MCC San Francisco
From a Nomadic Tribe to Our Castro Home
In 1970, just two years after the first Metropolitan Community Church service was held in Rev. Troy Perry’s living room in Los Angeles. Rev. Howard Wells and friends decided to start an MCC in San Francisco. Their first meeting was held in Jackson’s Bar & Grill in North Beach.
Over the next several years, the congregation had eight pastors and met in various locations. For a time, they met in a building on Guerrero Street, a building that mysteriously burned down; many suspected that it was because a “gay church” was unwelcome in the neighborhood.
By 1980, the nomadic congregation had 100 members, and was finally able to find a permanent home at 150 Eureka Street in the Castro. The then-80 year old building had been an independent Pentecostal church and was purchased for $250,000. Charter members recall the walls of the sanctuary were electric-blue and the carpeting was orange shag, the restrooms were little more than outhouses, and a neon “Jesus Saves” sign hung on the outside wall. With loving care, the building was slowly restored to functionality and remains our home to this day.
Since then the church has experienced many wonderful, transformative times but also struggles. During the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis—long before effective treatments were available—it was not uncommon for there to be three or four funerals on each day of the weekend. Growth in church membership could barely keep pace with the rate of deaths. But the church persevered, and in the midst of such grief even grew stronger, our members and friends finding support in prayer, communion, music and each other.
Today we are growing and thriving once more, with programs, goals, and strategic priorities. We have great hopes for our future as we heed our calling to be a house of prayer for all people, and a home for queer spirituality.