United Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
Reverend Troy D. Perry founded United Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) in Los Angeles, California, USA on 6 October 1968. A former Pentecostal minister who was defrocked because he was a gay man, Reverend Perry knew that God had not created him just so He could have someone to hate.
So, in spite of the homophobia he had experienced, he decided to start a church where all people would be welcome, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Twelve people attended the first service of the Metropolitan Community Church, which was held in the lounge of his home.
Today, over 44000 people worship each week in over 300 Metropolitan Community Churches located worldwide.
For more information on our Denomination visit www.mccchurch.org
MCC has staked its claim. As one of the worlds emerging churches, we are proclaiming a spirituality that is liberating and sufficiently profound to address the issues of our chaotic and complicated world. We live out our belief that in the margins we are blessed and we are offering multiple ways for people to access our message of liberation and inclusion. Through church planting, church revitalization, alliances, the internet, and our work in acts of compassion and justice, we will expand our reach substantially over the next few years. MCC will become a name known to an increasing number of people as a place where all are welcomedand our service to those who are excluded is a primary calling. We will be leaders in the world about the union of spirituality and sexuality by articulating our message and spreading it effectively.
In the summer of 1968, one year prior to the Stonewall events, there was a little-reported West Coast bar action and police confrontation which served to galvanize gay activists in Los Angeles, CA (USA) -- and initiated a chain of events which directly led to the founding of the first Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). Within months of this West Coast bar event, the Rev. Troy Perry held the first worship service of what would come to be known as MCC-Los Angeles. Twelve worshipers gathered in his home in Huntington Park, California at 1:30PM on October 6, 1968 -- the first service of what today has become an international movement with more than 44,000 members and adherents in 28 countries, an annual income exceeding $24 million, and a powerful message of spiritual acceptance and affirmation for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.
On December 3, the nations first same-sex marriage is performed by Rev. Troy Perry for two Mexican-American men in Los Angeles, CA.
Metropolitan Community Church congregations are formed in nine cities in the USA: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Costa Mesa, CA; Chicago, IL; Phoenix, AZ; Kaneone, HI; Dallas, TX, and Miami, FL.
MCCs commitment to Christian Social Action is tested in April 1969, when Rev. Perry leads a group of eight MCC-LA members in a peaceful demonstration in front of the Los Angeles offices of State Steamship Lines, which had fired a man for publicly declaring his homosexuality. Rev. Perry also leads a group of demonstrators to the Dover Hotel in Los Angeles, CA to protest the beating death of a young gay man by local Police officers.
Rev. Perry helps organize and marches in Los Angeles first Gay/Lesbian Pride Parade. After the March, Rev. Perry, joined by Carol Shepherd from Daughters of Bilitis and Kelly from Homophile Effort for Legal Protection, sits down on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Las Palmas Avenue in Hollywood, CA and begins a fast for meaningful dialogue about changing unjust laws that discriminate against lesbians and gay men.
At the first General Conference of MCC, more than 600 people attend Sunday morning worship. The fledgling group of MCC churches in the USA agree to form a body they will call the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and agree to begin development of an educational institution, Samaritan Bible Seminary.
MCC Los Angeles ("mother church") becomes the first gay/lesbian organization in the USA to own its own property with the purchase and renovation of a church at 22nd St and Union St. in Los Angeles.
Rev. Elder Troy Perry leads a march from San Francisco, CA to the California state capitol at Sacramento, CA to demand support for a Consenting Adults Bill.
The second General Conference of MCC is held at MCC-Los Angeles in their new building at 22nd & Union.
At the 1972 General Conference III in Los Angeles, 35 congregations vote to be a permanent denomination. The 1972 General Conference establishes the National Prison Ministry (renamed Board of Institutional Ministry in 1975 and Office of Institutional Ministry in 1979) to provide ministry and counseling for the imprisoned and parole support for convicts being released.
MCC begins its Global Outreach with the congregations of MCC of London, England and MCC of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
By-laws are rewritten at General Conference IV in Atlanta, GA to be less sexist and more inclusive. Rev. Freda Smith becomes the first woman ordained as clergy in MCC and the first woman to be elected to the MCC Board of Elders. Rev. Jim Sandmire, Rev. Richard Vincent and Rev. John Gill are elected to the new 7-person Board of Elders, along with Rev. Freda Smith, joining Rev. Elder Troy Perry, Rev. Elder John Hose and Rev. Elder Richard Ploen on that Board.
The faith of the women and men of MCC is tested by fire in January, the sanctuary of MCC-Los Angeles is destroyed; in March a fire is set at MCC-Nashville, TN, and most tragically, in New Orleans, an arson fire claims the lives of 29 people, including the pastor.
