History of MCC & Open Table MCC
The Beginnings of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
In 1968, a year before New York’s Stonewall Riots, a series of most unlikely events in Southern California resulted in the birth of the world’s first church group with a primary, positive ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender persons.
Those events, a failed relationship, an attempted suicide, a reconnection with God, an unexpected prophecy, and the birth of a dream led to MCC’s first worship service: a gathering of 12 people in Rev. Troy Perry’s living room in Huntington Park, California on October 6, 1968.
That first worship service in a Los Angeles suburb in 1968 launched the international movement of Metropolitan Community Churches, which today has grown to 43,000 members and adherents in almost 300 congregations in 22 countries. During the past 44 years, MCC’s prophetic witness has forever changed the face of Christianity and helped to fuel the international struggle for LGBT rights and equality. (Read more about MCC’s history)
MCC in the Philippines
In 1991, a group of Filipino gay men wrote to the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) asking – “how can we be MCC?” Fr Richard Mickley, an MCC Pastor in New Zealand, upon knowing of the request, did not wait and went to the Philippines by his own efforts and helped the group to organize themselves to be MCC, and to begin the proclamation of God’s boundless and unconditional love to the Philippine Islands. Shortly after the denominational leadership granted formal recognition and affiliation to MCC Philippines.
The first Church was named and registered as MCC Philippines (MCCPH). The Church was, however, more popularly known as MCC-Manila as worship services and other Church activities were held in the City of Manila.
Rev. Edgar Mendoza was named the first Filipino Clergy-Pastor of MCC in the Philippines. The first MCC Church in the Philippines has now relocated to the City of Makati has renamed itself as Good Samarian MCC. The Church is more popularly known as MCC Makati. Pastor Edgardo “Egay” Constantino currently heads MCC-Makati in their Worship Center located in Palanan Street, Brgy Palanan, Makati City.
First Pride March in the Philippines and in all of Asia – 1994
It was in June of 1994 when MCC Manila together with Pro-Gay Philippines held its first pride march in the Philippines in Quezon City. It was also the first ever pride march in all of Asia.
Establishment of Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCCQC)
The MCCPH leadership, under then Interim Pastoral Leader Regen Luna, decided to expand MCC in the Philippines and gave authorization for Bro. Ceejay Agbayani to be a Special Envoy to the MCCPH-Quezon City Mission. Bro. Ceejay Agbayani, together with other MCCers like Bros. Marlon Felipe and John Paul Andaquig, established regular Bible study and support group sessions in Quezon City. The first of such fellowships was held on 13 September 2006. Attendees were from Quezon City and the neighboring cities of Marikina, Caloocan and Manila.
On 26 December 2006, the first public worship service of MCCPH-Quezon City Chapter was held in the residence of Bro. Noel Magdririla in East Fairview. The first MCCPH-Quezon City retreat was also held in Bro. Noel’s residence on February 2007.
On 15 September 2007, MCCPH-Quezon City (MCCPH-QC) Chapter celebrated its 1st Founding Anniversary. The garden, living room and dining area of Bro. Noel’s residence were turned into a mini-chapel. Officers of MCC Philippines were in attendance as well as the Union Theological Seminary Choir and faculty members Prof. Debbie Reyes and Prof. Ferdie Anno. The service was co-celebrated by Pastor Regen Luna of MCCPH, Fr. Richard Mickley of the Order of Saint Aelred, and Fr. Vincent Taguinod of the Philippine Independent Catholic Church. The logo of MCCPH-QC Chapter was also launched in the event.
MCC Quezon City’s Affiliation
In a congregational meeting on April 2008, the members of MCCPH-Quezon City decided to file a request for affiliation to UFMCC through Rev. Elder Ken Martin, UFMCC Elder in Region I. Rev. Elder Ken Martin traveled to the Philippines to grant full affiliation to MCCPH-Quezon City on 14 September 2008 rendering the Church fully autonomous and independent. The certificate of affiliation was signed by Rev. Elder Ken Martin in the presence of the MCCPH-Quezon City officers Bros. Marlon Felipe, Mark Adlawan, John Paul Andaquig and Sherman Tam. Bro. Ceejay Agbayani was installed as the Church’s first pastor. Having been granted full affiliation, the Church has since been called Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCCQC).
