Council of Elders
Points of Connection
All are warmly invited to join the MCC Council of Elders on Facebook and Zoom.
Once a month on the 3rd Tuesday @ 10pm GMT, the Elders host a “Tea Time” via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 248 584 328
- Is your congregation in need of an Elder’s presence at an upcoming church anniversary or pastor’s anniversary?
- Does your regular preacher need a break from the pulpit?
- Is your community in need of a special teaching series on queering the Bible, conflict resolution or inclusive language?
The MCC Elders are delighted to serve in these and other capacities.
Contact coe@MCCchurch.net to connect.
Are you in need of care? MCC’s Elders are available to respond to care needs and give prayer support.
Elders may offer care via telephone chat, email, text or personal visitation (depending on location).
Praise God for the provision of care for one another.
“The Council of Elders of the UFMCC is that body authorized by the General Conference to serve in a pastoral role and direct the spiritual life of the Fellowship.”
-MCC Bylaws, Article V.E.3, lines 445-446
How are Elders in MCC authorized?
The first MCC Board of Elders was the board of directors of MCC Los Angeles and was all volunteers. After the first General Conference, Elders were elected by the lay and clergy delegates, with an appointment process for vacancies in between conferences. Eventually, some Elders were full-time on staff. They served on a General Council, which was the fiduciary body of MCC at that time. About 10 years ago, we created a system where Elders were nominated and elected by Regions. Then, in 2010, we simplified our structure, creating an elected Governing Board and a Council of Elders. Elders are no longer elected but are appointed by the Moderator, approved by the Governing Board, and affirmed by the General Conference. (Article V.E.3 of the MCC By-laws)
Who can be an Elder?
An Elder can be any member in good standing of MCC, who meets the qualifications, and is appointed by the Moderator. Those qualifications are:
“Elders must be those individuals of obvious spiritual quality and leadership who are mature, have sound judgment, have a proven record of accomplishment as lay or clergy members within the Fellowship, and have successful experience in envisioning and strategic planning for the future. Elders must be excellent communicators, skilled motivators and teachers, self-motivated and devoted to continuous learning. Further, Elders must be capable of understanding and working within sound fiscal guidelines, be sensitive to cultural differences, and be able and willing to embrace diversity. It is desirable that the Council of Elders reflect the diversity of the Fellowship.” Article V.E.3.a of the MCC By-laws
What do Elders do today in MCC?
“The primary responsibility of Elders shall be to give pastoral leadership and care to enable the Fellowship in our spiritual journey. The Elders shall exercise spiritual and pastoral authority to build a shared vision for the UFMCC, prepare UFMCC for the future, and support UFMCC’s strategic direction. The Elders serve as official representatives of the Fellowship in the areas of public and community relations; provide oversight of and support to congregations; consult with churches on issues related to church development; and fulfill other ecclesial and ceremonial duties.” Article V.E.3.b. of the MCC By-laws
Elders have two primary roles:
1) As members of the Council of Elders, Elders have an ecclesial role: they oversee the affiliation of churches; and they have authority over the Clergy Manual and protocols for authorizing MCC clergy. Elders then are key to setting standards and boundaries, based on the by-laws, by which churches and clergy are represented at General Conference. Elders also oversee the appointment of Network leaders and relate to churches through the Network system.
2) Elders have a spiritual/pastoral and teaching role in the Church: Elders are called upon to develop leadership programs, teach at summits, preach at MCC conferences, church anniversaries, and support MCC in terms of increasing church strength and health; and in strategically supporting new church starts and emerging ministries. They are looked to as spiritual and pastoral leaders by the pastors, lay leaders and people of MCC. They may also be asked by the Moderator to represent and to speak for the denomination publicly.
What do Elders “mean” to the people of MCC?
Elders are gifted individuals who are highly esteemed, respected and who are looked to for wisdom, for embodying and articulating with passion the values, vision, mission, and faith that MCC holds dear. We expect Elders to challenge us, to offer spiritual, pastoral and organizational leadership. They are also a symbol of the unity-in-diversity of MCC. As the Council of Elders, they form a kind of “collegium” of support for the Moderator. Elders also embody the continuity of the founding narrative of MCC connecting generations of servant leadership.
Council of Elders Bios
Rev. Alejandro Escoto
Rev. Alejandro Escoto is Associate Pastor at Founders Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles (FMCC) and serves as the Pastor of La Iglesia Fundadora de la Comunidad Metropolitana Los Angeles (ICMF). He is a charismatic and passionate individual who brings a cultural vibrancy to the spiritual experience for all-people. He believes that no one should feel shame or guilt for worshipping God in their own language. Consequently, he has consulted with Hispanic/Latinx leaders who are called to lead a Spanish speaking service at their MCC church or open an ICM church within their community.
His passion and commitment on issues related to the Hispanic/Latinx Community have earned him various honors including the Rev. Dr. Jeanne Audrey Award from the Claremont School of Theology for his outstanding service and leadership in the LGBTQ+ communities as well as the AIDS Health Care Foundation Pedro Zamora Award, for being a positive role model and living life “out, proud, and loud” as an openly gay, HIV+ Christian Latinx person.
Velma Garcia is a long time member of UpRising A Church Without Walls – (formerly known as MCC Austin), Austin TX USA. Velma currently lives in Manor, TX USA with her partner of 5 years, Darlene S. Hernandez and their little dog, Miss E. Together they raised two children, and have the great pleasure of being “Mamies” to our 6 grandchildren.
