Recently the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches (MCCPB) celebrated their 35th year of providing a place of worship for the LGBT community and their loved ones. Over the course of the last 35 years, MCCPB has grown from a quaint establishment started by Rev. Richard Ross at his home in West Palm Beach in 1981, to what is now a community 150 members call home.
According to MCCPB Pastor Lea Brown, the church has accomplished quite a bit and seen some amazing growth since SFGN spoke to them prior to their 30th anniversary in 2011.
“We've had our largest Easter services in the history of the church, with 250 people coming to worship. We completed the major project of replacing our pews in the sanctuary with portable chairs so that we could accommodate more people and activities in the room. We built a beautiful, new expanded pantry with an addition to the church building.” Brown told SFGN.
“Our ministries have grown tremendously; the MCCPB Food Pantry has a fabulous volunteer team of about 20 people who completely run this ministry that provides fresh produce and grocery staples for approximately 2,000 people every month.”
The MCCPB was founded in the earlier ‘80s, a time when AIDS and HIV were only beginning to appear on the media’s radar. The timing has meant MCC has been able to provide invaluable support for people living with HIV and AIDS over the years.
“Positive Connections (the HIV ministry of MCCPB) provides a safe and very confidential place for people living with HIV (especially long-term survivors) to find community and support twice a month in a private home, and we are very dedicated to fighting HIV stigma,” Brown said.
Moving forward, Rev. Brown says the church hopes to see expansion, as well as financial independence that will enable them to dedicate more funds towards celebrating the spirituality of LGBTQ people and their allies.
“By our 40th year, I hope that we will be mortgage-free, and making plans to build and expand our church building to make room for an ever-growing congregation that is serving our community in ever-growing ways,” Brown said.
“I especially hope that we will have been able to spread the message far and wide that MCCPB is a place of vibrant worship for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or expression of gender. I hope that we will be known as a church that fights for social justice for all people, and boldly speaks out against hate and oppression in any form.”
As for anyone who is shy or in general hesitant about checking out the MCCPB, Rev. Brown has a strong message for you; you’re welcome there.
“As a pastor I have to say that I am deeply proud of anyone who walks into MCCPB for the first time. It can be such a scary thing to do because of all the baggage so many of us have around previous experiences with church and religion.”
“MCCPB is an incredibly welcoming church! We hear this all the time, about what a warm and friendly place it is.”