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By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
PONTIAC – Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church is 15 years old, and they’re throwing a party to celebrate.
Actually, the Aug. 5 party is just one of the events the church has planned to commemorate their years of service to the LGBT Christian community.
The weekend’s activities will begin on Friday, Aug. 4, with dual workshops for laity and clergy. The laity workshop will be led by the Rev. Elder Diane Fisher, a regional elder who has worked extensively in Eastern Europe, while the clergy workshop will be led by the national church’s moderator, the Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.
That evening at 7 p.m., official fun will commence with The People’s Choice Awards at Divine Peace.
On Saturday, Aug. 5, the church will host a brunch with the two elders. That evening, the congregation and guests will kick up their collective heels at the 15th Gay-La Anniversary Party, a “fancy dinner banquet” at the Best Western Concorde Inn in Waterford. In addition to dinner and a few words from the visiting clergy, The Detroit Together Men’s Chorus will perform.
On Sunday, Aug. 6, Wilson will deliver a sermon, which will be followed by a potluck picnic from 1-6 p.m. at Crescent Lake in Waterford.
Divine Peace’s pastor, the Rev. Deborah Dysert, was enthusiastic about her church’s move to Pontiac, the anniversary and celebrating the milestone with the two national leaders.
“The connection between our focus as a denomination for (new MCC church motto) ‘a future and a hope,’ and the work that Rev. Elder Diane is doing in Eastern Europe – and even what God is doing with us in Pontiac is so powerful to me,” Dysert said. “MCC as a whole denomination is moving into places that we’ve not been before.”
Divine Peace found a temporary home in Pontiac after Waterford Township reneged on its promise to sell the congregation a historic church. While the process of finding the new location was difficult, Dysert said it afforded her congregation a chance to serve people they otherwise would never have met.
Recently, Dysert said, she and her administrative assistant were outside the church chatting with a homeless man. After finding the man food and exchanging hugs, he told them, “I love you guys. I think I done found me a church.”
“You know, all it really takes for us to give the gospel message is to be ourselves and share the love of God,” Dysert said. “Whether we’re doing that with people in downtown Pontiac or going across the globe.
“I think the thing that excites me the most about having Rev. Elder Diane and Rev. Elder Nancy both here in the same weekend is that it makes it feel to me like it’s a full circle; the work God is doing in the local church and for us and for these bigger entities.”
“Congratulations, Divine Peace, on fifteen years of doing God’s ministry in the community, on your new home, and on your ministry through northern Oakland county,” said the Rev. Mark Bidwell, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. “May God continue to bless you as you serve God’s people.”
Divine Peace Metropolitan Community Church is located at 7 North Saginaw Street in Pontiac. Anniversary events are being held in various locations.