MCC Toronto

Spirituality & Human Rights Together

Since 1973, MCC Toronto has been helping shape Canadian values of inclusion, diversity, and equality. A place of worship and a place of action, MCC Toronto is a vibrant and progressive church rooted in the Christian tradition and the LGBTQ2+ community that is open and welcoming to everyone, and a Human Rights Centre that is fiercely committed to social justice.

Our History

July 17, 1973

In response to a petition, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches sends Rev. Bob Wolfe from Los Angeles to establish MCC Toronto which holds its first service in an office space above a bar on Yonge Street.

1974

A Citation of Bravery is awarded to Rev. Bob Wolfe by Toronto City Council for talking a teenager off the roof of City Hall.

1977

Brent Hawkes becomes Senior Pastor at MCC Toronto, a position he will hold until January 2018. Brent would go on to complete a Masters and Doctorate of Divinity, becoming Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes.

February 5, 1981

Police raid four bathhouses in Toronto and arrest 286 men, galvanizing Canada’s LGBTQ2+ community. The next day, Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes and other community activists lead over 3,000 protesters at a rally against police brutality. Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes would later go on a 25-day hunger strike demanding an inquiry.

1985

MCC Toronto buys its first church building at 2029 Gerrard Street East becoming Canada’s first LGBTQ2+ organization to own property.

1986

MCC Toronto fights for a new Employment Standards Act that incorporates sexual orientation into the Ontario Human Rights Code.

1989

The first MCC Toronto Christmas Eve Service at Roy Thomson Hall, an annual tradition that continues to this day.

1990

In response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, MCC Toronto launches the AIDSCARE program that provides support, comfort and love to hundreds of individuals affected.

1991

MCC Toronto moves into its present home at 115 Simpson Ave in the city’s Riverdale neighbourhood.

1993

The first Pride Toronto Sunday Service is held at Maple Leaf Gardens. While the venue for this Service has changed over the years, “Church on Church” remains a hallmark of Toronto Pride celebrations.

1994

A community-wide effort including MCC Toronto joins to push for the Equality Rights Statute Amendment Act that would provide equal treatment of persons in spousal relationships. The bill is defeated, but MCC Toronto continues to fight on.

1995

MCC Toronto partners with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in establishing the Triangle Program, Canada’s first high school for at-risk LGBTQ2+ students and now North America’s longest running such program.

1995

To support James Egan and John Norris Nesbit in the constitutional question of same-sex spousal recognition under the Old Age Security Act, MCC Toronto serves as an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada. This case results in the rights of gay and lesbian couples being recognized and their sexual orientation being read into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

1999

Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes testifies in the M vs. H case on spousal support provision in family law. For the first time, the court ruling holds that same-sex couples should receive equitable treatment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

January 14, 2001

The world’s first legalized same-sex marriage takes place at MCC Toronto as Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, wearing a bullet-proof vest, weds a gay couple and lesbian couple. Though the Registrar General of Ontario refuses to register the marriage documents, MCC Toronto takes the Provincial Government to Court, and in 2003 a court decision is rendered making the Province of Ontario North America’s first jurisdiction to recognize same-sex marriage and by back-dating the decision, making MCC Toronto’s the world’s first.

2005

MCC Toronto leads the Pride Parade as the Honoured Group recognized by Pride Toronto for its work in human rights and social justice.

2007

MCC Toronto establishes a new LGBTQ2+ Refugee Program. Since opening, over 3,500 LGBTQ2+ asylum seekers have found comfort, support, and hope as participants in our programs.

2009

Rev. Deana Dudley joins MCC Toronto’s staff team in October and goes on to become Assistant Pastor.

2011

Margaret and Wallace McCain make a remarkable $1 million gift to MCC Toronto, the largest single donation ever received by an MCC congregation in the world. Among other things, their gift enables MCC Toronto to retire its mortgage.

August 27, 2011

Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes officiates and The Choir of MCC Toronto sings at the state funeral of Jack Layton, Canadian New Democratic Party leader and Leader of the Official Opposition at Roy Thomson Hall.

2013

MCC Toronto becomes the only exclusive LGBTQ2+ Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Federal Government. Since that time, our LGBTQ2+ Refugee Programs have brought and settled 55+ LGBTQ2+ refugees to Canada.

July 8, 2017

Rev. Jeff Rock is elected as MCC Toronto’s new Senior Pastor. He begins October 1 and officially takes on the role following Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes’ last Service on January 28, 2018. Dr. Brent Hawkes is named Senior Pastor Emeritus.