Rev. June Norris is the first heterosexual person to be licensed as clergy in MCC.
MCC representatives accept invitations to visit groups in Australia and Nigeria. These visits are followed by the forming of MCC congregations in both countries. In Australia: Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. In Nigeria, Rev. Sylvanus Maduka becomes the first licensed MCC clergyperson from outside the USA and Rev. Maduka and Rev. Jose Mojica become the first persons of color to be licensed as clergy. Rev. Roy Birchard is elected to the Board of Elders to fill the unexpired term of Rev. Elder Richard Ploen.
The Mother Church purchases the old Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles as their new home. The MCC offices also move into this historic building on Hill Street.
On January 25th, the facilities rented by West Bay MCC-Santa Monica, CA is arsoned causing $20,000 in damage to the chapel owned by the non-denominational Unity-by-the-Sea Church.
General Conference V is held in San Francisco, CA. The theme is "One Body, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism."
A unanimous vote at the 1975 General Conference VI, held in Dallas, TX recommends that every member church begin to work toward the use of inclusive language. Rev. Carol Cureton is elected to the Board of Elders. The theme of General Conference is "Weve A Story To Tell To The Nations." In October, MCC opens a Field Office in Washington, DC to initiate and lobby for social action.
Rev. Heather Anderson (later known as Rev. Sky Anderson) becomes the first transgender person licensed as clergy in MCC.
EXCEL (Exercise in Christian Community Living) MCCs lay-oriented spiritual renewal program is introduced in Los Angeles.
Rev. Delores Jackson becomes the first African American to be licensed as Clergy in MCC at General Conference VII in Washington, DC. Rev. Nancy Wilson and Rev. Charlie Arehart are elected to the Board of Elders. The theme of General Conference is "Proclaim Liberation In The Land."
MCC moves its offices from the Mother Church to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center on Highland Avenue in Hollywood.
On August 14th the building owned by Trinity MCC-Riverside, CA was totally destroyed by a fire. On October 4th King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, FL lost their building to a fire.
President Jimmy Carter invites Rev. Troy Perry to attend a meeting in the White House to discuss the status of gay and lesbian rights in the USA.
The formation of the Committee on Lay Concerns (later renamed Commission on the Laity) "to enhance the flow of communication between laity and clergy" is approved by the MCC Board of Elders in 1977.
General Conference VIII is held in Denver, CO, where the delegates vote to hold General Conferences biennially. The General Conference theme is "Think On These Things."
In September, Rev. Perry begins a fast on the steps of the Federal Building in Los Angeles to raise $100,000 to fight against the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California public schools. Within 16 days, contributions from across the nation allow Rev. Perry to end his fast. The measure was seen as part of a rising tide of homophobic laws being proposed throughout the United States and MCCs in many cities educated and organized to help defeat these punitive measures.
On October 23rd, the building owned by Casa de Cristo MCC in Phoenix, AZ was firebombed.
MCC moves its offices to the 6th floor of a building at 318 W. 9th Street in downtown Los Angeles, two blocks from the Mother Church.
January 6th, the KKK burns a cross on the lawn of MCC of the Resurrection in Houston, TX.
Rev. Jeri Ann Harvey is elected the first woman Pastor of the Mother Church in Los Angeles.
MCC moves its offices again, this time to an office building in Hollywood at 5300 Santa Monica Blvd near the Hollywood Freeway.
The first National March on Washington for Gay & Lesbian Rights draws 300,000 participants, including a large contingent from MCC congregations in the USA. MCC sponsors Worship Services at the Lincoln Memorial.
MCC begins to reflect its international composition at General Conference IX in Los Angeles, CA, as Rev. Jean White of London, England becomes the first elected MCC Elder from outside the USA, and Rev. Jeri Ann Harvey, a Native American, becomes our first person of color elected as Elder. The General Conference theme is "For Such A Time As This."
Rev. Troy Perry led "The Trek" from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, FL, an eight day march by MCCers.
MCC helps place thousands of gay and lesbian Cuban refugees being held at concentration camp-style facilities of three US military camps.
July 21st, MCC-Tallahassee, FL was arsoned.
The first references to AIDS, then known as Gay-Related Immune Disease or GRID, appear in both medical journals and the mainstream press, and MCC congregations around the world exhibit leadership, compassion and courage as they learn to minister in the midst of an ongoing crisis.
Ongoing dialogue with the larger Christian community begins in a formal way as MCC applies for membership in the National Council of Church of Christ in the USA.
