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MEDIA ADVISORY

MCC Toronto to host Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, hate crime victim whose murder was a turning point in LGBTQ2+ inclusion worldwide

Toronto (February 26, 2019) – The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCC Toronto) welcomes Dennis and Judy Shepard to their 11am Worship Service on Sunday March 3, 2019 where they will share their story of transforming a personal tragedy into a call to action for inclusion.

“With hate crimes against LGBTQ2+ people and other minorities on the rise here in Canada and around the world, we need to talk about diversity, inclusion now more than ever,” said Rev. Jeff Rock – Senior Pastor of MCC Toronto. “The fact that Judy and Dennis have transformed their family tragedy into a passionate call for justice is inspiring to us all. We cannot allow Matthew’s death to be in vain.”

On the evening of Oct 6th, 1998, openly gay university student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, viciously beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the starry outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. In the aftermath of what became known as one of the most infamous hate crimes in modern American history, the citizens of Laramie were left to confront the brutality of this crime and its roots in hate and intolerance, while under intense and unsparing national and international media scrutiny.

Judy and Dennis Shepard are in the GTA to attend the King City Country Day School’s production of The Laramie Project, a play written on the aftermath of Matthew’s death. It will run Thursday, February 28th and Friday, March 1st at 7:00 pm, with a special gala performance featuring a post-production talk back with Dennis and Judy, and on Saturday, March 2nd at 1:30 pm.

For more information:
Rev. Jeff Rock, 416-406-6228 x 107 Tickets to The Laramie Project are $15 and available at: www.cds.on.ca/tickets For information on this King City production, contact: kim.sillcox@cds.on.ca

About MCC Toronto:
The Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCC Toronto) has been helping shape Canadian values of inclusion, diversity and equality for 45 years. A place of action – and a place of worship – MCC Toronto is a vibrant, inclusive and progressive church rooted in the Christian faith, the LGBTQ2+ community with a commitment to diversity and inclusion. MCC Toronto is on the forefront of ground-breaking human rights and social justice work and was the site for the world’s first legalized same gender marriage in 2001. Located in Riverdale, MCC Toronto is home to 1,000 engaged members, the award-winning MCC Toronto Choir, and the Triangle Program, the first LGBTQ2+ high school in Canada. MCC Toronto is also home to a refugee program that supports over 850 refugee claimants a year. Beyond its three Sunday services (9 AM, 11 AM and 7 PM), and a weekly broadcast seen in 150 countries, MCC Toronto offers many public-facing community and member engagement programs.

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