Velma currently serves as the MCC Network Facilitator for the Texas-New Mexico Network. the South Gulf Coast Network, the Southern Hospitality (SoHo) Network, and the All Florida Network. Velma is a Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship (L.E.A.D.) 2 graduate and serves as a faculty member for L.E.A.D.
Velma loves bike riding, canoeing, snorkeling, American college football, and has a passion for prayer and spreading the “Good News” of God’s all-inclusive love to and for all of God’s creation!
Rev. Goudy has pastored Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem, PA, USA) since 1999. Goudy’s greatest honors include journeying with God’s people in worship, justice advocacy, Bible Study, centering prayer, fellowship and outreach. Goudy is a religion columnist for the Morning Call newspaper and is president of the Bethlehem Interfaith Group. Raised in a progressive Roman Catholic household, Goudy graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a B.A. in History & Theology. After receiving an M.Div. degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School, Goudy became captivated by the vision of Metropolitan Community Churches. Goudy prefers to be called by their last name and is currently transitioning to more fully embrace God’s non-binary calling on their life. Goudy is married to Carol Stevens, RN, FCN and they enjoy cooking, movies and being spiritual nerds.
Rev. Karl Hand
Rev. Karl Hand is the founding pastor of Crave Church, an MCC congregation in Gadigal country (Sydney, Australia), and was a part of the team who planted this church in 2008.
His family arrived in these lands called Australia from native England when he was a small child in 1982. Hand was raised in the Pentecostal tradition, where he still feel most at home. As a teenager, he discovered a passion for Revival Theology.
He was further enriched by the diversity of traditions that MCC shares, especially Liberation theology, and ancient and medieval spiritual traditions of contemplative prayer. Karl has a Master’s degree in philosophy, and a PhD in New Testament studies, and has published some theological research about the historical Jesus and the Gospel of Luke.
Rev. Miller Jen Hoffman
White, queer, and genderqueer, Rev. Miller Jen Hoffman was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches in New York City.
Hoffman’s thesis, “Every Woman Who Will Make Herself Male: Genderqueer Expression in the Early Church” was deposited in the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary in 2004 and earned the Roswell Dwight Hitchcock Prize in Church History.
He has worked for LGBT civil rights with Lambda Legal Defense; for anti-violence justice and meditative practice at the Brooklyn-based Center for Anti-Violence Education; as a counselor and advocate for domestic violence and rape survivors with organizations in New York and Pennsylvania; as a mentor to local queer and trans youth in NY and PA; and as the pastor of MCC congregations in Binghamton, NY, and Boyds, MD.
Hoffman is currently supporting sexual assault centers state-wide at the Pennsylvania Coalition against Rape. Mind-body-spirit connections to social justice and the connectedness of physical, emotional, and spiritual violence deeply influence his thinking and ministry, and his writing explores the places where personal action meets and impacts social change.
Rev. Carolyn J. Mobley-Bowie
Rev. Carolyn J. Mobley-Bowie was ordained as a Christian Minister in 1995 by the General Conference of Metropolitan Community Churches, held that year in Atlanta, Georgia.
After fifteen years of service as the Associate Pastor at Resurrection MCC in Houston, Texas, she returned briefly to her native Florida, where God first anointed her as a singer, whose voice and love for God has often inspired others to respond to the love of God.
She has served our denomination and movement as staff, supporting the Clergy Connection Program, as an Interim Pastor in Tulsa, OK, in Richmond, VA, and in Waterford, MI.
While living in Richmond, Rev. Carolyn and her life-partner, Rev. Adrain were legally married, twenty plus years after their original Service of Holy Union. Presently she serves as Co-Leader of the North Central US Network of MCC.
Rev. Maxwell Reay
Rev. Maxwell Reay has been a member of MCC since 1989. He was the founding co-pastor of Living Springs MCC, Bath and was licensed as Clergy in 1993. He also served as a volunteer with MCC North London and MCC Edinburgh.
Since 2007 Maxwell has worked as Healthcare Chaplain for the Scottish National Health Service in Edinburgh. For 12 years his work focused on adult mental health care but a year ago Maxwell became the Chaplain for the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh.
Maxwell co-ordinates “Our Tribe” which is the LGBTQI+ ministry at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. This joint ministry with The United Reformed Church and MCC was established in 2010.
He has served on the MCC Trans and Gender Non-conforming Advisory Council and on the Moderator’s Theologies Team of MCC. He is currently the MCC Vocational Coordinator for Europe.
Maxwell is a gender queer trans man who shares his life with his husband Lewis, an extended family of choice and their dog Ruby.
Rev. Troy Treash
Rev. Troy Treash has served for seven years as the Senior Pastor of Resurrection MCC in Houston, TX. For ten years prior to Resurrection as the Executive Director of Reconciling Ministries Network.
Troy flew nationally from home base in Chicago, IL to advocate for equality for LGBTQ persons church by church, network by network, and conference by conference within the United Methodist Church.
His ordained ministry began in 1991 in the trenches of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Houston, TX as the Director of the Bering Support Network. He shares life with Walter, his husband of 22 years; Michael, their adopted son; one beagle, Tip; and one cat, Spot.
He enjoys cooking, reading, weeding, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, oceans, and aspen trees. He struggles at times with teenager parenting, marathon zoom meetings, defeating white supremacy, and balancing life. He relies upon God’s grace.