Wichita Falls church recruits pastor from San Francisco

By David Webb

After leading 500-member church on West Coast, Brown set to be installed as leader of 55-member MCC in North Texas



The Rev. Lea Brown said she expects to miss the fog and the ocean after living in San Francisco for 18 years.

The Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community church will install the Rev. Lea Brown as its new pastor on Sunday.

Brown formerly served as a volunteer on the clergy staff of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco before accepting the position with the 55-member, 19-year-old Texas church. She led worship services, retreats and programs for the 500-member California church before moving to Texas.

Brown said although she misses the ocean and the fog after living 18 years in San Francisco, she is excited by the challenge of leading the church in Wichita Falls.

“I just adore the congregation,” Brown said. “I so admire the courage of these people to be who they are.”

Brown said Wichita Falls has “tons and tons” of GLBT residents who are not affiliated with the church that she hopes to attract to services.

“I think this church is ready to take off,” Brown said. “It’s really exciting. There’s lots of good energy.”

The church is meeting at Faith Lutheran Church until another permanent worship service is acquired.

Brown said the church is raising money to build a new church. An electrical fire destroyed the previous church in June, one month before the final payment was made on the mortgage, she said.

A contributor offered to match up to $10,000 toward the construction of a new church if it could raise that much money during January. The church has already raised more than $10,000, and there is another Sunday service left in the month, she said.

“The faith, commitment and courage of this congregation is amazing,” Brown said. “We know that God has called us to do great things for this community, and we are so excited about fulfilling that calling in the days ahead,”
Brown said the congregation has been encouraged by the generosity of the Lutheran church and kindness from several other local churches since the fire last summer.

“They have been very supportive,” Brown said.

Brown grew up in Okalahoma and attended Oklahoma Baptist University. She is an Army veteran, having served as chaplain candidate as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves in the 1980s.

She was program director for 13 years for the Spectrum: Center for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Concerns and the Bar Association of San Francisco, according to a church statement. She was acting executive director of the Metropolitan Community Foundation, which provides programs for people living in poverty in San Francisco.

Installation services for Brown will be held at Faith Lutheran Church, 1437 Southwest Parkway, Wichita Falls, Texas. Call 940-322-4100 for more information.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of January 27, 2006.

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