MCC Quezon City’s First Church Home: Mindanao Avenue Chapel
In November 2008, MCCQC found its first Church home along Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City through Bro. Oliver Andaya. Facing the challenge of raising funds to rent and furnish the MCCQC church home in Mindanao Avenue, MCCQC members pooled their resources together and worked with each other to produce the necessary funds for rent and furnishings. By the Grace and Faithfulness of God, the MCCQC Chapel in Mindanao Avenue was launched as MCCQC’s first church home and was the space for worship, prayer and fellowship. In the same month, MCCQC was registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-profit religious association. After a sending a request for subsidy, the MCC Asian Pacific Initiative (API) granted a one-year subsidy for the chapel rental of MCCQC.
MCC Quezon City’s Period of Transition (2012)
In July 2012, following two tumultuous MCCQC congregational meetings, a letter of concern and complaint against then Rev Ceejay Agbayani was filed by MCCQC members in the office of Rev. Elder Ken Martin. After a period of review and consultation with UFMCC legal experts, Rev. Elder Ken Martin traveled to the Philippines in September 2012 to address the letter of concern and complaint filed against then Rev Agbayani. Rev. Elder Ken Martin, following due process as mandated by the UFMCC Bylaws and SOPs, sought Rev Agbayani’s presence so he may answer the allegations filed against him. Rev Agbayani insistently delayed and refused Rev. Elder Martin’s invitations. This noncompliance led to Rev Agbayani’s de facto resignation of his ordination credentials and clergy license from UFMCC and subsequent removal as Administrative Pastor of MCC Quezon City.
MCC Makati, together with the parish extensions MCC Metro Baguio, MCC Marikina and MCC Olongapo, supported and honored the decision of Rev. Elder Ken Martin in their joint statement released the week following Bro. Ceejay Agbayani’s removal
Bro. Ceejay formally filed an appeal to the Moderator of the UFMCC, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson. Rev. Elder Wilson convened a review panel in the Council of Elders, with the exception of Rev. Elder Ken Martin, to deliberate on the appeal. On 12 October 2012, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson announced, in a letter, that the Council of Elders voted unanimously to uphold the decision of Rev. Elder Ken Martin and confirm the de-facto resignation of Bro. Ceejay pursuant to the letter of concern and complaint and the prevailing by-laws and policies of UFMCC. (Read more)
Following Rev. Elder Ken Martin’s decision, MCCQC began its period of transition and renewal; rebuilding the Church by rooting itself once more on no less than Jesus Christ and centering itself and all its programs and structures to the gospel of our Lord and to sound organizational protocols and policies aimed at stabilizing and growing the Church. On 18th September 2012, a set of interim MCCQC LCAB officers was appointed by Rev. Elder Ken Martin, which were Ondyk Uy, Gavin Lua, Doms Ramos and Yhel Briguela. The revitalised LCAB then assigned Bro. Joseph San Jose and Sis. Kakay Pamaran as worship coordinators in MCCQC’s period of transition and renewal.
MCCQC was prodded to leave their first Church home in Mindanao Avenue. During this period, MCC Makati lovingly and generously shared their Worship Center for MCCQC’s regular Sunday service. This fellowship, love and generosity only served to deepen the relationship between MCC Makati and MCCQC. One MCC Philippines, the fellowship of all Metropolitan Community Churches in the Philippines, was launched during the Manila Pride Parade on 8 December 2012. The launching of One MCC Philippines marks a renewed and revitalized communion of MCC in the Philippines in carrying out MCC’s core values of inclusion, community, spiritual transformation, and social action in accordance to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
MCC Quezon City becomes a Mobile Church
On November 2012, the MCCQC congregation felt it was the right time to go back to Quezon City. The MCCQC Mobile Church was launched on 18 November 2012 with its first worship service back in Quezon City. The Mobile Church was launched to enable the Church to reach communities in Quezon City following Christ’s mission of going out to the communities to share the inclusive love of God. Bro. Red Macalalad Jr who was then the volunteer Communications and Campaigns expert, was instrumental in launching the MCCQC Mobile Church and in preparing the first worship service venue in Barangay Kamuning in Quezon City.
Second Church Home: The MCC Quezon City Aurora Center
The start of 2013 was a milestone for MCCQC. In its period of transition, renewal and rebuilding, MCCQC has come home to the MCCQC Aurora chapel, also known as the Upper Yellow Room. On 10 February 2013, MCCQC’s Aurora chapel opened its doors to MCCQC members and friends with the Church’s first worship service in its new home at the 2/F Aurora Building, 836 Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, Quezon City.
