|MCC extends to Malaysia|
Pastor Joe Pang Wai Yap was ordained as the pastor of the Good Samaritan Metropolitan Community Church (GSMCC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 31 July 2011. The historic event took place at the Annex Gallery in Central Markets, KL attended by representatives from other GLBT affirmative churches such as FCC from neigbouring Singapore.
Pastor Pang was previously a Pastor at the Chinese Congregation at the KL Baptist Church, at Bukit Bintang. He was apparently asked to leave the ministry when he was outed as a gay person and had continued on to minister to the GLBT community in KL. His ordination was attended by his family including his parents.
Pastor Joe graduated from the Baptist Seminary in Penang, and was a candidate for ministry at MCC New York before being ordained.
MCC is a Church denomination in the United Sates started in 1968 as a safe place for Gay Christians in what was a hostile religious climate against gays in churches in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. In Asia, MCC churches have been established in the Philippines.
GSMCC is affiliated to New York MCC which had extended its missions to Malaysia through the ministry of Rev O Young, a well known ex-columnist of a Chinese Newspaper in KL. GSMCC is a parish extension of New York MCC. The service in KL is listed in its bulletin as “4 pm Good Samaritan/MCCNY In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia”.Pastor Pang Wai Yap is listed as a “Staff Pastor for Kuala Lumpur” in the MCCNY bulletin.
The journey of GSMCC begins with the first service of MCC KL in 11-12 Aug 2007 at the Grand Olympic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur attended by the founder of MCC, the Rev Elder Troy Perry and Senior Pastor Pat Bumgardner. O Young was then a Pastoral candidate and was studying at seminary with plans to return to Malaysia when he finished his studies.
In the meantime, the fire of God that had started in the inaugural service continued on with the birth of Good Samaritan Fellowship (GSF) led by Pastor Joe in Oct 2007. In March 2008, Pastor Joe went to New York to be trained under MCCNY, and in May 2008, GSF became a parish extension of MCCNY. The first anniversay of GSF was in Sept 2008. Officially, Good Samaritan MCC came into being on 10 Aug 2009.
In the Asian region, GLBT churches are difficult ministry grounds. We bring so much baggage into our new closets causing unnecesarry complications:-
1. The challenge for any Christian GLBT ministry in Asia is to come out of the closet and to keep its doors opened. In essence, in order to grow, one must come out of the closet. In coming out, and risked being exposed, people will come into the church. The wider the doors are opened, the greater risk, yet more bountiful the rewards.
Due to the homophobic Christian influence, Homosexuality is banned in many Asian countries which makes it awkward to minister to those who strictly were breaking the law. By coming out of the closet, we too are breaking the law! Yet, it is a man made law and not God's laws. Blibical laws are ultimately about worshipping God and fleeing away from demonic idol worship and all its practices. It was never about homosexuality per say.
2. Secondly, we should not loose focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We bear a message that the love of Jesus Christ and His salvation extends to all, including the GLBT Community. We are reminded by John 3:16 in the native malay language that
“Karna demikian-lah Allah mengasehi isi dunia ini, sa-hingga di-beri-nya Anak-nya yang tunggal itu, supaya barang siapa yang perchaya akan dia jangan ia binasa, melainkan beroleh hidup yang kekal.” ……… barang siapa ……
It makes no different, whether one is gay or straight, as salvation is in Christ alone. God is not only about love, but a love manifested in Christ death and resurrection our our sins.
We are the children spoken of in the bible, innocent yet blamed for the sins of others and banned by the church from seeing Jesus.
3. Thirdly, unlike the US, where the mainstream churches can be strongly liberal eg the Episcopal church, the very large majority of Christians in Malaysia and Singapore are Evangelical Christians. Our "Welcome Home" should be inclusive. This inclusivity should be reflective in our worship, preaching, and outreach. Space must be given to all that they may feel welcome and be safe.
4. Fouth, there is a call for a Queering of our theology to include not only from the Liberal perspectives, but also the Charismatic Evangelical perspectives of a vast majority of churches in Singapore/Malaysia. Our role is not dictating or insisting what others should believe, but to give them freedom to be.
The mainstream churches have descended into an anti-gay cry because they do not understand the fullness of God's love, grace and mercy in Christ Jesus. We need to be more Christ Centered and less being the legalistic Pharisees who sent Jesus to the Cross. We are so Law minded until all the sins in the bible of idol worship became the sin of homosexuality!
It is not orthodoxy or tradition that has made us homophobic, but it is a departure from a Gospel of Grace to a redemption made by pennance and worship of the Pope, Mary and Saints of the middle ages. We become self righteous and gays, the new unclean.
It's not the "Conservative" theology that has led to wrong beliefs about gays per say but a departure and a misunderstanding of blibical Christianity of God's grace.
The challenge for the GLBT Christians that we who had suffered so much condemnation and abuse (from society, religion, family and friends) can become worst than those who had abused us. We are often no different! if we let the hurts and harm suffered to dictate our lives. People who are hurting badly, can in return hurt others the most.
The answer is not only about the love of God, of going out to do more social justice, for the challenge is within, to give God's grace and mercy when non has been given to us. It starts with loving God, loving ourselves, and forgiving others for the sin that they have committed against us. In forgiving, we release grace into our lives and into the lives of the church to make it a place of living waters. In loving ourselves, we learn to accept our sexual orientation and build up a wholeness within.
The victory comes not in loving others more, but in forgiving others more - those who have thrown us out of the churches for our sexual orientation. It is easy to love those who loved us, but much more difficult to love and forgive those who had done so much harm in our lives.
We need help to forgive, to love again, to have faith in God again. And this help comes, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and practise the presence of God in our lives. Ultimately, the GLBT churches in Asia are called to be a Rainbow Asian beacon of Light where the presence of God fills the temple, the house of God.
As MCC extends herself to Malaysia, this is a new beginning and a new move of God when hitherto there was only an empty desert for gay christians with no resting place.
May God bless GSMCC, in all her ways. God's Amazing love is reaching out to many hearts in Malaysia today through GSMCC. There is an annointing for works of social justice to the poor and marginalised where GSMCC will be known as a place of refuge for all peoples regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.