Twenty-three-year-old Sydneysider Johnathan Jones became the newest and youngest minister in the worldwide Metropolitan Community Church last Saturday during a service at the church’s Petersham headquarters.

Jones was ordained by local MCC pastor Greg Smith and visiting American elder Debbie Marton. Smith told the Star that Jones would make a great contribution to the work of the church, particularly in its work with young people.

The thing that really struck me was the difference between the Johnathan that first walked into the church and the Johnathan on Saturday night. When he first came here he was a bright-eyed pimply-faced fundamentalist Christian and he brought with him all that that meant. On Saturday night he was a wonderfully mature and adult Christian leader with an amazing diversity of experience and expectations, Smith said.

It’s a two-way thing -“ part of the joy is teaching him and sharing with him my years of experience but the other side is being challenged by his enthusiasm and new way of looking at things, Smith said.

Jones, who has been working as a youth pastor at the church, recently completed a three-year theology degree that qualified him for ordination. He realises that he is entering his ministry at a time of great controversy in many churches over the issue of homosexuality and is determined that the MCC will make a difference.

We witness to our Christianity by just getting on with it. Rather than arguing with one another and threatening to split the church we are just getting on with our ministry, Jones told the Star.

Jesus said love one another, and when you see churches fighting between themselves, that’s not loving one another or doing what Jesus has called them to do.

MCC is one of the world’s largest GLBT organisations and was founded in 1968 when the Rev. Troy Perry gathered together a congregation of 12 people in his living room in Los Angeles.  The MCC now has over 43,000 people in over 300 congregations in 23 countries around the world. MCC clergy perform 6,000 same-sex marriages annually and were instrumental in the fight for gay marriage rights in Canada.

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