Church also announces a new drop in center for HIV patients

The Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches (MCCPB) will hold its 30th anniversary celebration of ministry in the age of AIDS with guest speaker Rev. Elder Troy Perry, a religious, social and civil rights activist who founded the MCC in 1968, from Nov. 18-20.

“We’re thrilled that Rev. Perry can join us,” Pastor Lea Brown said.  “We expect a lot of the community will be interested in meeting and hearing such an important, living piece of our history.

Entitled “Seeking First What Is First,” the weekend gala is completely free, open to everyone and features different programs every day.  See the calendar of events below.

“We were founded the same year that AIDS was starting to get media coverage as the frightening, complex and deadly disease that it was,” said Brown, the current pastor of the church at 4857 Northlake Avenue in Palm Beach Gardens. “People were scared; the government was silent; and mainline faith communities were finding one more reason to reject their LGBT members.”

Fortunately, in 1968, some 13 years prior to the advent of the AIDS information age, Rev. Troy Perry had launched the Metropolitan Community Church, a predominantly gay Protestant denomination that insinuated a faith community into the heart of the incipient gay rights movement that caught fire the next year in 1969 with the Stonewall Riots in New York City.

Now, 30 years later, Perry will join the congregation of MCCPB to honor the work they have done to date and help them launch a major new drop-in center for people with HIV and AIDS.

MCCPG was started by Rev. Richard Ross at his home in West Palm Beach on Nov 22, 1981.  For the first few years church services were held at a store front on North Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.  The church has had many homes and many pastors since then.  The congregation settled into its current location in 2000, according to Brown who signed on as pastor about a year ago.

“About 125 people call this their church home and make it a vibrant, active community of believers,” Brown said.  “The drop-in center is one more project the members felt called to undertake to help people in the congregation and the community at large.

The drop-in center will be open on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from noon to 4 p.m. starting Nov 22.  It is named after deceased church member Kevin McGee who died from AIDS and knew what it meant to find a community for support.

Schedule of Events

Friday, Nov 18 at 7 p.m. there will be a musical review of 30 years of memorable moments in music and entertainment, which have been held at the church over the years.

On Saturday, Nov 19, at 10:30 a.m. Rev. Perry will share his reflections about the 30 year history of AIDS in MCC and world-wide.  This will be followed by a catered brunch and the grand opening of a new drop-in center for people with HIV and AIDS.

Saturday evening, a new documentary on Perry, “Call Me Troy,” will be screened at Compass at 201 North Dixie Highway in Lake Worth. Discussion and a reception will follow.

Sunday, Nov 20 the regular church service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Perry will preach at the service, which will be followed by a barbecue on the church grounds.

“We expect a large turnout for this opportunity to meet an icon,” Brown said.  “The documentary is full of original archival footage from the ‘60s and ‘70s and really shows Perry as a powerful religious leader and amazing political activist”

All events are free and open to the public.  Reservations are needed for the Saturday catered brunch so please call 561-775-5900 by Wed Nov 16 to confirm or if you have any questions.