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Friday, May 12, 2017

Metropolitan Community Church of Baltimore Celebrates 45th Anniversary

Written by  Jo-Anne Ludy

Metropolitan Community Church of Baltimore (MCC Baltimore) will celebrate 45 years of ministry and service to the Baltimore community on May 20th and 21st. Under the theme “Positioned for Greatness,” the weekend’s events will commence with a leadership symposium on Saturday, May 20th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rev. Martin Espinosa, nationally recognized teacher and speaker, will facilitate the symposium, which is being presented at no cost and is open to the community. Rev. Espinosa is the senior pastor of Ray of Hope Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The celebration will continue Sunday, May 21st, with Rev. Espinosa as the guest preacher for the 10 a.m. morning worship service. Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, senior pastor of MCC Baltimore’s sister church in Washington, D.C., will serve as the guest preacher for the afternoon service at 3 p.m.

MCC Baltimore’s senior pastor Rev. Victoria L. Burson decided to expand the symposium beyond the church leadership team to the community at large to allow those who desire to enhance their skills as a leader in their professional, spiritual, or personal life to take advantage of Dr. Espinosa’s teachings. This unique opportunity is a part of MCC Baltimore’s vision to serve as a resource center that seeks to engage, equip, and empower people to make a difference.

Founded in 1972, MCC Baltimore held its first worship service in the YMCA in downtown Baltimore. In its 45-year history, MCC Baltimore has held services in various locations, including a funeral home, a bar, a United Methodist Church, and in members’ homes. Its current location, at 401 West Monument Street, is a former garage and printing shop. MCC Baltimore is a member of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, which Rev. Elder Troy Perry founded in October 1968. The denomination has served as a safe, welcoming space for everyone and has been “at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging and global human rights,” according to its website (Mccchurch.org).

When Rev. Burson became MCC Baltimore’s 18th Pastor on January 5, 2014, the church had been without a permanent pastor for five years and welcomed her arrival with anticipation and hope. Under Rev. Burson’s leadership, the congregation has experienced growth in membership, attendance, involvement in ministry activities, and increased community involvement. Rev. Burson believes in being prepared for the transitions and shifts that can occur in the life of a congregation, as stated in the ministry mantra for 2017, “Divinely positioned for the shift.” It is because of the shifts and the strength and resiliency of its members that MCC Baltimore has survived and continues to thrive.

In living out the vision of being a resource center, one of MCC Baltimore’s recent endeavors is starting a literacy center for children in the community, and has partnered with students from Towson University in crafting grant proposals for funding to turn the vision into reality.

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