MCC Richmond's History
Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future
First location at the Friends Meeting House on Kensington Ave in Richmond
Our current location at 2501 Park Avenue in Richmond
First Decade: 1968-1978
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.
Rev. Kenny Callaghan was called to be MCC Richmond's new settled pastor after a pastoral search that begin in May of 2015. He was elected unanimously by the church membership on May 22, 2016, and began his ministry with MCC Richmond on July 1 by first attending the General Conference of our denomination in Victoria, British Columbia. A formal ordination/installation service was held at MCC Richmond on Saturday, October 8, 2016, to welcome Pastor Kenny to the community.