History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Organizations

 
Metropolitan Community Church
of Milwaukee

Founded:
Disbanded:

 1971
(still active 2021)
Target:

Religious
(male and female)

View the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church web site at this link (will open in a separate browser window).

 
       
 

According to their website in August 2021:

    "Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church has a long tradition of welcoming those who are searching for a spiritual place where they can feel welcomed and accepted. We hope when you worship with us, you will find an environment of loving hospitality and Christian love within our community of faith. As a loving, inclusive Christian community of faith, we serve the diverse religious population of the Greater Milwaukee Area and beyond."

    "Metropolitan Community Church is a denomination founded in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in 1968. As a member of this international denomination known globally as the Human Rights Church, we work to “Tear Down Walls” of injustice and oppression."

    (webmaster note: While the denomination was founded in 1968, the Milwaukee congregation was formed in 1971.)

    "Metropolitan Community Churches originally started to provide a place for LGBTQI+ persons to worship, who were either rejected or oppressed from their faith tradition. However, today, we are a Vibrant, Inclusive, Progressive (VIP) Community of Faith that welcomes EVERYONE, with a unique call to the LGBTQI+ community. Our worship is a blend of many traditions and styles. You will find a variety of music, scriptures, prayers and Communion (Holy Eucharist) that is offered at every worship service. You will also find that our worship is not very formal or filled with rituals, but instead offers a relaxed, opened and inviting worship environment.

    "We believe God made us the way we are and God loves us the way we are. We celebrate the diversity of God’s creation and work for the inclusion and acceptance of ALL God’s people in the church and community life."

Milwaukee's Metropilitan Community Church (abbreviated on this site at times as 'MCC') has been known by various names over the years:

  • 1971- established as: Prince of Peace Metropolitan Community Church
  • 1977- new official name: Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee
  • 1986- renamed: New Hope Metropolitan Community Church
  • 1993- renamed: Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church

      The following history adapted from MCC website, as revised 7/30/2020. Copied and edited by Wis LGBT History Project webmaster August 2021.

    On November 30, 1971, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church began as Prince of Peace Metropolitan Community Church, under the leadership of Pastor Paul W. Sydman. Services were held at 2024 West Highland Avenue, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233. The church's first mailing address was 1114 North 21st Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233, which was right around the corner.

    The church early on became a part of the Global Movement of Metropolitan Community Churches.

    In February 1977, Reverend Valerie Bouchard was hired as the senior pastor, and the church took the official name of Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee, holding services at 1107 North Jackson Street, Sundays at 2:00pm. Later in 1977 Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee moved its worship services to 2647 Stowell Avenue, still having worship on Sundays at 2:00 pm.

    Reverend Valerie remained senior pastor until 1981, when she resigned, and Reverend Steve Stahl was hired as the new senior pastor.

    In the summer of 1985, Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee began to see a decline of membership and presence. By the Fall of 1985, the church was operating on bare minimal and holding worship services when they were able to get enough people. The congregation unofficially started a reorganization, with the hopes of a bright new future. It was at this time that Reverend Steve Stahl stepped down as senior pastor, just prior to this restructuring starting.

    During the Fall of 1986, restructuring had been completed and the church began operating under the new name of New Hope Metropolitan Community Church, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was officially chartered by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches on November 30, 1986, under the new pastorate of Reverend David Callentine. Services were held Sundays at 7:00 pm at the Kenwood United Methodist Church Chapel.

    Concurrently, Angels of Hope Metropolitan Community Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin was also chartered by UFMCC, also under the Pastorate of Reverend David Callentine. Services there were held Sundays at 11:00 am. Reverend Callentine would hold both Sunday worships, first at Angels of Hope in Green Bay, and then drive the distance to New Hope in Milwaukee to conduct services there.

    But on April 30, 1988, Reverend David Callentine died at Milwaukee's Columbia Hospital with complications due to HIV/AIDS at 38 years of age.

