THE Sydney branch of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) will celebrate its 40th anniversary of being an LGBTI-inclusive ministry with a gala dinner night.

To be held on July 4 at Petersham Town Hall in Sydney’s inner-west, the event will also include dancing, live music, speeches and special guests.

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“MCC has been a part of the fabric of Sydney’s LGBTI life since before that very first Mardi Gras back in 1978,” Pastor Rev Greg Smith said.

“For 40 years we’ve opened our doors to those rejected and hurt by un-accepting churches.”

Smith extended an invitation to the celebrations to past MCC supporters and members of the community regardless of their denominations.

“Now we want to open our doors once more to extend a warm welcome to all who support the work of MCC for this very special celebration. You don’t have to be a part of our church or any church,” he said.

The church held its first services at the Quakers Hall on Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, in 1975.

Its history, as recorded in photos taken by and submitted by patrons past and present, will be displayed in a slideshow at the anniversary dinner.

“In our church we’re seeing a new wave of young candidates for ministry and young leaders championing the cause of MCC,” Smith said.

The following Sunday’s morning and night worship services with guest speaker Rev Dorothy McRea-MchMahon will bring the 40th birthday weekend to a close.

“We’ve still got a way to go, but it fills me with such hope that the young people in our church don’t have to suffer the persecution my generation experienced in the days before law reform, pre 1984,” Smith said.

“MCC is at a critical time in its history as churches and society becomes more accepting. Now is a great time to connect with MCC as we venture boldly, with fresh ideas, into a world that my generation could only dream of.”

MCC’s 40th anniversary Dinner will be held on Saturday, July 4. Tickets are available for $71 full, and $31 concession. The event is fully catered, save for BYO beer and wine. Details: mccsydney.org

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