Gay Church Gets New Leader

Allan Appel PhotoThere is a Greek term for the moment that took place Sunday morning as the Rev. Elder Darlene Garner extended the hand of blessing installing Rev. Brian Hutchison as the new pastor for New Haven’s LGBT-focused Metropolitan Community Church.

Garner (at right in photo, with Hutchison) invoked the term during a stem-winder of a sermon. She spoke of how regular clock-watching tick-tock time is known as chronos in Greek. Then there are those interludes for a person or institution pregnant with meaning and change. Those are called kairos.

Then she stepped right into one of those moments, Hutchison’s installation.

The moving event, full of singing, praise, and hugging, drew 40 parishoners to MCC’s regular service site, the parish house of the United Church on the Green on Temple Street.

Hutchison replaces Marilyn Bowens, who served as pastor for three years.

Hutchison, who is 29, said one of New Haven’s draws for him is the range of colleges here. He sees himself as a teacher, he said. He considers the time right for an MCC outreach to younger adults; MCC’s current congregation tends to fall more into the middle-age category.

“If you look at the recognized chaplaincies at Yale, a few are ‘open and affirming,’ but they don’t have specific outreach to LGBT. Not that non-LGBT are not welcome, but the intersection of faith and sexuality for MCC has been the focus,” he said. “That’s what we do well, and will [continue to] do.”

In a brief interview before his installation he added that while many New Haven churches as well as organizations at Yale and surrounding colleges are “open and affirming,”  only MCC and the West Haven-based New Haven Pride Center take the next step and have active outreach to LGBT people.

“There’s a rich [collegiate] heritage in this town that is just waiting for an MCC presence,” he said.

The post has been empty for about a year, with volunteer leaders and occasional students from the Yale Divinity School leading the services, according to Tom O’Loughlin, a board member who has been with New Haven’s MCC for most of its 36 years.

O’Loughlin, an engineer from Milford, coordinated MCC’s move from its previous digs in Westville because the Methodist church where it was housed in Westville prohibited MCC from performing same-sex unions.  Read that story here.

A Marylander, with previous positions in Florida, Hutchison has been in town since only December. He said he likes the quaintness of New England as well as the focus on scholarship.

MCC is a national denomination that developed in the late 1960s in Los Angeles with a specific aim to focus on spiritual well-being of along with social justice for gay people. It has hundreds of congregations across the country. The national denomination has listings of open pulpits and refers its clergy to apply.

It is up to the individual church to accept the pastor. Sunday’s service was an “installation,” said O’Loughlin.

Rev. Darlene Garner, from the church’s Council of Elders, conducted the service. Both Hutchison and the congregants pledged to work together to make the relationship successful.

The installation serves as a kind of trial marriage. If both partners agree, Hutchison will be formally “called” to be pastor permanently after a year.

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posted by: Bob Oliveira on February 25, 2013  12:40pm

Actually MCC is an international denomination in over 37 countries and was developed in Los Angeles not New York City.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on February 25, 2013  7:04pm

Congratulations and blessings.


: )

posted by: ChrisThomas on February 26, 2013  1:53pm

Congratulations to Mr. Hutchison and the MCC. It sounds like a great match, and I hope it works out.

I met Mr. Hutchison at a Pride Center Town Hall and was very impressed—I hope he becomes involved with all sorts of community partnerships and collaborations.

posted by: PastorBrianMCC on February 26, 2013  4:37pm

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2013

Metropolitan Community Church of New Haven
to Install Interim Pastor

On Sunday February 24th 2013 at 10:00am at the United Church Parish House (323 Temple Street, New Haven), The Reverend Brian Hutchison, M.Div. will be installed by MCC denominational representative The Reverend Elder Darlene Garner. Members of the clergy from various other MCCs and Open/Affirming churches will be present. All are welcome to attend the service and the potluck lunch to follow.

MCC New Haven serves the New Haven community and beyond as a community of faith, centered in the love of Jesus, with a special ministry with LGBT folks and those who identify in-between and beyond categories.
At MCC-NH, both hearts and minds are welcome in all we do.  We experience God in heart-felt worship and fellowship and in the stretching of our minds by critical study of Christian Scripture, as well as other sacred and secular texts.  We truly welcome you in the spirit of radical hospitality to join in experiencing community together!
Our Mission Statement: Celebrate God’s unconditional love, Care for one another, Cultivate our faith, and Carry God’s justice to the world.

Reverend Brian Hutchison currently serves as Interim Pastor for MCC New Haven. Brian most recently served as Director of Volunteer Ministries for Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Fort Lauderdale, FL. During that time, he also assisted Celebration MCC in Naples, FL through their pastoral transition. Before that position, he was the pastor of New Covenant MCC in Laurel, Maryland. Prior to ordination, he completed a clergy internship at MCC San Francisco. He also completed a Clinical Pastoral Education internship at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. Brian holds his Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland (College Park), and a Certificate in LGBT Studies from the same. Before ordained ministry, Brian was active in lay ministry with MCC Washington DC.
Brian’s talents and passions include singing, preaching, pastoral care, religious education, small group meditation and study, HIV ministry, sexuality studies, and social justice work. Brian also serves on the global MCC’s Young Adult Advisory Council.
Brian is married to his husband of six years James who is a trained chef and artist. Brian and James enjoy food, the outdoors, social activism, and community activities.

For more information, please visit