Rev Lee Carlton was born in Perry, FL and grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Lee is the son of a Pastor, and a long line of clergy and deeply religious families in different generations; their spiritual roots extending back through the Anglican-Episcopal Church, Methodist and Pentecostal movements. Lee is a seventh generation Floridian.
He began his religious training at Northwest Bible College in Minot, North Dakota and received additional theological training through Lee University and Ridgedale Theological Seminary in Tennessee.
Rev Carlton is a prophetic voice and activist for God, human rights, equality and justice and has been a pioneer of the MCC movement since 1970 when he joined Christ’s Church MCC in Miami, Florida. He was the youngest minister ever ordained in MCC and today holds the second longest tenure of MCC service as Ordained, clergy.
Lee was founding pastor of MCC’s 11th congregation, First MCC of Tampa Bay and followed Rev Perry as Senior Pastor of MCC/LA, where the congregation grew to over 1000 regular Sunday worshipers.
Rev Carlton has a demonstrated record of leading churches into spiritual, multi-cultural and numerical growth, and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his ministry efforts in Christian social justice, community organizing, civic action and pastoral ministry, including the State Assembly of California, The Board of Elders, local churches, the General Conference of MCC and several Human rights organizations.
Rev Carlton is honored as ‘Pastor Emeritus’ of three congregations including Holy Cross MCC of Pensacola. Lee’s hope remains, even in retirement, to continue assisting the fulfillment of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, through encouraging and strengthening local, beloved communities of faith and teaching others to live out the Great Commandment of loving God and respecting and loving others as ourselves.
Reverend Zaida Rivera was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and now residing in Florida. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Reverend Rivera began her ministry with Holy Cross MCC in the summer of 1990 and Pastored at Holy Cross MCC for several years before returning to Puerto Rico. Upon returning to Puerto Rico, Reverend Rivera founded Un Nuevo Dia en Cristo Church. Un Nuevo Dia en Cristo Church established a much-needed and successful outreach to the LGBT community.
Since returning from Puerto Rico, she has continued to be a friend and guest Pastor to Holy Cross MCC.
Father Nathan Monk is a civil rights activist, author, and former Orthodox priest. He resides in Pensacola, FL with his three children, Kira, Selena, and Gideon. Though he is best known for his social activism, he has been frequently spotted frolicking with woodland creatures. For more than a decade, Nathan has worked tirelessly for social justice, specifically for the homeless.
Father Monk holds a Master’s Degree in Theology and served as a priest for eight years before resigning in 2013 after stepping out in support of marriage equality. He was subsequently declared de facto excommunicated and defrocked by the hierarchy of the Church, though the Church fell short of formally processing any official declarations of laicization. Currently, he is the executive director of a non-profit that focuses on housing solutions for homeless families.
Over his career, he has received notable awards, appointments, and national media for his accomplishments in the area of social justice. He was appointed by Mayor Ashton Hayward III as the co-chair of the Task Force on Human Services, a focus group tasked with finding practical solutions to address homelessness and poverty. The Pensacola City Council appointed him to the City Planning Board. He received international recognition for helping fight to overturn the city’s notorious “blanket ban” which made it illegal for the homeless to utilize any device to shield themselves from the elements.
Rev. Pressley Sutherland has more than eighteen years of experience with MCC. He joined MCC New York in the mid-1990s after being the Jazz Mass Worship Leader in one of NYC’s largest Episcopal churches. During his 5 years at MCC New York, he was the Sunday School Director, Director of Spiritual Education and finally the Associate Pastor for Congregational Life. From New York, Rev Sutherland moved on to MCC North London (UK) where he served as Senior Pastor for 7 years until 2008. From London, he moved on to Good Hope MCC in Cape Town, South Africa where he served as Senior Pastor for 2 years.
Since 2010, Rev. Sutherland has been serving in the role of Intentional Interim Pastor; first at MCC of Newcastle (UK) and then to MCC of Greater St Louis. He became the Interim Pastor of MCC Tampa effective November 17th, 2013.