LGBTQ Church In PB Gardens Observes World AIDS Day With Artist/Activist Mary Fisher
Last Sunday, the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beach Gardens (MCCPB), the largest faith-based community in Palm Beach County dedicated to serving the local LGBT community and its family members and friends, observed World AIDS Day with special guest preacher Mary Fisher, a gifted artist, a relentless advocate for vulnerable women, and a mother whose AIDS and cancer have heightened her sense of joy and purpose.
"Mary is a brilliant, courageous and powerful voice for those living with HIV, and what she has to say is desperately needed in our world today," says Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, MCCPB's Senior Pastor. "We are so grateful to be partnering with her in our continued fight against this disease and the rampant stigma that still exists for people living with HIV."
At the start of the church service, which attracted 120 worshippers. Rev. Brown accepted a check for more than $7,400 from Marcie Gorman-Althof and Michael Lifshitz, the producing partners behind MNM Productions, one of South Florida's hottest, award-winning theatre companies. MCCPB received a portion of all the ticket sales to the preview performance of MNM's recent musical La Cage Aux Folles at the Kravis Center's Rinker Playhouse.
In addition, after Rev. Brown announced that the church would donate half of all funds raised at the preview to the Disaster Relief Fund of the Metropolitan Community Churches to provide aid in disaster-stricken Puerto Rico and Mexico, the cast of La Cage Aux Folles volunteered to solicit additional donations from departing audience members after every performance.
"Using a show's preview performance to raise thousands of dollars for a valuable cause or organization is a tradition for MNM Productions," says co-producer Lifshitz. "So we were thrilled by MCCPB's generous decision to give half of the funds raised at the La Cage preview to help earthquake and hurricane survivors."
"Last Sunday was a phenomenal day at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches," reflects Rev. Brown. "The gift of over $7,400 from MNM Productions will make a huge difference for our church and for the people of Puerto Rico and Mexico who are still struggling to recover. And Mary Fisher's words and spirit will always remain in our hearts. Her courageous, prophetic voice was absolutely the one we all needed to hear in this perilous and despairing time in which we live. We cannot say thank you enough to Michael Lifshitz and Marcie Gorman-Althof of MNM Productions, and to Mary Fisher for their tremendous support of MCCPB."
About Mary Fisher:
Artist Mary Fisher is a recognized global leader in the arena of social change, using her art itself as well as writings, speeches, and strategic advocacy. Her early experience with communication in broadcast media, and her experience with high-profile organizations - she was the White House's first female "advance man" in the history of the American presidency - brought knowledge she still uses to urge transformation in healthcare, to revise the perception and treatment of AIDS, to enable women's empowerment through right livelihood and to inspire individuals longing for meaningful, joyful lives.
A true renaissance woman, Mary Fisher is still remembered for her stunning keynote address speaking truth to power at the 1992 Republican National Convention -- a speech since ranked in Oxford University Press as one of "The Best 100 American Speeches of the 20th Century." Diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and with breast cancer in 2012, she shares her experience, strength and hope with boundless energy. As an artist famous for work in sculpture, handmade papers, jewelry and fiber arts, she has trained women worldwide to gain financial independence using her original techniques and materials. Major initiatives in the U.S., Africa and elsewhere have been built on her creative and organizational groundwork. The recipient of five honorary doctorates and hundreds of tributes, Mary is an outspoken advocate for vulnerable people around the world. She's addressed countless audiences across Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Africa and the U.S., authored six books including her current best-selling memoir, MESSENGER, and is currently partnered with Macys for one notable expression of her art and philosophy, The 100 Good Deeds Bracelet.
About MNM Productions:
This Production Company is the latest venture by two experienced theatrical producers and arts consultants: Marcie Gorman-Althof and Michael Lifshitz. The rising theatrical company has so far produced eight major musical productions including Little Shop of Horrors, which is running through December 17 at the Kravis Center's Rinker Playhouse. Previous MNM musicals include A Chorus Line, Side by Side by Sondheim, Hair, The World Goes 'Round, Monty Python's Spamalot, Company and La Cage Aux Folles), six of which received "recommended" status for Carbonell Awards; two (Side by Side by Sondheim and The World Goes 'Round) received nominations for Best Ensemble, with the latter show winning the prestigious award. In addition, MNM Productions received The Silver Palm Awards for Outstanding New Theatre Company and Outstanding Ensemble for The World Goes 'Round, while Paul Reekie was named Outstanding Musical Director for The World Goes 'Round and Hair.
About the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches:
The Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches is the largest faith-based community in Palm Beach County dedicated to serving the local LGBT community and its family members and friends. According to the church's mission statement, "MCC of the Palm Beaches is a joy-filled, justice-centered Christian community of love, vibrant worship and spiritual discovery where all God's people are supported as we become fully alive."
"For 36 years now, the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches has been both a bulwark of strength and a source of solace and support for South Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning communities," says Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, the church's senior pastor.
"We are on a bold mission to transform hearts, lives and history," she adds. "Just as Jesus did, we take very seriously our calling to do justice, show kindness and live humbly with God."
Located since 2000 at 4857 Northlake Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens, MCCPB offers Sunday worship at 10:30 a.m., with childcare provided for children 5 and under along with Children's Church for ages 6 - 10. Because the church is made up of people from both Protestant and Catholic backgrounds, elements of the services reflect both traditions, including scripture readings, hymns and contemporary music, prayer and a communion table that is open to everyone.