Introducing Elder Appointees to the General Conference of Metropolitan Community Churches

Rejoice with us!

Dear MCC Clergy and Lay Delegates:

We are excited to announce seven new Elders have been appointed to serve for a five-year term beginning 1 June of this year.

The Council of Elders has vetted and approved the appointees listed below, and the Governing Board has approved the appointments.

Several years ago, when Regions were disbanded and in anticipation of a Moderator transition, we began working on a plan that would clarify the role and responsibilities of members of the Council of Elders. Previously, Elders were automatically full-time staff and members of the Senior Leadership Team. Now, all Elders are volunteers who, as a Council with the Moderator, offer spiritual and pastoral support and leadership to the churches, pastors, and people of MCC.

We hope that appointing the new Elders to a five-year term will give the new Moderator the ability to continuously re-shape the Council for the good of MCC, and over time, give more persons the opportunity to serve.

About sixty people were originally recommended to us from the lay delegates and clergy of MCC. We believe this was a strong and healthy response from our people.

We invited twelve people to apply for Elder, all of whom had been recommended multiple times by clergy or lay leaders. Of those twelve, ten applied, and seven were appointed.

At the beginning of the Elder selection process, we had expected to appoint no more than five new Elders. Instead, we chose seven, based on the strength of their applications and believing that having more people in this role will help the Council of Elders to be even more responsive to the needs of our churches and our people.

In reviewing the applications, we looked for several things and chose those who:

  • Already have a deep and demonstrable spirituality, call, and commitment
  • Represent well the faith, values, and vision of MCC, and are loyal to our denomination
  • Will be an asset to and able to transfer their allegiance to the next Moderator
  • Embody a variety of gifts, creativity, competence, and the kind of diversity we seek
  • Are trustworthy and will not come with their own agendas, but will be able to serve all of the people and churches of MCC with integrity
  • Will be able to blend well as a team
  • Together, with our current Elders, will enjoy serving and integrating into a new, energized Council of Elders

We are confident that our seven appointees, who have the unanimous support of our current Elders, meet this criteria without exception.

We worked hard to balance many of the considerations of diversity with our commitment to choose those who our people have already recommended, and who they would easily recognize as Elders.

Among those appointed are four people who serve as pastor or have served as pastor for program-sized or larger churches; one who is the pastor of a family-sized church; one lay person; three men (two are cisgender, one is a trans-man); and one who is bisexual. The seven represent three countries and three language groups. Two are denominational staff.

The Role of the General Conference:

Elders occupy a special and historic place in the hearts of MCCers world-wide and provide spiritual and pastoral leadership to a global MCC. Because the Elder Appointees will serve on the Council of Elders, which is a discernment body for the Moderator, MCC By-laws require that the General Conference affirm the decision of the Moderator and Council of Elders. This is not an election; rather, it is an opportunity for clergy and lay delegates to voice their support on behalf of MCCers around the world.

In a couple of weeks, the Governing Board will officially announce the Special General Conference Business Forums, scheduled for 9 and 11 April, and virtual voting on 6 and 7 May. Save the dates, and stay tuned for more information!

The seven new Elders being presented to the General Conference for affirmation are:

Rev. Ines-Paul Baumann: Pastor of MCC Cologne, Germany, and the youngest nominee, in the 35-49 age bracket. Rev. Baumann is also the first German Elder and the first non-conforming FTM GenderQueer Elder appointee.

Rev. Pat Bumgardner: Longtime pastor of MCC New York, Executive Director and Founder of the Global Justice Institute, and founder of Sylvia’s Place for homeless queer youth.

Rev. Tony Freeman: Former pastor of MCC San Diego; currently on the Senior Leadership Team as the Director of the Office of Church Life and Health. Rev. Freeman served on the Governing Board until 2013.

Rev. Dwayne Johnson: Former pastor of MCC Richmond in Virginia and of Resurrection MCC in Houston, current pastor of MCC Washington, D.C. Rev. Johnson has served our clergy formation process in many ways and is a lifetime member of the Academy of Spiritual Formation.

Nancy Maxwell, J.D., LL.M.: Professor of Law at Washburn University and one of three leaders of our LEAD team that oversees the program globally. Prof. Maxwell has considerable global experience and teaches courses on human rights and the law. She is the first lay woman to be appointed as Elder.

Rev. Margarita Sánchez De León: The first Elder nominee of Caribbean African descent. She is a pastor, published theologian and an activist, currently living in Portugal. Rev. De León currently serves on staff of the Office of Emerging Ministries as the Program Coordinator for Iberoamerica and is the Academic Dean of the Garner Institute for Iberoamerica Leadership Formation.

Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis: Former pastor of MCC Washington, D.C., and current pastor of King of Peace MCC in St. Petersburg, Florida, Rev. Shultis has served the denomination in many capacities, including on the Governing Board. She is currently chairing the Commission on the MCC Statement of Faith.

Their bios and photos are included below.

Rejoice with me that we have come to this place after years of preparation! Please pray for the Elder appointees, their families and churches as we move through this time together.

