|Pastor Lea Brown; Paula Fraser, president, Metropolitan Community Foundation; and Sisters Dana, KrisTall, Mary Juanita, Jezabelle, and Sara Femme in a line,
The Metropolitan Community Church celebrated their 39th anniversary entitled âWeâre 39... Really!â on April 24, where the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. were presented with a âSaints Aliveâ award in recognition of 30 years of service. The church has been host to two incarnations of Sister Bingo in the past. In addition to recognizing the mutual anniversaries, this was an opportunity to celebrate the return of this fellowship to their church home at 150 Eureka (after being displaced for nearly three years due to structural issues with the building).
While based in the Christian tradition, the MCC is a home for queer spirituality, and welcomes ALL persons of faith from every part of the Community.
The co-hostesses were Stephanie âFannyâ Smith and Carolyn âFifiâ Eidson, both dolled up in feathers galore. Tarot card reading was available up in the balcony, and on the main floor there was âFrock the Pastorâ (kind of like âPin the Tail on the Donkey,â but with high heels).
Intermittent entertainment was provided by the awesome vocal talents of Camy Thompson with Max Perkoff on the piano and parishioner Mark on drums. Thompson opened with that old standard, âWithout a Song;â then Ella Fitzgeraldâs version of Martha Rayeâs âMr. Paganini, Youâll Have to Swing Itâ from the movie Four Jills in a Jeep (1944), complete with the intricate scat stylings of Fitzgerald; and Madelyn Kahnâs âIâm Tiredâ from the movie Blazing Saddles. Thompson perfectly mimicked Kahnâs Lily Von Schtupp mimicking Marlene Dietrich. In a surprise movement, Thompson suddenly sat on Sister Danaâs lap to broadly pun on the lyrics: âWho can satisfy their lustful habits; Iâm not a rabbit; I need some restâ - to the delight of the roaring crowd. Then, for âall the dreamers that believe everything is possible and that love will always find its way,â she sang âSomewhereâ from West Side Story in a slower, more bluesy version.
Thompson brought to the stage the MCC choir, under the direction of Stephanie Smith, to sing with the choristers the bittersweet Bette Midler number, âFriends.â Thompson had a definite appearance and poise of the Divine Miss M, especially when she and the chorus sang the haunting lyrics: âHad some friends, but theyâre gone; somethinâ came and took them away; and from the dusk âtil the dawn, hereâs where I will stay. Standing at the end of the road, boys, waitinâ for my new friends to come.â
Senior Pastor Lea Brown pointed out the significance of the MCCâs 39 years plus The Sistersâ 30 years equals a total of the magical number 69. She said because of this fundraiser, it appeared they would raise $15,000 to complete the move-in back to their original building in the Castro â now properly retrofitted.
The Rev. Brown and Paula Fraser, president of Metropolitan Community Foundation, invited five of us attending nuns - Sisters Dana, Mary Juanita High, Jezabelle, KrisTall Mighty, and Sara Femme â to receive a plaque declaring SPI Inc. as âSaints Alive.â She also presented us with a communion napkin wrapped up and tied around various bottles of glitter to facilitate the continuation of our ministry of blessing people with the holy substance.
The Rev. Brown commended The Sisters for giving the Pope a harder time than they ever did, and for our annual Hunky Jesus contest in Dolores Park on Easter. MCC also recognized The Sisters having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the queer and HIV/AIDS community and as activists raising awareness: âsinfully scintillating Sisters for social change.â
Sister Mary Juanita shared a few minutes of Sistory, briefly touching upon the AIDS crisis and how it impacted the two organizations. We are especially proud of our very first Bingo as a fundraiser in 1980 there for refugees from Cuba. âWe look forward to working together with you for all time,â she said. Then MCC volunteers rolled out two big sheet cakes lit with a total of 69 candles, as the audience sang âThe Happy Birthday Song.â
Thompson returned to sing a medley of âSome Day My Prince Will Comeâ and âWhen You Wish upon a Star.â She then belted out âCanât Help Lovinâ That Man of Mineâ from Porgy and Bess. She really has an incredible four-octave range and awesome breath control, holding out those notes forever! Spirited singer, actress, songwriter, teacher and band leader, she has been sharing her gifted musical talents and charismatic personality with appreciative audiences all around the globe for about 30 years now. I anticipate one day reviewing her CD, CafĂ© Camille. She then sang an original composition from a genre that she called ânasty bluesâ entitled âThe Broken Down Kitchen Blues.â This dirty little ditty was full of double entendres.
We love that stuff! And of course âSomewhere over the Rainbowâ is always popular with a gay crowd â especially in church. She asked the choir to join her again with Todd Rundgrenâs âLove Is the Answer.â Some of the lyrics really summed up the evening perfectly: âLight of the world, shine on me; Love is the answer; shine on us all, set us free! We got to love one another!â