Rescue mission declines help from gay church
October 30 2003 12:00 AM ET
The head of the Charlotte [N.C.] Rescue Mission says he doesn't want members of a local Metropolitan Community Church, which caters primarily to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, to serve meals to his clients. The Reverend Tony Marciano II said Tuesday that he would not accept donations from the church. "We cannot endorse a church that openly teaches that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle," Marciano said. "Our problem is that the churches that come here, it sends a message to the clients that, 'We want you to attend that church."' The MCC's reverend Mick Hinson called the decision an "outrage" and "absurd" but said he'll continue to encourage the 225 members of his church to help the mission. "Not everyone is going to believe the way Metropolitan Community Church believes," Hinson said. "But we need to recognize each other as a part of the community. We're just like they are in terms of how we see Jesus."
The Charlotte Rescue Mission offers a Christ-centered residential treatment program for 144 substance abusers. Members of Metropolitan Community Church offered in September to prepare and serve meals at the mission, as many other congregations do. The church's invitation was rescinded after the mission found that it ministered primarily to gay men and lesbians, Marciano said. Marciano said two other churches have been turned away in his seven years as executive director. One wouldn't endorse the mission's 12-step, Christian-oriented recovery program. Another wanted to show a film that Marciano
felt overemphasized the shame of addiction.