MCC Quezon City installs New Pastoral Leader
Upon the recommendation of the MCC Quezon City Local Church Administrative Body and the approval of the Asian Pacific Initiative (API), Pastor Kakay Pamaran was appointed Interim Pastoral Leader (IPL) of MCCQC on March 2013. Pastor Kakay is the first lesbian pastoral leader of the Metropolitan Community Churches in the Philippines. Rev. Stedney Phillips, chair of the API, installed Pastor Kakay on 16th June 2013. Pastor Kakay led the MCC Quezon City Local Church Administrative Board and the MCC Quezon City Congregation as Pastoral leader and Moderator, and Church Ministerial Team as its chair. Pastor Kakay installed the first set of Church Ministry Leaders into the Church Ministerial Team on June 2013.
Starting 2013 in its new Cubao home, MCCQC as a Church organization started to create a community and a culture of integrity and excellence in all its undertakings and engagements. Bro Red Macalalad was particularly instrumental in the many projects, campaigns and engagements of MCCQC during his tenure as Community Relations & Social Action Officer (CRSAT) as well as an appointed Ministry Leader for Christian Education.
MCCQC Parish Extensions
In 22 February 2009, MCC Metro Baguio was established as the first MCCQC parish extension. On the same date, MCC Metro Baguio held its first public worship with Pastor Myke Sotero. While Pastoring the Church, Ptr Myke goes to Ecumenical Theological Seminary for his Theological Education and formation. During the time of MCCQC Transition MCC Metro Baguio supported MCCQC and upon stability in 2013, honored its parish extension relationship with MCCQC.
In September of 2015 upon the visitation of MCC Philippines new supervising Elder Rev Darlene Garner, MCC Metro Baguio was granted its full affiliation to UFMCC By Rev Elder Darlene who is the Director of the Office of Immerging Ministries. At the same time, after Ptr Myke Sotero has completed his seminary education and other MCC clergy requirements, he was ordained by Rev Elder Darlene on the same September of 2015, and was fully licensed and credentialed as a clergy person in MCC.
In June 2010, MCC Marikina became the second parish extension of MCCQC. Led by Bro. Jason Masaganda, during the time of MCCQC transition, as early as July 2012, Bro. Jason requested to from Bro. Ceejay to make MCC Marikina independent from MCCQC, however Rev Elder Ken Martin and Rev Stedney Phillips reiterated that MCC Marikina is a parish extension of MCCQC. Upon MCCQC’s stability in 2013, after the transition, MCCQC spoke to MCC Marikina through Bro. Jason Masaganda if it wish to continue its relationship as parish extension. MCC Marikina expressed that it has a pending request of autonomy from MCCQC through the office of Immerging Ministries under Rev Elder Darlene Garner. MCC Marikina during the Affiliation and Ordination Event of MCC etro Baguio in September of 2015, received its authorization from Rev Elder Darlene Garner as an Immerging Church Community. MCC Marikina currently holds Bible study, Worship and support group sessions in Bro. Jason’s Marikina residence.
As aforementioned, Rev Myke Sotero has completed his Master of Divinity in Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) in Baguio, in March of 2015. Fr Noel Bordador, an Episcopalian Priest, was instrumental in the completion of Ptr Myke’s theological education. He was then ordained and licensed as a clergy person in MCC by Rev Elder Darlene Garner in September 2015. In 2016, Rev Myke has been appointed by Rev Elder Darlene as the Network Leader for the MCC Philippines Network.
Pastor Kakay of MCCQC is the recipient of the Ken Martin and Tom Cole Scholarship under MCC’s Asian Pacific Initiative, which allowed her to enter seminary and get her Master of Divinity education and formation. Pastor Kakay Pamaran has competed her Master of Divinity from Union Theological (UTS) Seminary in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Pastor Joseph San Jose also from MCCQC, using his own savings to start his seminary education in June 2014, also entered Union Theological Seminary (UTS) and is currently finishing his Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. His seminary education and formation was and is currently financed by the generosity of individual donors and sponsors, from friends, from one time scholarship grants from UTS and from a few Churches and Church leaders.
