Friday, August 12, 2005


MCC Evicted From AIDS Hospice
by Newscenter Staff

(New Orleans, Louisiana) The Rev. Dexter Brecht is packing up the hymn books and all the other belongings of the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans after the church was told its lease at the Project Lazarus complex was being terminated after just three months.

Project Lazarus is a multi building facility for people living with HIV/AIDS and includes a hospice.

The church, and its 45 members, lost their old facility at St. Mark's Methodist Church this spring when the congregation determined it needed its church full time.

When the Project Lazarus property became available Brecht though it would be perfect. Many of the residents of the complex are gay.

But that was before the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans found out about the lease with MCC.

Project Lazarus, which says it does not discriminate against the patients it serves, is affiliated with the archdiocese.

MCC was told this week that the lease was being terminated because of the denomination's acceptance of same-sex marriage.

"This particular group blesses gay unions, which we do not support," the Rev. William Maestri, a spokesperson for the archdiocese told the Times Picayune newspaper. Maestri said that if the lease were continued it could create the impression that the Catholic church is either indifferent or in support of the teachings of the MCC.

Maestri said that a clause in the lease allowed either side to back out after three months.

Brecht said that he was shocked and disappointed to learn of the decision, which he described as "another blatant example of the homophobic policies present in the Archdiocese of New Orleans."

"We believe that homosexuality is one of the sexualities created by God," Brecht told the paper.

The church has 90 days to find a new home. That won't be easy, Brecht says. It needs a building with about 5,000 square feet but which won't cost more than $350,000.

© 2005


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