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By Kimya Afi Ayodele
On Sun. Feb. 11, the Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy provided the homily at the Metropolitan Community Church Detroit in Ferndale for both morning services. In addition to the church’s usual decor, which includes rainbow paraphernalia, the pulpit included several pieces of framed African-American art as a nod to Black History Month. The church services also included their usual Christian rituals of church announcements, parishioner greetings, songs, scripture readings and communion. As an additional nod to Black History Month, there was also a reading of a black history fact about inventor Louis Lattimer.
McCoy began her sermon with humor, history and a prayer. She informed the nearly 200 attendees that she suspected that since she was asked to preach during Black History Month, everyone was most likely expecting her to address something like racism within the LGBT community, but she believed that her mere presence and tenure at the MCCD church was black history and so she was just going to preach the gospel without completing concentrating on this issue, but encouraged everyone to get out of it whatever they would. She then spoke of how she wanted everyone to know that the first openly gay, Christian and African-American led church began at the MCC in Harlem, N.Y.,in 1981 and how that church was the foundation for the MCCD and other such churches of today. She further spoke of her own roots of having been a student clergy and deacon at the MCCD before she became the founder of Full Truth Church in Detroit. She ended her introduction with a prayer and by speaking of how proud she is of the many efforts being taken at the MCCD to realize true diversity and inclusivity.
McCoy then preached about how those who are hungry, poor, disrespected and otherwise abandoned and mistreated by our society are blessed. She added knowing about the pain that she knows many in the African-American LGBT community often feel due to racism in the LGBT community, but encouraged the community to hold onto what she termed, “the fluidity of our existence.” This is when the African-American LGBT community, and all others who are experiencing any type of oppression, should always remember “to be humble in your living experience and always yearn for the happy times while experiencing the sad times and you will be blessed.” She further added that our concentrated efforts should not be on the oppressor, but on ourselves. She ended by saying “We cannot have a free community, until we take care of our LGBT community” and it was this ease of “speaking to those in attendance, as opposed to speaking at them” that made her sermon memorable and encouraging said one longtime parishioner.