A Period of Decline and Another Transition
As of the last 2nd quarter of 15, a decline in attendance and membership started to crept in and was particularly noticeable towards December of the same year. By the election of the new LCAB officers in February 2016, the decline was already obvious. Looking back and conversations among the 2016 – 2017 leaders, it has been acknowledged that there were organizational setbacks the previous years due to lack of organizational programming and an unstable leadership, that while it was sustainable at a time and provided excellent campaigns, engagement and projects, it was in the long-run led to organizational and individual exhaustion and demoralization.
In July of 2016, Pastor Kakay Pamaran in relation to the upcoming internship of Bro Joseph San Jose, installed Pastor Joseph as Pastoral Intern in MCCQC. She remained to have oversight of the Church from 2016 to May 2017 where Pastor Kakay Pamaran resigned from her role as Pastoral Leader of MCCQC and gave the recommendation for Bro Joseph to take full administrative and Pastoral leadership of Church community. August 2016, Pastor Joseph did a Church workshop to come up with the core principles of how MCCQC understands itself as a Church. Marco Puzon, a member of the Church did the synthesis of the raw date of the workshop and from it, MCCQC’s new and clearer mission was discerned to be the following:
- To maintain a safe space for all
- To Proclaim God’s radically inclusive love for all
- To participate in God’s greater work of justice and peace in the world
Still the Church went into survival mode in its attendance and membership 2016. The demoralization and decline was irreversible. By February 2017, in its congregational meeting during that time, finally declared an official state of transition and suspended the ByLaws due to non-functionality of the Church organizational structure as well as the decline in people and morale for the past a year and a half. At the same time, the Church produced its The Church went into an intentional period of prayerful discernment and reflection. Pastor Joseph invited Pastor Pauline Ong from Free Community Church, Singapore, to conduct MCCQC’s annual retreat for that year of 2017 and to talk about “Loving with our whole heart”. After the retreat, the mood and morale of the remaining people in Church slowly shifted for the better. Rev Miak Siew, visited the Philippines last week of May of 2017 and further encouraged the MCCQC leaders and its core members in its continuing ministry.
Death of the MCCQC Identity
In 2nd congregational meeting for the year, on August 26 & 27, 2017, the Congregation came up with the decision to close the MCCQC identity. Reasons where from the practicality of not being restricted only within Quezon City for its Church facility to the acknowledgement that the MCCQC, with all its historical baggage and continuing association with its former pastor prior to 2012, is actually weighing down on its current members and leaders. The congregation unanimously decided to forego the MCCQC identity and to move out of the Yellow Upper Room Chapel in Aurora Cubao. On its 11 year anniversary celebration, the congregation officially closed and ritually “buried” the MCCQC Identity; remembering and cherishing all its memories of celebrations and struggles, lessons learned and mistakes committed, and the many tears, laughters and stories heard in the Church community that was known as Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City.
Open Table Metropolitan Community Church
A group of people who despite of the struggles and challenges of what it means and how to actually organize a Church community was not deterred by all that they have experienced and witnessed. Their determination, commitment and passion to minister to fellow Filipinos as a progressive Church of Jesus Christ was all the more embolden. Guided by the Holy Spirit through prayer and fellowship as well as their missional document and statement of faith, this group of people discerned together its Church Identity. Out of 40+ given identities, this group of people was given birth and its new Church identity is “Open Table Metropolitan Community Church (Open Table MCC)”.
Open Table MCC was officially launched on October 1st 2017 in its temporary worship space in the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). It honors its original founding year of 2006 as well as its rich MCCQC heritage and history, however it is intentional to start anew and chart its own destiny, history, ministry, community life, and its participation and engagement to the work of Justice in the world, separate and distinct from the MCCQC identity.
Open table MCC is a progressive and Queer affirming Church for all people.
Open Table MCC will seek and strengthen a new generation of progressive Christians through spiritual and community formation, worship and ministry. It shall further develop, sustain and nurture current and future pastoral and lay leaders. Open Table MCC is and will always be a safe spiritual, communal and physical space of faith, community and friendship. It is a Church for ALL PEOPLE regardless of social class, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity, Christian background and sexual orientation. As a community of faith, Open Table continues the commitment to “be MCC”.
Open Table MCC, opens itself to all who wish to come. Open Table MCC opens itself to go out to the world to serve and prophetically proclaim. Open Table MCC is in the work of opening and overturning all other tables for those who need and hunger for God the most.
Last updated on September 28, 2017.