2019

Aleks Dughman-Manzur, Director of MCC Toronto’s LGBTQ2+ Refugee Programs, is elected Vice- President of the Canadian Council for Refugees becoming the first openly transgender individual to serve at the executive committee level.

Our Team

Rev. Jeff Rock
Senior Pastor (He/Him)
office@mcctoronto.com

Rev. Jeff Rock received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University and a Master of Divinity at The United Theological College in Montreal. He is a Board Member of CANFAR (Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research) and a former Chair of the Board of CAANS (The Central Alberta AIDS Network Society). He was a candidate in the 2015 federal election and maintains a passion for community empowerment, politics, and Human Rights. Jeff was elected as the new Senior Pastor of MCC Toronto in 2017 and officially took on the role February 1, 2018.

Rev. Deana Dudley
Assistant Pastor (She/Her)
ddudley@mcctoronto.com

A former Maritime/Admiralty lawyer in the USA, Deana became a minister and moved to Canada. She engages in spirited theological discussions and has a passion for spiritual journeys of any kind. Combining her love of Biblical studies with her hobby of Biblical archeology, she enjoys exploring new perspectives to old meanings.

Jason Jestadt
Music Director (He/Him)
jjestadt@mcctoronto.com

A Dora Award nominated Music Director, Jason has worked on many musical theatre productions in Toronto, from the Queen musical We Will Rock You to conducting the current Toronto production of Come From Away. Jason joined as MCC Toronto’s Music Director in October 2019.

Aleks Dughman-Manzur
Director, Refugee Program (They/Them)
adughman@mcctoronto.com

Aleks is a Chilean lawyer who received a Licentiate in Law at Universidad de Chile, Master of Laws at University of Toronto and completed a seminary program in Pastoral Education. With 20+ years promoting Human Rights protections, Aleks is Vice-President of the Canadian Council for Refugees and sits in the Steering Committee of the Canadian Rainbow Coalition for Refuge.

John R. Farrell
Director, Development & Communications (He/Him)
jfarrell@mcctoronto.com

John is a fundraising professional with 15+ years experience, having worked previously at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The 519, and Toronto Public Library Foundation. John holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies.

JJ Viviers
Office Manager (He/Him)
office@mcctoronto.com

From a previous career in hospitality IT solutions in South Africa, J.J joined MCC Toronto as the Office Manager in 2018. He enjoys supporting the different areas and ministries of the organization. MCC Toronto is his spiritual home and community.

Mark Asselin
Facilities Manager (He/Him)
facilities@mcctoronto.com
Amy Hoffman
Finance Manager (She/Her)
finance@mcctoronto.com
Charmaine Kong
Communications & Development Manager (She/Her)
ckong@mcctoronto.com
Abiodun Ojo
IT Manager (He/Him)
itstaffsupport@mcctoronto.com
Martha Singh Jennings
LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs Manager (She/Her/They/Them)
msinghjennings@mcctoronto.com
Martina Ambiri
Analyst, Giving Programs (She/Her)
mambiri@mcctoronto.com
Brenda Lee Cox
Financial Assistant (She/Her)
bcox@mcctoronto.com
Tonya Sutherland
Personnel Interviewer (She/Her)
tsutherland@mcctoronto.com

Our Board

Comprising members of our congregation, MCC Toronto’s Board of Directors brings diverse leadership and business experiences to the table. The Board exercises overall responsibility for the direction and policy of the organization. Members are volunteers, elected by the congregation at the Annual Congregational Business Meeting to represent them in decision making.

To contact our board e-mail us here.

Meet the Board

Volunteer With Us

Are you interested in meeting people and getting more involved in our community? Learn about volunteering at MCC Toronto by attending a Volunteer Orientation Session which we host the first Sunday of every month (115 Simpson Ave, 12:30 p.m.).

General MCC Toronto Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in getting involved with our community? For more information, please click here. Or attend one of our Volunteer Orientation Sessions (first Sunday of every month, 115 Simpson Ave, 12:30pm).

Board Member

LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in getting involved specifically within our LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs? For more information, please click here.

The LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs is always looking for volunteers to support us in these ways:

**Please note, different time commitments are required for different volunteer positions

No volunteer opportunities at this time, please check back later.

Work With Us

MCC Toronto is made up of a diverse and talented staff team dedicated to bringing communities together to advance Human Rights for all.

We offer a warm and welcoming work environment, where you can be yourself and contribute your best work.

Join our staff team and make a difference in your community.

Career Opportunities

Office Manager