Presentation on theme: "Dear friends, May peace be with you and your loved ones. We resume our communication with great joy to inform you on the progress we have made in recent."— Presentation transcript:
Dear friends, May peace be with you and your loved ones. We resume our communication with great joy to inform you on the progress we have made in recent months in ICM Santo Domingo with our work in tearing down walls and building hope, a work that we are able to do thanks to your support and the help of our loving God. Holy Week of 2012 was of great blessing to our community with the celebration of various services of spiritual renewal.
On April 14th we celebrated our 5th anniversary. Among tears and songs of joy many church members shared their testimony of how their lives and those of their families have been impacted in such a positive way by the liberating and inclusive message and efforts for social justice in which ICM Santo Domingo is a pioneer in the country.
The ministry of PFLAG established by ICM Santo Domingo on April 17, 2011 has now completed its first year of work in the Dominican Republic. Time has gone by fast and there are countless of achievements by this ministry which has taken on the arduous task to provide moral support and to educate the loved ones of the members of our GLBT community to achieve significant changes in their relationships and changes in the political scope demanding equal rights for sexual minorities. They are currently getting ready to accompany, for the second year, the GLBT Pride Parade with their motto "If love is so great, why hide it."
Four new members joined our church and with great joy we officially welcomed them and encouraged to them to be part of this great work which continues to grow. "From today on we will be promoters of this church, a prophetic community where love, respect and integration are the engines that drive us to serve a community that every day needs to feel the unconditional love of Jesus" (words of Scarlet Mejia, newest member along with Francisco Caraballo, Roosevelt Brooks and Wilson Diaz)
On Thursday May 8 the 6th National Forum on LGBT Human Rights was held. This year's theme was "GLBT Activism and Political Participation in the Dominican Republic," to which the five political candidates for the presidential elections carried out this month of May were invited. This photo shows the participation of our ICM church at the forum with the candidate of Alliance for Democracy (APD) Dr. Max Puig with whom we had the opportunity to talk about the anti- discrimination laws needed in the country to promote equal rights. Unfortunately Dr. Puig was the only candidate who responded to the invitation to participate in the forum.
On May 12th we held a congregational meeting where we elected Gregory Rodriguez as our new Lay Delegate (we are grateful for the great work of Gia Marte who held the role of lay delegate for the past two years). Another result from this congregational meeting is that starting June 3 rd the Worship Service will be held on Sundays at 10:00 am, not Saturday evenings. The change is due to three reasons: (1) To help members arrive more relaxed to the service and not after work and fighting traffic. (2) To increase the number of attendance. (3) To have more time for celebration after the service and to share a meal with the needy. We hope that behind every change there is a new opportunity for personal and congregational growth.
Last, I want to share with you about our latest outreach. ICM Santo Domingo has started a ministry in Santiago, the second city in size and political importance in the Dominican Republic. We are driven by the mandate of Jesus in Matthew 28: 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations". We are also driven by the knowledge of the great spiritual need of that region. With the right contact group, on May 13 th six of us were able to make a trip to Santiago and held a workshop on the Bible and Homosexuality attended by twenty participants who felt a great spiritual relief to witness the liberating and healing theology that MCC has preached in many parts of the world. That same evening amidst a storm we celebrated a beautiful worship service. Our next trip to Santiago, which is two hours trip, will be on Saturday June 16th. Myself, and a team from ICM Santo Domingo are committed to travel every month to Santiago to strengthen this outreach ministry. We believe that God will do great things!