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MCC conference in Chicago next year
by Jamie Anne Royce

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Fairmont Chicago will host the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) General Conference July 1-5, 2013.

Rev. Troy Perry, who was kicked out of the Pentecostal denomination because of his homosexuality, founded the MCC denomination in 1968.

"He felt there needed to be a church for all people, where everyone is welcome at the table," said Jennifer Justice, director of global community building and strategic implementation at MCC.

MCC prides itself on non-traditional, contemporary spirituality worship, planning to showcase those touchstones at the conference.

AChurch4Me?, an MCC affiliate in Lakeview, will host a pre-convention network meeting of north central churches June 23, 2013, to acclimate conference planners to Chicago.

The summit is not limited to members of MCC or the ministry—anyone interested in the church is welcome. All worships services offered at the conference are free and open to anyone, but workshops and plenary sessions are for registrants only.

"There'll be a little bit of something for everyone who is interested in church and ministry and how to grow spiritually," said Justice.

The conference will also feature musical acts, children's activities and a youth day.

Members of MCC will travel from around the world to attend the conference, as the church has nearly 300 congregations in 22 countries.

Internationally, MCC has a presence in Latin America and Eastern Europe, recently expanding to it's missionary to Africa.

"It's really underground for safety. They can't be out. It's literally dangerous. Some of the laws in Africa, they will kill people," said Pastor Rachelle Brown of aChurch4Me. "We have to be very cognizant that our work is here, it's liberating people who are comfortable being gay and lesbian and out in Chicago. We're very aware that in our mission of reforming Christianity, this is like a speck in the sea of what's happening."

MCC prides itself on the diversity of its ministry, especially within the LGBT community.

"We have quite a few transgender pastors … bisexual as well. It's not just gay and lesbian," Brown said.

To register for the conference or for more information, visit .

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