Seeking Spiritual Advise - Problems at Sunshine Cathedral

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Sunshine Cathedral is Part of the MCC Metropolitan Community Church.

The Sunshine Cathedral is not like the other churches of the MCC.

The following is a letter sent to three of the MCC elders, to get spiritual advice on how to handle the unchristian like behavior on the part of Rev. Durrell Watkins and his partner Rev. Robert Griffin. A copy was also sent to Joe Mumpower, a church member who has been mistreated by Rev. Durrell Watkins, his partner Rev. Robert Griffin and some of the board members.

The letter was made known to Rev. Durrell Watkins, his partner Rev. Robert Griffin, and some of the board members. Now because it was sent, I am no longer able to serve as a volunteer at the Sunshine Cathedral. I now know it is only a matter of time and they will start to increase their attitudes to make me feel more unwelcome. Not everyone is welcomed at the Sunshine Cathedral, but they sing about how everyone is welcomed.

For years I have served as an usher and as a Eucharistic Minister. Even though I kept this private to not let others know of my feelings. The letter (email) that I sent for spiritual guidance, has now caused some of the board members, Rev. Durrell Watkins, and his partner Rev. Robert Griffin to take action to stop me from serving as a volunteer at the Sunshine Cathedral.  I never did get my spiritual guidance from the MCC elders, because they do not want to get involved and be associated with this problem. They cannot help me because this needs to be done through the Sunshine Cathedral church. This means there is no help for me and Rev. Durrell Watkins and Rev. Robert Griffin can do as they please, and treat people the way they want, or they can get rid of you if you question their actions.

The actions of Rev. Durrell Watkins and Rev. Robert Griffin are an embarrassment to the MCC and what Rev. Troy Perry stood for, when he established the MCC congregation. These two are out of control with their attitudes and this is a gross misuse of their power.

I have decided to make this private letter public, because of the way it was used to remove me from the volunteer list by other church board members.

Email to the elders of the MCC Metropolitan Community Church:

I am struggling with issues I am having with the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. I am a quiet attendee to the church ever Sunday, for the last 8 years. I am involved in ushering and Eucharistic Minister within the church too. Over the last few years I have seen more of a decline in our church attendance. I have also seen our services turn more into a bad Broadway show with no real spiritual format. The Minister Durrell Watkins is a poor minister but a great showman.

He looks more and more like a hypocrite as every day passes with his actions and comments he makes.

I have lost respect for him, because of his behavior towards other church members and now towards me. I have a lot of things I need to talk to someone about, in regards to his leadership.  I am struggling to go public with all of this. Another church member has already, Joe Mumpower.

I am sending you my response to the article that was written by Joe Mumpower,

"Drag Preacher Disallows Free Speech."

The article is about the Sunshine Cathedral's minister, Rev. Durrell Watkins and the way that he approaches his ministry. It also questions the way in which Durrell responds to his congregational members, when they have concerns about their church; in particular, why so many church members are leaving the church. The author states that the church service is too gay for the congregation and does not have enough of a spiritual format.

The article is based off the research done by Joe Mumpower. He indicates how he is unsuccessful at getting questions answers in regards to why so many church members are leaving the church. There seems to be a clash on how a church service should be done. The result on how it is currently being done is that many church members have now left. Joe indicates that Durrell is more like a drag queen and less like a minister. The article reads as a very frustrated church member who is being bulled and not given an opportunity to be heard. He is mainly concerned about what can be done to bring the church members back that have left his church, and how the minister can improve on his ministry way. He hopes that the Sunshine Cathedral can return back to the positive spiritual place it use to.

After reading this article, I feel there is a real disconnect with the church minister and his congregation. I never heard of so much turmoil in a church that a congregation member would find himself or herself compelled to post something about it in a local magazine, just to be heard. There have been many changes in our country and views on religion over the last decade and still more to come. We all go to church to feel closer to God; and we want that warm tingly feeling we get, when we feel the spirit flow throw us. It is a nostalgic feeling we all can relate too. Whether it’s a gay church or straight church, we should not scare off the members, guests, or straight people. In such a way that we are showing them how gay we can be at church. Instead we should show that we could be like any other spiritual church that you walk into, without feeling uncomfortable.

The article sparked off a response by the church board, which is the same group of bullies that where unkind towards Joe, when he had first brought these questions up. The response to Joe's questions or lack of, have resulted in Joe putting this article in a local newspaper, and now Joe has been sent a letter telling him, he was no longer a member of the church. Joe can no longer go to his church that he has invested time, money and prayers for many years. The letter was sent after Joe went north for the summer, and indicated in the letter he could request his membership back in June, at the next board meeting. This would cause Joe to have to comeback to Florida and to try to get his membership back, although he could still end up not being allowed his membership back.

This group of people appointed by Durrell, are unfair, unkind, hypocrites. They all walk around with a chip on their shoulder with a better then thou attitude. It saddens me that even in a gay church this kind of crap goes on. I stand by Joe and this may cause me to be kicked out too. I am already getting attitude from those unkind people in charge of God's home, my church, our church. If you question anything you will be out cased from the church.

In conclusion a minister should not have an attitude, but a drag queen does. A separation of the two is needed if you are going to minister. God listens to all and so should your minister. If a member of the church is deeply interested with the church's going ones and is a contributor to the church with time and money. Then why should they not also be allowed to ask questions and offer suggestions to help their church? People have the right to be heard even at church. A church is God's home for the people, not a stage for a drag queen want to be.

I have many examples of how Rev. Robert Griffin and Rev.Durrell Watkins are not conducting themselves in a Christian way. I also have concerns over a man name Ed Johnson who over sees the church funds. He is a very unkind person.  A little while back I obscured bullying that went on with Rev.Durrell Watkins and Rev. Robert Griffin, and some of his board of directors. So bad that I was compelled to speak up to have it stop. Joe recently had had heart survey, and the way they were treating him was upsetting him.

Since then I am now getting attitude and ugly looks from some of the board members. This also includes Rev. Robert Griffin and Rev.Durrell Watkins. At one service Durrell turned to me and sang the verse, "you are a thorn in my paradise" even he later denied it. I believe he did not expect me to be looking at him, when he turned his head to sing that part of the verse at me. His answer to this, when I confronted him was, "I don't remember what I was singing,…. leave the church if you are not happy with it."

They make it so you want to leave with their attitudes and nasty looks. I did what I thought was right and they are punishing me for it. I may not agree with Joe's approach to address his concerns, but I do understand why he is asking these questions. The response he has received was very unkind.

Rev. Durrell Watkins and some of his board members are now spreading faults rumors about Joe Mumpower, to justify their actions in not allowing this elderly man in the church. Durrell is now spreading a rumor that Joe will come to our church to shoot the board of directors or him with a gun. This is so far from the truth and an ugly, evil lie to cover up their actions, and to keep Joe from going to church.

I feel I had no where to turn for help, so the truth will have to do for now.

I challenge Durrell Watkins to lie his way out of this. I also feel someone should be looking into how the church funds are being misused, and question those board members that have been put on the church payroll and their past relationship with Durrell Watkins.

If I am going to be referred to as a thorn in his paradise, then so be it.

Sunshine Cathedral member

Guy Jacquez

Greg Kabel

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