Rev. Nancy Wilson Signature

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson

Global Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches


 

Rev. Ines-Paul BaumannMy name is Ines-Paul Baumann.

I live in Cologne/Germany/Europe/World/Creation/God.

I spend most of my time being Parent and Partner, pastoring in MCC Cologne and earning money as Webdeveloper.

My firstname tries to express that I no longer care what gender/s I’m supposed to form.

I came to MCC in 2004 after my queercore-punkrock-band had split. The General Conference 2010 in Acapulco/Mexico was my first experience with the global fellowship outside Europe. I was ordained in 2012.

I love discussions AND decisions. I love questions and questioning. I love to “collect data” before I make up my mind. I appreciate a diversity of lifestyles, abilities, views and traditions. I can share clearness regarding a common ground AND openness regarding it’s different ways of practical meaning.

As an elder I would like to serve WITH and FOR rather than OVER people. I’d like to  proceed with healing by seeing the sainthood not only of those aspects (religions, traditions, opinions, people and self-experiences) that parts of Christianities outside and inside of ourselves already acknowledge as saint. I feel a bit uneasy with the unclear boundaries we have regarding the judicial, legislative and executive power for elders in MCC.

But I share enthusiasm for transforming ourselves as we transform our worlds. I’m committed to explore and be a voice for our understanding(s) of church, faith and spirituality – for and with LGBTIQ*- communities, but what we have to offer is so relevant for so many inside and outside of MCC and Christendom also!

Thank you for taking me into account for the search for additional Elders. God bless all applicants and your considerations and decisions!


 

Rev Pat Bumgardner (2014)The Rev. Pat Bumgardner is currently the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York, where she has served in various capacities for the past 33 years. Rev. Pat is also the Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute, traveling, writing and speaking on behalf of MCC world-wide, addressing a range of social justice issues, forging on-the-ground partnerships, and supporting efforts to promote an inclusive human rights agenda. She chairs the Moderator’s Public Policy Team and holds a seat on the Council for Global Equality.

The Founder of The Sylvia Rivera Memorial Food Pantry at MCCNY and Sylvia’s Place, she has become a leading visionary in the quest of the Queer community to build coalitions and deal with hunger and homelessness, as well as homophobia and other social prejudices. Named for the late civil rights leader, Sylvia Rivera, Sylvia’s Place serves as New York City’s emergency shelter dedicated to providing safe space, food, medical and psychological care, and spiritual support for homeless LGBT youth.

Educated in the Roman Catholic tradition, Rev. Pat has become a sought-after speaker and preacher across denominational divides, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, serving as the 2011 New York City Pride Grand Marshal.

Her current focus involves work with activists in Costa Rica, East Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Eastern Europe, working with asylum seekers in New York City, and developing presentations that address human trafficking as a Queer rights issue.

The proud grandparent of 4 year old Joshua, she lives in the West Village of New York City with her spouse of 28 years, Mary Jane Gibney, and their puppy, Lily.


 

Rev. Tony FreemanRev. Tony Freeman

Since my initial licensure in 1995 as clergy in MCC, I have served in a variety of leadership roles in the local church (including all of the different church “sizes”) and at the denominational level in both volunteer and staff roles. My local church experience includes staff clergy, executive pastor, interim pastor and senior pastor. Denominationally, I served as Chair of the Strategic Growth Initiative, Chair of the Structure Review Team, and as Vice Chair of the Governing Board and I’m currently serving as the Director of Church Life and Health (and member of the senior leadership team). My MCC experience includes visiting and working with our churches around the world (United States, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada and Mexico). I have also presented over 20 seminars and workshops at MCC conferences

I live in Tucson, Arizona USA with my thirteen year old dog, Pollie. Although I’m frequently travelling on weekends, I do enjoy attending Water of Life MCC when I’m home.

I believe that being an Elder in MCC means you are called to be a servant- leader that embodies the core values of our denomination in ways that inspire and empower people and our churches to achieve their greatest potential. I’m grateful for this opportunity to share in this ministry and pray that God will bless us mightily as we together pursue our mission to transform lives and our world.


 

Rev. Dwayne JohnsonRev. Dwayne Johnson

Rev. Dwayne Johnson came to MCC for the first time in 1978. At that time he was a member of the Church of Nazarene, a conservative evangelical denomination. MCC opened new windows personally and theologically and he became a member of MCC of Greater Kansas City in 1983. He became a Transfer Clergy at MCC of Washington, DC in 1990. His experiences include serving as Senior Pastor of MCC Richmond, Virginia (1992-96); Senior Pastor of Resurrection, MCC, Houston, Texas (1996-2009); and currently Senior Pastor of MCC of Washington, D.C., USA.

His denominational work includes service on various committees and working groups, including service as Chair of Clergy Credentialing and Concerns for the South Central District. He has preached at Leadership, District, and Regional Conferences and at General Conference.