General Conference X in Houston, TX amends and approves the report of the Task Force on Inclusive Language which includes basic definitions and guidelines for use of inclusive language. The Conference also amends the MCC Statement of Faith according to those guidelines. General Conference theme is "By No Other Name."
The changing face and attitudes of MCC are reflected in Michael Mank being elected as the first lay Elder and a By-Law revision affirms "the Universal priesthood of all believers," and the Rev. Hong Tan becomes the first Asian to be licensed as clergy in MCC.
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA referred MCCs application for membership to the NCCs Commission on Faith & Order for a year-long study of "the ecclesiological issues raised by this application."
September 19th, MCC-Atlanta becomes the 17th Church in the Fellowship to suffer damage by fire.
In 1983 the MCC holds its first General Conference outside the USA in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and General Conference XI affirms "the right of all MCC ministers, clergy and lay, to celebrate and consecrate communion with equal validity." Rev. Don Eastman is elected to the Board of Elders. General Conference theme is "Many Gifts, One Spirit."
The National Council of Churches of Christ requests the opportunity to attend a typical MCC Worship Service while meeting in San Francisco, CA. MCC communion has a particularly powerful effect on NCCC members who had previously never received communion together.
The National Council of Churches "postpones indefinitely" any action on MCCs application for membership.
In January, MCC-San Diego, CA (USA) hosts a 50 hour AIDS Vigil of Prayer for clergy and laity of all denominations. In September, MCC leads 5,000 churches in a worldwide AIDS Vigil of Prayer, which becomes the model for World AIDS Day.
The 1985 General Conference XII in Sacramento, CA is the first Conference with equipment to translate proceedings into Spanish. The Conference approves a major restructuring to the Government, Structures and Systems of the Fellowship. The General Council is formed consisting of the Board of Elders and all the District Coordinators. General Conference theme is "Free To Be."
In February, Rev. Virgil Scott, pastor of MCC-Stockton, CA (USA) is severely beaten and stabbed to death; his murder remains unsolved.
In June, the U. S. Supreme Court upholds the Sodomy Laws in the United States.
MCC is permitted to conduct religious services in low security federal prisons.
Gay men, lesbians and their supporters converge on Washington, D.C. for the second March on Washington, which at that point is the largest gay rights demonstration ever held in the USA. The demonstration includes many MCCers and MCC again sponsors worship services at the Lincoln Memorial.
Couples, Inc sponsors the first mass "Wedding" at the IRS building that weekend.
MCC holds General Conference XIII in Miami Beach, FL. Mr. Larry Rodriguez is elected as the 2nd layperson ever elected to the Board of Elders. General Conference theme is "Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear." A joint service with Dignity, the gay Roman Catholic organization, is held with Fr. Daniel Berrigan as speaker. The theme of this joint time together is "They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love."
MCC experiences a time of growth and consolidation as maturing congregations set an example for each other and for the MCC by making the necessary sacrifices to purchase their own propertiescreating an aura of permanence and stability and allowing for more creative and broadbased ministry.
The continuing need for MCC to address the concerns of women resulted in the creation of the Womens Secretariat by the 1989 General Conference XIV in St. Paul, MN. General Conference theme is "Good News For All People."
The Elders Task Force on Structures and Systems is created in 1990 to explore and make recommendations for the next structural developments in MCC.
President George H. W. Bush (USA) signs the National Hate Crimes Act, the first to include gays with minority groups. The law orders a detailed study of crimes motivated by racial, ethnic, religious or anti-gay bias. Rev. Elder Don Eastman is among those invited to the White House for the signing ceremony.
General Conference XV in Phoenix, AZ celebrates progress as it receives a report that the percentage of women clergy in MCC has grown steadily over the years, and that 43% of MCCs current 305 clergy were women.
MCC recognizes that healthy tensions persist around many theological/liturgical issues, as evidenced by a non-binding resolution calling for workshops "reflecting the theological and spiritual diversity of MCC" at the 1993 General Conference.
General Conference XV is the first to provide special programming for children. Rev. Willem Hein is elected to the Board of Elders and later becomes Rev. Wilhelmina Hein, the first transgender person to serve on the Board of Elders. The Board of Pensions is established by General Conference XV to provide a retirement plan for clergy in the United States. General Conference theme is "I Have Opened A Door."
MCCs social action efforts circle the globe. In Argentina, Rev. Roberto Gonzalez is among a group who chain themselves to he door of the Vatican Embassy to protest the homophobic pronouncements of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
In New Zealand, MCCers are working with other lesbian/gay organizations to include sexual orientation in national anti-discrimination act to be considered by parliament in 1993.
