anyone out of the
closet, and our membership lists are
confidential," Richmond said.
However, John Ellis, an active par-
ticipant in Ann Arbor's gay community,
and producer of the Canterbury Loft,
labelled Ann Arbor's MCC a "conser-
vative force in the gay community."
The head of the organization that deals
with ethical, social, and spiritual issues
added that, "The church (MCC) tends
to attract people who are less likely to
rock the boat and who are less open
about their gayness."

Rev. Coleman of the Guild House con- said the role of the MCC is a vital one.
tends the Bible contains many harsh "The MCC helps straights recognize the
statements regarding homosexuals. He rights of gays and their rights of
cited one particular statement from assembly outside of gay bars,
Leviticus, Chapter 20: "If a man lies bathrooms and toilets," he said.
with a male as with a woman, both of ANN ARBOR'S MCC holds its ser-
them have committed an abomination vices every Sunday afternoon in a
and shall be put to death." church on Broadway from which it ren-
BUT COLEMAN emphasized that not ts space. The church is co-owned by St.
every word of the Bible should be taken Aidan's Episcopal Church and Nor-
literally because people who read it thside Presbyterian Church.
that way are locked in a culture that Rev. Richard Singleton, the minister
took placea long time ago. from St. Aidan's - one of MCC's host
"Some gays have felt so oppressed churches - said, "It's terribly unfor-
that they've left the church com- tunate that people who are gay have to
pletely," Coleman added. be forced to congregate together
One member of the gay community because of social and public pressure
who said he has felt this oppression is and unacceptance into other churches.
Tom Iott. Iott explained that he has lit- The division is unfortunate."
tle use for organized religion because it The very first MCC was founded in
has been more harmful than helpful 1968 and in eleven years, its growth has
because it employs guilt. been tremendously quick. For many
IOTT, WHO was raised in a Catholic gays, the MCC proves to be a viable
church, said that if he wants to attend method of spiritual affiliation. Yet for
services he goes to the Friends Meeting others, the MCC is not sufficient. These
(a group of Quakers) because "they dissatisfied members of the gay com-
don't use guilt." munity are seeking ways to stay with
Gay Advocates member Jim Toy, their own religious traditions and fight
said he believes the needs of gays aren't the bias, while other gays are simply
met in traditional churches, so like any choosing not to affiliate themselves
oppressed group, the gays seek to form with any religion.
their own support system.
"For many people, their religious MIAMI (AP)-Greg Louganis, a
convictions are, in some way, a force leading candidate fora berth on the
that decides their whole value 1980 American Olympic diving team,
scheme," Toy said. has an international background that
A nother group of people in Ann Ar- would make the United Nations stand
bor's gay community that is striving to up and cheer.
find some kind of expression for its Louganis, who won four A-A-U diving
religious beliefs and convictions is titles in 1979, is an American citizen
Reconciliation, from Samoa in the South Pacific. He
Reconciliation is a meeting group for was adopted by a family of Greek an-
gay Christians. The members are cestry and trained with a Korean doc-
Roman Catholics and use the facilities tor, Sammy Lee, who won Olympic gold
at St. Mary's Church on William for medals in diving-in 1948 and 1952.

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