Pioneering lesbian minister Nancy Wilson is being honored today (July 6) as she retires as global moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches.
I worked closely with Nancy from 1991-94 as MCC’s ecumenical field director. Here are some photos of our efforts to advocate for LGBTQ rights at the World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches and other church events. Thanks, Nancy, for your passion and prophetic vision!
Nancy is the second person, and the first woman, to lead MCC since it was founded in 1968 by Troy Perry. When MCC was founded, homosexuality was still considered a sin, a sickness and a crime, but MCC gave religious affirmation to queer people. Nancy joined the new denomination as associate pastor of MCC Boston in 1972 when she was 22 years old.
After serving in numerous positions in MCC, Nancy Wilson was elected as moderator in 2005 following Perry’s retirement. President Barack Obama appointed Nancy to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2011. When Obama was re-elected, she became the first openly LGBT clergy to participate at the Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Her 44 years of ministry are being celebrated today with a “Tapestry of Thanks” event at MCC’s international General Conference in Victoria, BC, Canada.
In 2016 she wrote a new book: “I Love to Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Inclusion, and Hope.” Her collection of true stories from the LGBTQ faith community will bring laughter, tears, insight and hope. Sections cover love and marriage equality, pastoring, death and funerals, hate and violence, laughter, portraits, kids and angels, MCC’s first decade, earthquakes and MCC buildings, sexuality and ecumenical adventures, and White House encounters. She draws on four decades of ministry and activism and ministry in MCC for motivational stories of pastors and porn stars, presidents and persons with AIDS, and many more.
Her other books include “Outing the Bible: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Christian Scriptures” (LifeJourney Press); “Outing the Church: 40 Years in the Queer Christian Movement” (LifeJourney Press); and “Amazing Grace: Stories of Lesbian and Gay Faith,” which she co-edited with Malcolm Boyd. The two "Outing" books were previously published as "Our Tribe: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Bible (HarperCollins).
Her prayers and poems are included in “Race and Prayer: Collected Voices, Many Dreams,” edited by Malcolm Boyd and Chester Talton (Morehouse Press) and “Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies and Celebrations,” edited by Kittredge Cherry and Zalmon Sherwood (Westminster John Knox Press).
See more of my MCC photos at these links:
Happy birthday, MCC and Desmond Tutu! (2011)
See LGBT history in photos (2010)
Happy 40th birthday, MCC! (2008)