From Pastor Kenny's Desk
June 3, 2018
What a joy to celebrate MCC Richmond's 40th Anniversary serving the greater Richmond community and beyond! It is a blessing to be part of what God has done and will continue to do within the ministries of this congregation.
Together we have told stories of faith in Jesus … 40 years as part of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, MCC Richmond has shared God's love, grace, inclusion, and justice with all people. We give thanks and rejoice in the work of our coworkers and companions as we share ministry, challenge, struggle, and blessing. We pray that the eyes of our hearts continue to be open to a future of wisdom and grace, sharing God's gifts of redemption and love. May we come to know more fully the God of Jesus, recognizing the hope to which we have been called … the radical resurrection power at work in our world making all things new. We celebrate the joy of 40 years of continuous ministry, with God's help transforming ourselves as we transform the world! Thanks be to God!
Here is a glimpse of the history of MCC Richmond:
Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future
On the evening of June 11, 1978, the first Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond worshipers gathered at the Friends Meeting House on Kensington Avenue in Richmond, VA. This first service came only 10 years after Rev. Troy Perry held the first service in Los Angeles of what later became the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. During that decade of growth, the mid-Atlantic district of UFMCC was formed and Rev. Frank Scott of Pittsburgh, Penn., was elected as district coordinator. He created a Richmond study group in May of 1978 and by October Rev. Scott and his partner Rev. Cliff Turpin moved to Richmond and led the Richmond ministry together. A Board of Directors was appointed and a budget was set at $350 per week based on 33 members.
Rev. Turpin relocated and Rev. Scott continued until 1981 when he resigned. At that time the laity, with support from the district coordinator, assumed responsibility. In 1982, a pastoral search committee presented Rev. David Gunton to the congregation and he was elected and installed as pastor. Rev. Gunton served for 13 months before being called to lead a church in Tucson, Arizona. On January 1, 1984, Rev. Arthur Runyan began an 8-year tenure as pastor at MCC Richmond. In October 1985, thanks to the estate of church member Norwood Boone, MCC Richmond received proceeds that enabled us to open a building fund savings account. In 1988, Elaine German and Martha Pittenger were installed Deacons. The church more than doubled in size. In 1989, two musical ensembles were added, as well as a softball team and an AIDS ministry.
A strategy was mapped out that would allow Rev. Runyan to be fully compensated as the full-time pastor. The church was granted a charter. When a larger worship space became a priority, a special congregational meeting was held on January 21, 1992, and the members present voted to pursue the purchase of the building at Park and Davis and to sell church bonds to finance the acquisition. In May 1992, Rev. Dwayne Johnson was installed as interim pastor and on December 20, 1992, he was installed as pastor. In February 1993 the church moved into its current location at 2501 Park Avenue. By 1995, the church added an elevator. When Rev. Johnson relocated to Houston, Texas, Rev. Elder Charlie Arehart served as interim pastor until Rev. Gillian Storey was installed in June 1997.
After Rev Storey's departure to become a full time elder, Rev. Lisa Belongia and Rev. Stephanie Burns were installed as co-interim pastors in 2002. Rev. Dr. Robin Gorsline began his tenure at MCC in 2003. In 2004, the downstairs fellowship hall was renovated which included new lighting, a new ceiling, painted walls and floors and new molding. Also, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia was founded and its first meeting was held at MCC Richmond. In 2008, MCC Richmond adopted a new mission: To build a strong, nurturing, spiritual community that fully supports the holy integration of spirituality and sexuality, and is committed to transforming the lives of all God’s people in metropolitan Richmond by promoting personal well-being, spiritual growth, and leadership. In 2013, Rev. Dr. Gorsline was called to lead People of Faith. In November 2013, Rev. Carolyn J. Mobley was installed as interim pastor.
After a thorough pastoral search process that began in May 2015, Rev. Kenny Callaghan was called to be MCC Richmond’s 8th settled pastor. He was elected unanimously by the church membership on May 22, 2016 and started his ministry with MCC Richmond on July 1 by attending the 26th General Conference of Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in Victoria, British Columbia. A formal MCC Ordination & Installation service was held at MCC Richmond on Saturday, October 8, 2016 to welcome Pastor Kenny to the community.