Hamburg, Germany hosts the first MCC District Conference in a country where English is not the first language, and EXCEL International achieves its goal of having an EXCEL weekend in every MCC District. The MCC 1992 People of Color Conference is the largest and most spirited ever with 131 registered.
MCC elects Rev. Hong Tan to become the first Asian Elder, and Rev. Darlene Garner to become the first African-American Elder in the fellowship at General Conference XVI in Phoenix, AZ. General Conference theme is "For All The Nations."
The National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights draws one million participants, including a large contingent from MCC congregations in the USA. The event includes "The Wedding" of 2000 same-sex couples by Rev. Troy Perry. "The Wedding" sponsored by MCC is described as a demonstration for lesbian and gay couples rights and a celebration of their love. MCC again sponsored worship services at the Lincoln Memorial.
The NCCC General Board votes to "take no action" on MCCs request for observer status but to "consider the means by which further discussion might be pursued." Declaring "Its easier to get into heaven than the NCCC!", MCCs Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson reports that "MCC has decided not to pursue another dialogue with NCC at this time," but will continue to have a presence at all NCCC General Board meetings.
In early 1994, as extensive renovations are underway, the church home of MCCs "mother" church, MCC-Los Angeles is destroyed by the devastating Northridge earthquake. The MCC General Council votes unanimously to authorize negotiating the purchase of a modern building complex on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA (USA). The ambitious project is to be a joint venture of the MCC and MCC-Los Angeles and will provide a future home for both entities.
In Atlanta, GA (USA) General Conference XVII views a video history of MCC which concludes with images of the proposed new MCC building complex in West Hollywood, CA (USA) as Rev. Perry shares his "Vision for the Next Generation." General Conference enthusiastically approves the proposal for a joint Capital Campaign venture between MCC and "Mother Church" (MCC-Los Angeles) to raise the monies for the $3.8 million purchase of the new property.
Rev. Elder Wilhelmina Hein is reelected to the Board of Elders at General Conference, becoming the first transgender person elected to that body. General Conference theme is "All Things Are Possible."
MCC-Los Angeles continues a series of fundraising efforts in the Southern California area as Rev. Elder Perry is in the midst of a world tour of MCC churches on behalf of the MCC/MCCLA Capital Campaign which is called: "Vision For the Next Generation."
On May 1st, MCC establishes a presence in cyberspace with a public website and its own Domain Name (http://www.MCC.com). From this small beginning, MCC watches their website grow to receive an average of 200,000 hits per month by June, 1999!
Rev. Elder Perrys Capital Campaign tour of MCC congregations, "Vision For the Next Generation," reaches 137 MCCs in the USA, Canada, England, France and Scotland, and raises over US $1,400,000 in cash and pledges before the tour is suspended to allow rest and recuperation for Rev. Perry after surgery.
On June 18, 1996, MCC and MCCLA complete Phase One of the Capital Campaign to raise the $1 million cash down payment and close escrow on the property. On Sunday, August 4, 1996, a Celebration of Thanksgiving and Blessing is held on the new property. The beautiful facilities become the new home for MCC offices and MCCs historic "mother" church, and Phase Two of the Capital Campaign to raise the funds required to complete the redesign of the property is begun.
Despite earlier concerns about a quorum, MCC General Conference XVIII in Sydney, Australia is a success, reportedly generating much favorable publicity and interest in MCC churches in Australia and New Zealand. MCCers from around the world express wonder at the extraordinary beauty of Australia and delight with the warmth and friendliness of the "Aussie" welcome. General Conference theme is "You Are The Light Of The World."
The Conference features a public rally at Sydneys historic Town Hall, keynote addresses by internationally recognized human rights activists and theologians, business and planning sessions, and an extensive list of social and sightseeing options. Workshops and seminars explore gay sexuality, spirituality, activism, gay parenting, outreach to the LGBT communities, addressing the faith concerns of the gay community, AIDS ministry in a new era, and the use of technology on behalf of gay spirituality. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) is the recipient of MCCs 1997 Human Rights Award, and the Conference approves a set of four "Ministry Priorities" to help guide and focus MCC ministries around the world. Mr. Clarke Friesen is elected to the Board of Elders, replacing Elder Larry Rodriguez who did not run for reelection after serving 10 years on the Board.
For the first time, MCCers are offered a "virtual" General Conference over the internet. Though limited, it does provide instant news, some "live" programming, and daily reports and photos from the Conference.
In October, the Rev. Jorge Sosa of Mexico City is appointed to MCCs Board of Elders. Rev. Sosa becomes the first non-elected Elder in the denominations 29 year history, and the fourth Elder from outside the United States. He will fulfill the unexpired term of the Rev. Elder Wilhelmina Hein, who resigned.
