The Story of MCC

The story of MCC begins with one man—defrocked by his Pentecostal church for homosexuality, and recovering from a suicide attempt—who dared to believe God’s promise of love and justice for all people. The Reverend Troy Perry, then twenty-seven years old, received a call from God to found a church that affirmed gay men, lesbians, and all other outcasts. MCC was born a few months later on October 6, 1968, when Reverend Perry led eleven men and one woman in the first worship service of what was to become Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles, California.

The Story of Holy Cross MCC


  • July 25, 2017 Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt relinquished his position as Senior Pastor.
  • September 14, 2014 Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt was Installed as Senior Pastor.  The celebration was presided by The Reverend Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson.
  • September 7, 2014 was Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt’s first Sunday service.
  • July 20, 2014 The Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt was affirmation as Senior Pastor.  Rev. Merritt received a strong from our congregation with our voting members overwhelmingly endorsing him as our new Senior Pastor.
  • July 13 – 20, 2014 – Senior Pastor Candidate Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt visited with the Board of Directors, Lay Leaders, Ministry Leaders, Holy Cross MCC members, Community leaders and friends of Holy Cross MCC.
  • On June 22, 2014 the Pastoral Search Committee announced they had completed the evaluation of applicants for Senior Pastor at Holy Cross MCC and selected The Reverend Dr. Jim Merritt as our pastoral candidate for congregational approval.
  • October 20, 2013 the congregation voted in a Pastoral Search Committee to begin the search for a senior pastor at Holy Cross MCC.  Reverend Lee J. Carlton, Pastor Emeritus and Reverend Booth Iburg became acting Pastoral Care during this transition.
  • May 2012, Reverend Rick Sosbe became Interim Pastor.  Reverend Sosbe relinquished his position October 2013.
  • December 2011, Reverend Sandy O’Steen resigned her position as Senior Pastor. Booth Iburg, student clergy, helped to coordinate worship services until an Interim Pastor was appointed.
  • May 2011, Reverend Patrick Rogers became the Community Outreach Minister until his departure in October 2011.
  • In 2010, beautification efforts were completed with the addition of sconces to the sanctuary walls.


  • On October 8, 2000, the Pastoral Search Committee voted to nominate Reverend Sandy O’Steen as candidate for Pastor. Reverend O’Steen was elected on December 3, 2000. Under Reverend O’Steen’s tenure, a second worship service was added in April 2000 and Reverend Lee J. Carlton joined our staff and served as Associate Pastor for six months.
  • Reverend Jo Crisco became Associate Pastor for two and a half years.
  • In 2002, recognizing the need for accessible space that would allow the church to fulfill its mission, the congregation voted at the annual meeting to seek property.
  • In 2004, after two years of searching, the congregation voted to purchase property at 3118 West Fairfield Drive. May 2004, HCMCC conducted its first Capital Campaign.
  • On September 16, 2004, the property on Alcaniz Street was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan. During our recovery, we met in three temporary locations.
  • In August 2005, Reverend David Pettit and Reverend Ron Helms became Associate Pastors. Reverend Helms completed his service November 2005 and Reverend David Pettit completed his service April 2007.
  • In January 2006, construction began on our new church home at 3118 West Fairfield Drive.
  • In July 2007, construction was completed and the current address of 3130 West Fairfield Drive, Pensacola, Florida was assigned to our new sanctuary. A dedication service was conducted in August 2007.
  • In August 2009, Reverend Lee J. Carlton, Pastor Emeritus of Holy Cross MCC and Reverend Sandy O’Steen officiated a rededication of the Ascending Christ Window. The Christ Window miraculously survived Hurricane Ivan’s destruction of the HCMCC building on Alcaniz Street.


  • On September 1997 – 2000
  • On May 8, 2000, the Pastoral Search Committee nominated Reverend Marilyn Marr as our candidate for Pastor. On June 1st, she was elected to serve as our new pastor. Reverend Marr began on July 14, 1997 and resigned on July 6, 2000 to accept the position of pastor at Rainbow Promise MCC in Lakeland, Florida.


  • Edward Paul resigned on August 31st and moved to Austin, Texas to become the Assistant Pastor at MCC Austin.
  • Barbara I. Toller became the Worship Coordinator. Barbara was a student clergy and left on June 1st. Steve Urie and Terry Douglas, who were Deacons at that time, led the services until a new pastor was selected.
  • Reverend Marge Ragona became the new pastor in 1983. November 2 – 4, 1984, HCMCC hosted the District Conference at the Holiday Inn in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
  • In 1985, Reverend Ragona resigned and Deacons Larry Hauffe, Terry Douglas, and Angela Palma became acting interim clergy until a new pastor was selected.
  • Reverend Lee. J. Carlton became pastor. Prior to pastoring HCMCC, Reverend Carlton was the Southeast District Coordinator. Under his leadership, Holy Cross received its charter membership. Reverend Carlton resigned September 5, 1993.


  • In August, Edward Paul joined the Lambda Society of Pensacola and learned that there had been expressed interest in starting an MCC in Pensacola. He inquired as to who was interested and began to encourage them to renew their efforts. Letters were written to Reverend Elder Jon Hose in Tampa, Florida and Reverend Even S., who was the District Coordinator at the time. A feasibility study group was formed.
  • On Sunday, February 6, Holy Cross MCC (HCMCC) Pensacola was born. The first service was held at the home of Ann B. and Helen M., and there has been a service every Sunday ever since.
  • Around the first of March, Tom Johnson, who was minster in training, moved to Pensacola and became worship coordinator. On March 27, 1977, Holy Cross MCC began meeting in the Unitarian Fellowship building at 904 E. Scott Street.
  • On May 20th, HCMCC became an official study group, and on August 10th, had an official visit from Reverend Elder John Hose, who was returning to Tampa, Florida after General Conference in Denver. He was accompanied by Reverend Lee. J. Carlton, a minister working in England, and others.
  • In September, Tome became ill and resigned from his duties. On October 1st, Susan Kliebenstein and her partner, Ricki Richards, became our new Worship Coordinators. Both were ordained. Both Susan and Ricki were instrumental in holding our church together during this time.
  • In November, HCMCC obtained mission status.
  • On June 30th, at the end of their contract period, Susan and Ricki resigned their position as Worship Coordinators. July 2nd, Edward Paul was installed as the new Worship Coordinator.
  • On April 22nd, Reverend Elder Nancy Wilson shared a joy-filled visit with us. In November, HCMCC regained mission status, and shortly thereafter employed the Worship Coordinator on a half-time salary.
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