HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY, REV. TROY PERRY
Founder, Metropolitan Community Church (MCC)
Born July 27, 1940
In September 1968, when he was twenty-eight, the Rev. Troy Perry put an ad in the Advocate announcing worship services for gay and lesbian Christians. On October 6, twelve people gathered in his living room in Los Angeles for what would become the Metropolitan Community Church, which now has over 300 congregations in eighteen countries.
Perry was thirteen when he preached his first sermon. His father had died when he was twelve and his new stepfather was violent and abusive to Perry and his four brothers. Perry ran away to stay with relatives in Georgia and Texas and began attending Pentecostal services, then entered their ministry. He married the daughter of pastor, had two sons, came out, was defrocked, divorced, and was barred from seeing his children until a reunion in 1985. He married his partner of twenty-three years, Phillip De Blieck, in Toronto in 2003 at the local MCC. The newlyweds sued California for their marriage to be recognized and won. When the State appealed, the ruling was overturned. Perry retired as Moderator of the church in 2005 and his successor, Nancy Wilson, was installed in a special service held in the Washington National Cathedral. Perry continues preaching, public speaking, writing, and fighting for social change .
The MCC’s history has been equally tumultuous. Less than two years after opening their Mother Church in Los Angeles in 1971, it was burnt to the ground by arsonists who were never caught. Fires have been set to MCC buildings seventeen additional times. A New Orleans bar that had hosted MCC services was torched fives months after the Los Angeles fire and thirty-two people were killed, among them twelve MCC members including the pastor and assistant pastor. Much more about the MCC’s history can be read here