    The church continued to hold worship, but changed worship time to 6:30 pm, still on Sunday evenings, with visiting clergy and laity helping to fulfill leadership while a new pastor was being sought out. The church continued to hold worship services at Kenwood United Methodist Church Chapel.

    In 1989 New Hope Metropolitan Community Church hired new Dual Senior Pastors: Reverend Christine Pasinki, and Reverend Nancy Smiegowski. The congregation continued to hold services on Sunday evenings at 6:30 pm at Kenwood United Methodist Church Chapel.

    In January of 1993, both Reverend Christine Pasinski and Reverend Nancy Smiegowski resign as co-pastors of the church. From January to April 1993, worship services continued under the Lay Leadership within the congregation while a new Senior Pastor was sought.

    In April 1993, Reverend Lou Broyles is hired as the new Senior Pastor. The church once again officially changes it name, but this time to Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church. Under Reverend Lou's pastorate, services are moved to the Bach Room at the Astor Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Services were conducted Sundays at 11:00 am.

    Later that year, MCC became one of the first LGBTQI+ organizations to own property in the City of Milwaukee or the entire state of Wisconsin-- when Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church purchased its own building, at 1239 West Mineral Street. A grand dedication service was help in the early part of spring. (The only other Wisconsin LGBTQ organization known to own property at the time was the BESTD Clinic. (added by webmaster))

    About the same time, Reverend Lou Broyles instituted two worship services on a trial basis at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church, one at 9:30 am, which was a Traditional Worship Style Service, and one at 11:00 am, which was a Contemporary Style Worship. The two-service structure lasted about a year, until going back to the one 11:00 am service.

    Unexpectedly on May 26, 2005, Reverend Lou Broyles died of a massive heart attack. In the Fall of 2005, Reverend Christopher Fox was appointed as the Interim Senior Pastor, while a new search for a new Senior Pastor began.

    In the early part of 2006, Reverend Wendy Woodruff was hired as the new Senior Pastor at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church.

    In the mid part of 2011, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church celebrated in high style, with a burning of the mortgage, as the balance of the mortgage at 1239 West Mineral Street was paid in full.

    In January 2016, Reverend Wendy Woodruff resigned as Senior Pastor at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church. Her last service as Senior Pastor was celebrated on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016.

    At the beginning of March 2016, conversations with the Board of Directors at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church began to hire a new Senior Pastor for the congregation, with the hopes, yet again, to restructure and build the congregation within the community.

    In April 2016, Reverend Tory V. Topjian, who was serving as an Associate Pastor at Founders Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles (the founding church of the fellowship), was appointed as the Senior Pastor for the congregation.

    Rev. Tory began his pastorate as Senior Pastor of Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church on a provisional basis on June 1, 2016. Within the first ten days of Rev. Tory's pastorate, both the church and Rev. Tory experience the great tragedy of the Pulse Night Club Shootings, in Orlando, Florida. Even while just beginning to pastor his new congregation, Rev. Tory was also instrumental to the Greater Milwaukee area, by organizing and participating in counseling, being a part of vigils, and helping the community go through the grieving process of this tremendous tragedy.

    When the congregation held its congregational meeting, on January 29, 2017, Reverend Tory V. Topjian was slated for a vote by the Board of Directors to the congregational, as settled pastor. With the congregation voting 98% yes, Rev. Tory became the tenth settled senior pastor. Reverend Tory V. Topjian was installed by the congregation on March 25, 2017, with services being held at Underwood Baptist Church, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

    Since becoming senior pastor, Reverend Tory V. Topjian continues building the congregation, and continues to lead and guide this vibrant, inclusive, and progressive community of faith, not only here in Milwaukee, but throughout Wisconsin.

      Above history from MCC website, as revised 7/30/2020. Copied and edited by Wis LGBT History Project webmaster August 2021.

  •  


    Reverend David Callentine
    Senior Pastor, 1986-1988 (deceased)
     


    Reverend Lewis Broyles
    Senior Pastor, 1993-2005 (deceased)
     

    Credits: seb site concept, design and format by Don Schwamb.
    Organizational history from Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church website, July 2021.
    Last updated: August-2021.

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