In November, Rev. Perry is an invited participant in the White House Conference on Hate Crimes (USA). The day includes a breakfast meeting with Rev. Perry and other conference participants, President Clinton, White House staff and civil rights leaders, a day-long conference and working sessions, and an evening reception with members of the Presidents Cabinet.
On November 20th, Rev. Perry joined 120 religious leaders in the USA for a breakfast meeting with President Clinton. The meeting is an opportunity for the President to recognize the contributions of these religious leaders to society.
In December, as Rev. Perry visits MCC congregations in South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Perry have a historic meeting in Johannesburg.
MCCs internet presence is augmented by introduction of the MCC Kids Page (MCC Kids On-Line) developed as an extension of the Childrens Ministry program of MCC Charlotte. Its mission is said to be to "provide the children of MCC with fun, Bible-based stories and activities to learn about the Word of God; provide childrens ministry teachers and caregivers with encouragement and Christian, life-based resources appropriate to our specific needs."
At Leadership Conference in September (Phoenix, AZ, USA), the MCC web-based "IntraNet" is introduced. This special password-protected website is intended for the exclusive use of the lay and clergy leadership of MCC, and will offer additional "secure site" areas for various MCC ministries and entities.
Following a particularly heinous murder of a young gay student in the USA, veteran human rights activists Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Troy Perry hold a joint rally and press conference in Los Angeles. The event becomes more than a public statement against hate crime as it launches a national movement.
The World Council of Churches, meeting in Zimbabwe, invites MCC to present a public worship service for the body. Rev. Elder Hong Tan preaches a stirring and memorable sermon to the group. A simultaneous Service is held at MCC "mother Church" in Los Angeles.
MCC begins a series of monthly "cybercasts" on the internet (30 minute audio programs featuring MCC musicians and music and a message from Rev. Elder Troy Perry.)
In late April, MCC announces the inauguration of the "IntraNet de FUICM en Espanol"a website with MCC materials presented in the Spanish languagebeginning with 50+ pages of translated materials and links to other Spanish language websites.
On July 11, at 10:00 AM, MCC members and friends from around the globe are present as MCC and MCC Los Angeles dedicates the new MCC World Center and "Mother Church" building complex in West Hollywood, CA.
MCC celebrates its 30th Year World Jubilee and conducts the business of General Conference XIX at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Rev. Nori Rost is elected to the Board of Elders. General Conference theme is "The Joy Of God Is Our Strength."
General Conference XX is held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. General Conference theme is "Moving Forward In Faith."
General Conference XXI is held in Dallas, Texas. General Conference theme is "Let Your Light Shine." Cathedral of Hope MCC, the largest congregation in the fellowship, withdraws from the denomination and later joins the United Church of Christ.
The structure of the fellowship is once again changed, with Regional Elders replacing the old Board of Elders and General Council. The Board of Administration (Board of Directors for the Corporation) made its first presentation.
General Conference XXII is held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson is elected as MCCs 2nd Moderator. Many couples are legally married in Canada at this General Conference. General Conference theme is "A Future And A Hope."
In October, Rev. Elder Troy Perry officially retires and Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson is installed as Moderator in a service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
The first Executive Director of Metropolitan Community Churches was appointed by the Board of Administration as the final step of transition. The global redistribution of all teams and offices of MCC was begun with the acquisition of the new office for the Moderator in Sarasota, Florida (USA). This process established an official "point of presence" in areas where the majority of members of MCC reside (Texas, Florida and California) as well as areas of emerging ministry (ex: Latin America and Eastern Europe).
Rev. Elder Armando Sanchez ended service as the Elder serving Region 2. Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski was appointed to fill this term.
Rev. Elder Glenna Shepherd was elected to serve Region 4. Rev. Elder Ken Martin was elected to serve Region 1.
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator, was appointed to the Bishops and Elders Council, formed in conjunction with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Institute for Welcoming Resources. Rev. Dr. Cindi Love was appointed to the Faith and Religion Council for the Human Rights Campaign. All Aboard, a HBO documentary featuring Rosie ODonnells family along with 500 other LGBT families was released. Metropolitan Community Church was featured as the provider of pastoral support to the families. The Would Jesus Discriminate? Campaign launched in the May 2006 in Indianapolis.
The office of the Executive Director was opened in Abilene, Texas, one of the ten most conservative cities in the United States. An office was opened in Eastern Europe and a church was established in Jamaica in partnership with Sunshine Cathedral MCC. The second and third phases of the Would Jesus Discriminate? Campaign launched in Indianapolis and the first phase in Minneapolis. This campaign has resulted in the highest number of media mentions of MCC in its collective history.