We are most grateful for the service of the following people…
Rev. Elder Darlene Garner
Darlene Garner is an African-American lesbian Christian woman with a National Baptist and Episcopal spiritual heritage. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches in 1988 and served as Pastor of congregations in Baltimore and Northern Virginia. Since 1993, she has been one of the international denomination’s spiritual leaders and oversees MCC’s ministry in the Mid-Atlantic area and the Southwest of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Before entering ministry, Garner served as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Sexual Minorities; a member of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations; co-founder of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays; chair of the first International Conference for Gay and Lesbian People of Color; and President of the Board of Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry. Garner is the mother of 4 children and has 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. She and her wife, Rev. Candy Holmes, live in Bowie, Maryland USA.
Rev. Candy Holmes
Rev. Candy Holmes brings to MCC rich perspectives and insights stemming from her spiritually diverse life experiences. From her Baptist, Pentecostal, and inter-religious background she brings a tapestry of various gifts and abilities to a multi-faceted ministry of healing, diversity, social justice activism, ecumenical endeavors, worship/music and conference planning. She has been part of the MCC since 1987. One of Rev. Holmes’ passions is participating in the People of African Descent, Our Friends, and Allies Conference since its inception over 12 years ago. She is the Planning Chairperson for the Conference. Rev. Holmes also serves as a member of the Moderator’s Ecumenical/Inter-Religious Team and serves as MCC’s Ecumenical Liaison to The Fellowship (a transdenominational religious movement led by Bishop Yvette Flunder). She and her wife, Rev. Darlene Garner, live in Bowie, Maryland USA.
Rev Vickey Gibbs
Rev. Vickey Gibbs began attending MCC in 1981 upon her move to Houston, Texas. She became a member of Resurrection MCC in 1984. Vickey has served Resurrection and the Fellowship in a variety of ministries including: Lay Delegate, Board of Directors, Clerk of the Board of Directors, Member of the Department of the People of Color, Co- Chair of WIND/MDISC – South Central District, Committee Member of National WIND/MDISC, Team Member of PAD Conference, Executive Committee of EXCEL International, Director and Convener of Resurrection’s Soul Force Retreat Team, Administrative Assistant to the MCC Governance Team, Administrative Lead to the South Central District Board of Ordained Ministry to name a few. Vickey served as Confidential Executive Assistant to Rev. Dwayne Johnson formerly of Resurrection MCC for 10 years. She currently serves as the Confidential Executive Assistant to Rev. Elder Darlene Garner and as a member of the Size Summit Team.
She currently serves as Curriculum Development Specialist in the Office of Emerging Ministry where she serves as a member of the Size Summit Team, U.S. Ministry Development Team and directs the Advisory Councils.
Rev. Cathy Alexander
Rev. Cathy Alexander serves MCC of Washington DC as the Minister of Congregational Connections as well as the Network Leader for the Eastern Network. Cathy has a passion for living worship, music, theology and justice. She is actively involved with MCC at both the local and denominational levels and has participated in the Moderator’s Leadership Mentoring Retreat. She has previously served on the PAD conference planning team as well as chairing the MCC Governing Board Nominating Committee. Cathy enjoys singing, small group conversations around the meal table, playing the guitar and traveling. She and her partner live in Northern Virginia.
Rev. Brendan Y. Boone
The Rev. Brendan Y. Boone, a native of Southeast Virginia, was raised as a Baptist in the African-American tradition and was nurtured in a church that valued and emphasized the importance of living in community with all people, from all walks of life. Having that principle instilled in his being from childhood has fueled his passion for tearing down the walls of the institutional church and building up communities of faith that embody the message and ministry of The Christ. A graduate of Hampton Institute and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., Boone has been involved in Metropolitan Community Churches for over twenty-five years, serving in several leadership capacities on the local, regional and denominational levels. He currently serves as the Senior Pastor of St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church in Raleigh, a community of faith committed to ministering to and being in ministry with persons from all walks of like, regardless of age, race, gender, gender identity, physical ability, spirituality or religious tradition, as well as the Network Team Leader for MCC’s in North and South Carolina. Rev. Boone and his wife, Sandra, currently reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Rev. Y’Lon Dozier
Rev. Y’Lon Dozier and her children have had a relationship with UFMCC in general and MCCDC in particular since the 1980’s. She comes from a diverse, inter-faith, inter-denominational, inter-racial background which has served her well as an Intentional Interim Specialist Pastor (working within and across denominational lines) for the last 12 years. She has earned a BS in Organizational Effectiveness and Behavior from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, MD, a Masters of Divinity with a duel concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling/Social Justice Ministry and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Ecumenism and Reconciliation from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Prior to her serving as a Pastor, she was a member of the Resident Chaplain staff at Georgetown University Hospital. There, her specialty was in the area of death, dying, loss and bereavement with children and families. She served MCC Baltimore and is currently serving New Light MCC as an Intentional Interim Pastor.