Dwayne has a passion for outreach, justice and equality that is grounded in spiritual development. His ecumenical work includes serving with the Coalition for Mutual Respect from 1996-2009, including a 2006 peace mission to Israel with Muslim, Jewish and Christian educators and clergy. Currently he serves by mayoral appointment on the Mayor’s Interfaith Council in Washington, D.C., USA.

In January 2009 he became a member of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, studying with Grace Imathiu, Margaret Guenther, Glenn Hinson and other leaders in the Spiritual Formation movement.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, USA he has also lived in California, Kansas, Missouri, and Washington State. He is a graduate of Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, majoring in Communications, Psychology and English and earned his M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Dwayne envisions MCC as a denomination called to embody the strength of global diversity, power in global partnerships, and an unwavering voice for global equality.


 

Nancy MaxwellNancy G. Maxwell* holds dual membership at MCC of Topeka and the Church of the Trinity, Sarasota, Florida. She began attending MCC of Topeka in 1990 and recently joined the Church of the Trinity, Sarasota, Florida.

Nancy is a co-coordinator of the MCC lay leader certificate program, Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship (LEAD). She has attended the Moderator’s Leadership Mentoring Retreat, stood for election to the Governing Board in 2010, is a certified facilitator for Creating a Life that Matters, completed her LEAD certificate in 2013, attended the Size, Worship, Programming, and Stewardship Summits, and has presented on The Partnership between a Church’s Board of Directors and the Ministry Staff; The Large Church; and The Legal Aspects of LGBT Families. She recently completed a course in pastoral care at the Pacific School of Religion.

In July Nancy will retire from Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, KS, where she has taught Family Law, Sexuality and the Law, Criminal Law, Feminist Legal Theory and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She has served as the law school’s Co-Director of the International and Comparative Law Center, teaching comparative law in London, UK, Utrecht, NL, and Barbados. Nancy has presented academic papers in numerous countries; her legal research includes same-sex marriage, co-parent adoption, parentage issues, mediation, and legal education. Nancy holds a B.A. in psychology and a law degree (J.D.) from the University of North Dakota, and a master’s of law (LL.M.) degree in law teaching from Harvard. She is licensed to practice law in North Dakota and the federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; she is a trained child custody and visitation mediator, and implemented a student-run dispute resolution program in Topeka, Kansas, public school system.

Some of the skills and gifts Nancy brings to the role of elder include pastoral care, spiritual discernment, teaching/facilitating, and administration.

* Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston was a lay person at the time of her election as a Regional Elder and later entered the process of ordination as MCC clergy.


 

Rev. Carmen Margarita Sánchez De LeónRev. Margarita Sánchez De León, originally from Puerto Rico and living in Lisbon, Portugal, has been part of MCC since 1996.  She was co-pastor of MCC Cristo Sanador in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the founding stage and Senior Pastor from 2006 to 2008. She was Executive Director of Amnesty International, Section of Puerto Rico and as has wide experience working with and taking action for human rights and LGBT rights through grassroots organizations and social movements. When moving to London, UK, she was pastor in the East London and South London MCC congregations from 2009 to 2012. At denominational level, she is part of Theologies Team since 2010 and works as Program Coordinator for Iberoamerica –Office of Emerging Ministries (in close collaboration with Rev. Elder Héctor Gutiérrez) and is the Academic Dean of the “Darlene Garner Institute for Ibero-American Leadership Formation – OFLD.

One of her skills and passions is to help to build alliances and create networks between organizations, groups and people.  She is a person of dialogue that embraces diversity and multiculturalism as a way of life.  She enjoys encouraging people to understand their own strengths as a gift. She has curiosity for life and a passion for people.

She has a BA in Art and Literature from the University of Puerto Rico, an MA in Religion from the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico and Courses for Doctor of Philosophy program from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese.

She is married with Frida Kruijt and they are mothers of Oshadi and Siboney, girl and boy twins of five years old.


 

Rev. Dr. Candace R. ShultisRev. Dr. Candace R. Shultis grew up in Kingston, NY and Pittsfield, MA. She earned her baccalaureate degree from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), B.B.A., in 1973, her master’s and her doctorate at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, M.Div., 1980 and D. Min., 2004. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled: The Creation of a More Diverse Congregation: A History of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC. From November, 1973 through August, 1976, she served as a disbursing officer in the United States Marine Corps. She first attended the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC in 1979. Candace served as the Associate Pastor of MCC Washington from 1983 until 1995 when she was elected Pastor. She was called and elected to be the Pastor at King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL in December, 2007.

Candace has served in a number of denominational capacities including as Assistant District Coordinator (Mid-Atlantic District), as a member and then chair of the Clergy Credentials and Concerns Committee and as a member of the Governing Board. She presently serves as the Chair of the Commission on the Statement of Faith. She has preached in churches and at events from New Haven CT to Sydney Australia.

Candace brings the spiritual gifts of pastor, administrator, stewardship, leadership and discernment. She is a gifted preacher and teacher. She loves people in all the ways they show up and has a passion for the growth of churches and people.

She and her partner of 22 years, Barbara, also enjoy the company of their two dachshunds: Wendy, and Mister Redd (Really Extraordinary Dachshund Dog).