Given that I find myself in the senior category of life, I am happy to say that there is a place for older LGBTQ+ adults in MCC. There is a place and need for every generation to connect in community. As an older adult, let me say that we have history to share with younger persons. We have first person experiences to share about civil rights, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ activism. MCC was at the forefront of LGBTQ social justice and queer spiritual movements. We need and support younger activists who will carry the movement forward.
One of the core values of MCC is Inclusion. Older LGBT adults and seniors are definitely included. Many of our founding generation (MCC was started in 1968) are still active in local churches and in the denomination. We are not done. We want to continue contributing even while welcoming younger leadership. Our churches provide opportunities for us to serve and for much needed community interactions. Social activities in local congregations vary from location to location but may include monthly game nights (bingo, trivia, etc.), book clubs, and spiritual study groups that meet in the daytime and/or evening. Some churches even have cruises, yoga groups, and technology classes.
MCC is aware that there is a growing aging population of out LGBTQ people around the world. None of us wants to go back into the closet if we need the support of assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing (nursing homes). None of us wants our families of choice to be excluded or feel excluded from our care. Some of us in MCC are working in partnership with local community organizations to educate senior agencies about the unique needs of LGBTQ seniors, thus equipping them to better serve this population. Some of us are providing pastoral care, grocery support, and a variety of events for seniors.
Challenges that affect heterosexual and cisgender seniors impact us as well. Many of our churches have growing health and wellness ministries helping to educate about such things as diabetes, heart disease, and dementias. During the HIV/AIDS crisis years, we learned how to take care of each other as we provided buddy support and drop-in centers along with lobbying for affordable, accessible medications and just treatment. We are applying those same lessons to aging. My ministry has included a virtual support group for caregivers of seniors, primarily seniors with dementia.
Attention to senior LGBTQ concerns is a growing area of ministry need and opportunity. Quite honestly, some of us who may be defined as seniors just don’t feel that old yet! Whether you are a senior, concerned about still having community as you age, or a younger person responsible for caring for a senior, there’s a place for you in MCC.
ABOUT THIS MCC AUTHOR: Rev. Colleen Darraugh (Mus.Bac., M.Div.) first visited MCC in 1980 and knew immediately, it was the place for her. She attended seminary, in Toronto, Canada, as an out lesbian. This meant her active ministry began with her theological education. At the time of this writing (2020), she have served 8 congregations in Canada and the USA. Currently, she is the part-time Lead Pastor for MCC Knoxville (Tennessee, USA) and works part-time for the MCC denomination as the Internal Communications Co-ordinator. In recent years, she partnered with the Coalition for Aging LGBT (Dallas, Texas, USA) and the Alzheimer’s Association (North Texas, USA). Read More