Orgena Rose, our Music Director, brings her inspirational artistry and gifted musicality to this year’s PAD Conference, and she has something to share. Listen as she shares an encouraging word of testimony on why the PAD Conference is important to her and what it can do for all that come.
Patrice Ford, part of the Theologies Team, the denomination’s Young Adult Ministry, and a member of Founder’s MCC in LA offers her testimony of the uniqueness and importance of the PAD conference.
Rev. Brendan Y. Boone
“I’ve lost track of the number of PAD Conferences I have attended through the years, although I’ve not the forgotten the feeling of a deep sense of belonging before, during and after each Conference . . . it literally changes my life in some way every time I attend! It is a wonderful opportunity for People of African Descent (PAD) to gather for a time of learning, sharing, encouragement, fellowship and worship. In many respects, the conference has served as a point of entry for PAD seeking to both “be MCC” and be in an MCC context that makes room for PAD to bring their full, authentic selves into an encounter and experience where PAD are unapologetically and unashamedly affirmed, lifted up and empowered. The Conference is a primary portal for building and nurturing friendships and relationships which continue to growand blossom during the Conference and beyond. For me, the PAD Conference is one of the many experiences that keeps me grounded . . . in faith, in hope, and in love.
Make plans to join us in August. It will be an experience that will change and challenge you while, at the same time, bless and empower you to be fully you as we all grow in our understanding of what it means to “Be MCC”! I look forward to see you all in St. Louis!”
“I have been attending the PAD Conference since the 1990’s and am always challenged, blessed, and more connected because of it. As a white ally and friend, The PAD Conference is a profound opportunity for me to listen while I attempt to remove my white privileged ears, to confess when I become aware of my own racism, to appreciate the deep giftedness of the PAD community, to engage in the cultural celebration even when I’m uncomfortable and to open up my eyes to the beautiful, black, awesome side of God.”
Rev. Wanda Floyd
“As African American MCC clergy and pastor, the People of African Descent (PAD) Conferences are a way for me to find strength to do the work I do in MCC. Coming together with people who look like me, in large numbers, is very empowering. I believe PAD conferences are important for people of African descent and people of European descent because the conferences are structured to bring everyone together to talk and share in a safe place. I have been involved from the first conference in 1998 and I continue to feel that PAD Conferences are a vital part of the MCC culture. Validation for people of African Descent occur at the conference in ways it does not happen in our churches. At the conferences, we are free to be who we are and not be concerned about being ‘too loud’ or ‘too out there.’ Overall, the PAD Conferences are liberating and a place to be free.”
Rev. Alycia Erickson: I attended my first PAD conference in Washington, D.C. I was new to MCC, and newly ordained as a pastor at MCC Austin. Rev. Karen Thompson, the senior pastor, and I both believed it was important for us as leaders to support MCC’s PAD conference. So I attended that year in Washington, D.C., not really knowing what to expect.
I now know that one of my questions before the conference was, in fact, common among People of European Descent like myself. Am I welcome here? Is it ok for a white person to come to a conference for People of African Descent? Did they really mean it when they said friends and allies were welcome?
The answer then, and now, was YES. I registered and traveled to D.C., wondering what the weekend would be like. Were there moments of discomfort that first weekend? Yes. I grew up in a Lutheran tradition in the Midwest and that worship style was very different from the worship style of many black church traditions, and what l experienced during worship at the PAD conference. Yes, there were moments where I was uncomfortable, AND there were wonderful moments of powerful worship and connection and insight. That’s how one grows—to step outside one’s comfort zone and embrace the unknown.
A few years later, I attended the next PAD conference in Atlanta. This time I intentionally talked about the conference with the folks at MCC Austin and several people also went to Atlanta with me. It was even more meaningful to have others from my home church experience the weekend with me. I encourage you to come this year to the PAD conference in St. Louis with others from your home church.
I am so grateful that I’ve been able to go to the past two (this summer will be my third) PAD conferences. Each time I attend, I learn more about what it means to be someone who moves through the world as a white person in the United States. I learn more about what People of Color experience in the United States today. The opportunity to be in a space where white folk aren’t the center of attention helps me better understand the ways the particular histories and dynamics of race in this country wounds all of us. We’ve got lots and lots of People of European Descent in MCC. It behooves all of us of European Descent to better understand the experiences of People of Color in our communities. I invite you to prayerfully make the investment of time and money to come to the PAD conference in St. Louis this year. I hope I’ll see you there!
Kenaya Edghill shares why she is excited for the 2017 PAD conference!
Rev. Dr. Robin Gorsline offers his PAD testimony!
Kedric Brown tells why he is excited for the conference this year!
We are delighted that the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis is the host congregation for the 2017 PAD Conference. Here’s a warm message of welcome from Wes Mullins, pastor of the always gracious MCCGSL.