Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



MCC's Rachelle Brown works on LGBT religious issues
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 8215 times since Wed Jan 1, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In high school, Rachelle Brown was, admittedly, "a bit of a religious fanatic."

But when she came out as a lesbian, she went away from religion and faith. In fact, her "relationship with religion went farther than south," she said, laughing.

It took her about 12 years to find her way back to religion, and that she did.

She is now the provisional pastor of achurch4me, ordained with Metropolitan Community Churches ( MCC ).

Brown, a Chicago resident, previously was the interim pastor at MCC Illiana in Northwest Indiana during 2008-2011. She has master's degrees in both divinity and communications and is now working toward a Ph.D. in theology, ethics and human sciences at Chicago Theological Seminary.

"I enjoy preaching and enjoy being with people, but I really feel led to teach," she said. "I particularly want to give hope to young people who are trying to live a life of faith."

Brown is a member of American Academy of Religion and a board member for Other Sheep, an organization reaching out to sexual minorities throughout the world.

"Like many who are LGBTQ and just walk away from the church, that's what I did in my late 20s," she said.

But in August 2001, she walked into an MCC church in St. Louis, attending admittedly, "as a scoffer."

She was immediately hooked. "When I walked in, I thought, this is amazing," she said.

Two years later, she was in seminary, doing volunteer ministry.

In 2003, Brown started doing chaplaincy work with perpetrators of domestic violence.

She served in a United Church of Christ ( UCC ) church for a year, and then switched to MCC.

"I kept thinking, 'This is crazy, being an out lesbian, trying to navigate the world of religion and faith.' That was because, I felt, in so many places that I turned, especially in chaplaincy, it was like I had to keep coming out of the closet over and over again.

"But with MCC, it has allowed me to just be myself, not have to name which team I am on at any given time. I could just live a life of spirituality, a life of faith, and not feel like I had to apologize to one group or the other in order to be a person of faith and also be an open lesbian.

"That has fueled me in so many ways."

Truly, Brown has walked an interesting past decade—and she agrees.

"It has been a non-traditional path," she said.

Brown was working at a marketing agency years ago and then one day told her boss that she was going into the seminary, into ministry—and gave her resignation.

His reply, with a smile: "Is it so bad that you have to go work for God?"

Brown laughed, too, and told him, "I'm going to take my chances. It's not for the paycheck, but [rather], for the peace of mind at the end of the day.

"That still fuels me today."

Brown's achurch4me, part of the Metropolitan Community Churches, is located in Rogers Park, its home since 2012, after a previous location in Boystown.

About 95 percent of its 50 members are LGBTQ, Brown said.

"When I talk to open and affirming churches, they say that they welcome gay people. I say that's fabulous—and we're gay and we welcome straight people. That's the big difference," she said, laughing.

About 75 percent of its members are male, with a mix of white ( about 60 percent ), African-American and Hispanic. The female members are are predominantly African-American and Latina. Members come from Hyde Park on the South Side to the northern suburb of Skokie.

"It's a real interesting mix of people who are involved [with the church, driven by] their passion for this real openness and this real spiritual path mission," she said. "What we're asking people to believe is faith and spirituality. They're doing it and we're doing things in a radical way."

Her church supports World AIDS Day and Transgender Day of Remembrance, among other LGBT-driven events. "There is the queer holy day calendar," she said. "It's just who we are, what we're about."

Brown spoke at the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality in October.

"That was such an incredible moment," she said, "and marriage equality is huge.

"What marriage equality does is, it begins to level the field socially."

Brown said that she will take a portion of the fees for weddings at her church, starting in June, and put it into marriage equality support for other states—"because we fought long and hard, and know what it's like, and want to help the next state," she said.

Michael McBride, who has participated in Windy City Gay Idol, is the church's music minister.

This article shared 8215 times since Wed Jan 1, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Young LGBQ adults experience more psychological distress than older LGBQ people
-- From a Williams Institute press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults are physically healthier but have worse psychological distress than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health employees win union election
More than 470 employees at Chicago-based Howard Brown Health clinics, Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant retail locations announced Aug. 10 that they have won their union election, with 97% of the votes cast. This is ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted hosting monkeypox vaccine clinics
Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., continues its monkeypox vaccine clinics through August. These clinics are for first-dose vaccinations only. Online registration for each clinic opens at 10 a.m. each Wednesday prior to that respective ...

Gay News

Sky lose historic game; Cubs fall; White Sox split
In what was openly lesbian WNBA legend Sue Bird's final regular-season game against the Chicago Sky (25-9), things certainly were memorable for her and the Seattle Storm (21-13). The Storm defeated the Sky 111-100 at Wintrust ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Trailblazing lesbian activist Pat Norman dies
Pat Norman, a trailblazing lesbian in San Francisco who became a "first" in some important city appointments, died Aug. 5 at an assisted living facility in Las Vegas, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Norman, born ...

Gay News

WCT co-founder Tracy Baim stepping down from The Chicago Reader
The board of directors of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), publishers of the Chicago Reader, announced that Tracy Baim (who co-founded Windy City Times in 1985) is stepping down as president and publisher at ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Lesbian writer/activist Elana Dykewomon dies at 72
Tributes have poured in following the death of Oakland-based esteemed lesbian writer/activist Elana Dykewomon, who passed away Aug. 7 at age 72, according to EuroWeekly. She received the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction in 1998 ...

Gay News

ALMA Chicago hires new executive director
The Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) has hired its first executive director. Manuel Hernandez will step into the role, according to a press release. The statement describes Hernandez as "a Puerto Rican New York City ...

Gay News

Brittney Griner found guilty, sentenced to nine years
On Aug. 4, a Russian court found out WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty of drug smuggling and possession charges—and sentenced her to nine years in prison. The widely expected verdict came after a monthlong trial ...

Gay News

ART Wrightwood 659 to show 'The First Homosexuals,' 'Michiko Itatani'
The Lincoln Park space Wrightwood 659, 659 W. Wrightwood Ave., will show two exhibits—"The First Homosexuals: Global Depictions of a New Identity, 1869-1930" and "Michiko Itatani: Celestial Stage"—on Fridays and ...

Gay News

MacArthur Foundation expands support of Chicago area media, storytelling, partnered with Field Foundation
-- From a press release - August 3, 2022—The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced the renewal of a three-year, $3 million grant to the Field Foundation'sMedia & Storytelling program, which provides grants to a diverse set of Chicago ...

Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Inductees
--From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, the only city-sanctioned LGBT Hall of Fame in the world, was founded in 1991 to honor Chicago's people and entities, nominated by the community, who have made significant contributions to ...

Gay News

HRC commends White House Monkeypox (MPV) Coordinator appointments; calls for greater federal response
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended the Biden Administration for appointing Robert Fenton and ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+-inclusive program for seniors receives Aging Innovations Award
AgeOptions' Thrive with Pride program for LGBT+ older adults recently received a 2022 Aging Innovations Award, one of the highest honors presented by USAging to its members. USAging is the national association representing and supporting the ...

Gay News

Homeless-services agency Care for Friends temporarily moves to Edgewater
Care for Friends, a Chicago-based homeless-services program, has temporarily moved to Edgewater after being in Lincoln Park for 54 years, according to a press release. The program is now based at the Church of the Atonement, ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.