Robert Ferguson is a local leader and activist both in the community and within Life Journey Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Currently Robert serves as a deacon, volunteer minister and bible study leader for the church while pursuing a Bachelors degree in Religious Studies at Martin University. This is Roberts third turn as logistics coordinator for the PAD conference and he considers it an honor and a privilege to serve and support this vitally important movement within the MCC denomination.
Shay Finlayson and Sumer Grissom
Shay Finlayson is originally from Nassau Bahamas. She has been actively attending First MCC Atlanta since 2006. She is a part of the Praise Team Connectors and an Usher in the church. She loves travelling and basketball. Being a first timer to the PAD conference, Shay feels honored to participate in something so special. She is happily married to her partner Sumer Grissom and they have been together for almost 15 years. Putting God first in everything she does, she always encourages others with her positive and encouraging words.
Sumer Grissom is a native of Florida and relocated to Atlanta, GA in 2006 with her partner of 15 years, Shay Finlayson. Since relocating, she continues to pursue her career as a plus size model and works full time in Debt Resolution. She enjoys teaching, entertaining and bringing people together. She actively attends First Metropolitan Community Church in Atlanta and is a part of the Worship Participation Team, Praise Team Connectors and Food Bank. It is important for Sumer to continue to be an example in the African-American community by living a life that is open and accepting of all people just as they are, with hopes that others in our community can learn by her example.
Linda is a member of New Life MCC of Hampton Roads in Norfolk, VA where she serves as a Lay Chaplain, member of the Interim Ministry Advisory Team and team lead for Stewardship & Military Support. She was forever changed on her 1st mission trip to the Dominican Republic (DR) which led her to start a “Prayer Penny” Ministry to feed hungry children. She continues to make mission trips to the DR to support two schools plus an orphanage and serves as a Board Member for Kids International, Inc.
Rev. Mykal Slack
The Rev. Mykal O’Neal Slack is the founder and lead organizer of 4LYFE, an ecumenical, consultative ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches that provides pastoral and educational resources to address sexuality and gender identity issues in faith communities across a broad spectrum, inviting every to Live Your Faith Everyday. Rev. Mykal also serves as a Worship Leader and Community Life Coordinator for First Parish in Cambridge, a multiracial, multicultural, justice-making community of the Unitarian Universalist faith. To support the spiritual needs of Trans and gender non-conforming communities, he works both to build spiritual outreach for the Trans People of Color Coalition (www.transpoc.org) and to connect communities of faith who are committed to being safe spaces for people of all genders for TransFaith (www.transfaithonline.org). He is also a member of MCC’s Trans*/GNC Advisory Council. Rev. Mykal currently blogs on mendingdrybones.com and is a newly featured blogger on Believe Out Loud, an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Before ministry called him, Mykal spent several years in public service, clerking for the Honorable Marylin D. Go at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and serving as an attorney for the ACLU LGBT & HIV/AIDS Rights Projects.
A native of Houston, Texas, Cassandra White is renown locally, nationally and internationally for such vehicles as her performance as Liza Hughes in the Broadway Production of Civil War, performed at the St. James Theatre in New York and prior at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, and on. A featured singer with the Harlem Gospel Singers, Ms. White has performed in France, Germany and
Switzerland in the show The Best of Gospel – Rock My Soul. She can be seen and heard on the DVD and CD of the same title.
Cassandra began her vocal career singing in the church at the age of five. A graduate of High School of the Performing and Visual Arts and Texas Southern University, Ms. White is a soprano beyond parallel.
After studying singing with renowned Soprano Bernadine Oliphant, Cassandra went on to become a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio Apprentice Program. After a couple of years teaching High School, she went on to continued her studies toward a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. She is currently teaching Elementary Music, promoting her 1st debut solo CD, Remembering the Spirituals and her first live solo CD. Twisted Torch: A Celebration of Life! She continues to perform at home and abroad.
Cassandra has offered her talent to support many worthy causes for which she advocates. She credits God, her family, friends and mentors for her continued success. To view Cassandra singing Picture Yourself, a song she composed for Twisted Torch: A Celebration of Life!
Shannon is originally from Detroit, Michigan. She has lived in Northern Virginia, Arizona, and is currently living in Maryland. She grew up in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. During the ten years she lived in Northern Virginia, she was an active member of MCC NOVA as a lay delegate and worship leader. She was also a district conference planner, focusing on registration. During her time in MCC she was an active participant in the PAD conferences.
She currently serves as the Confidential Executive Assistant to Rev. Elder Darlene Garner.
Nicole McKinzie has a spiritually diverse background that has allowed her to serve many different roles in various denominations throughout the years. Currently a resident of Las Vegas, she actively pursues continuous education in the areas of spirituality, religion, and technology, while also celebrating life with her wife, Katharine.