Spirituality & Human Rights Together
July 17, 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.
A Citation of Bravery is awarded to Rev. Bob Wolfe by Toronto City Council for talking a teenager off the roof of City Hall.
Brent Hawkes becomes Senior Pastor at MCC Toronto, a position he will hold until January2018. Brent would go on to complete a Masters and Doctorate of Divinity, becoming Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes.
February 5, Police raid four bathhouses in Toronto and arrest 286 men, galvanizing Canada’s 2SLGBTQ+ 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
MCC Toronto buys its first church building at 2029 Gerrard Street East becoming Canada’s first 2SLGBTQ+ organization to own property.
MCC Toronto fights for a new Employment Standards Act that incorporates sexual orientation into the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The first MCC Toronto Christmas Eve Service at Roy Thomson Hall, an annual tradition that continued until 2019.
In response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, MCC Toronto launches the AIDSCARE program that provides support, comfort and love to hundreds of individuals affected.
MCC Toronto moves into its present home at 115 Simpson Ave in the city’s Riverdale neighbourhood.
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.
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.
MCC Toronto partners with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in establishing the Triangle Program, Canada’s first high school for at-risk 2SLGBTQ+ students and now North America’s longest running such program.
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.
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.
The world’s first legalized same-sex marriage takes place at MCC Toronto as Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, wearing a bulletproof vest, weds a gay couple and a 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.
MCC Toronto leads the Pride Parade as the Honoured Group recognized by Pride Toronto for its work in human rights and social justice.
MCC Toronto establishes a new LGBTQ+ Refugee Program. Since opening, over 8,000+ LGBTQ+ asylum seekers have found comfort, support, and hope as participants in our programs.
Rev. Deana Dudley joins MCC Toronto’s staff team in October and goes on to become Assistant Pastor, and later as Acting Senior Pastor.
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 up to that point. Among other things, their gift enables MCC Toronto to retire its mortgage.
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.
MCC Toronto becomes the only exclusive LGBTQ+ Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Federal Government. Since that time, its LGBTQ+ Refugee Programs have brought and settled 75+ LGBTQ+ refugees to Canada.
July 8, 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. Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes is named Senior Pastor Emeritus.
Aleks Dughman-Manzur, Director of MCC Toronto’s LGBTQ+ 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.
MCC Toronto publicly launches ELEVATION – MCC Toronto Campaign, a historic $5 million campaign to elevate its ability to offer expanded and impactful human rights programming. At that time, MCC Toronto announced that $4.8 million had been raised to date including the largest ever gift in MCC’s history: a lead gift of $1.38 million from Paul Austin and the P. Austin Family Foundation.
Rev. Jeff Rock says goodbye to MCC Toronto as he embarks on a new journey. Rev. Deana Dudley becomes Acting Senior Pastor in January, In February, MCC Toronto unveils The new McCain Family Social Hall and other renovated public spaces to the delight of congregants.
MCC Toronto’s vision is to be a growing, inclusive, spiritual community that creates a just, kind and loving world for all.
Our Mission is to build bridges with a vibrant spirituality that transforms lives and transforms the world.
Our Core Values
Deana has been on staff with MCC for 14 years, serving in many capacities, currently as Acting Senior Pastor. A former Maritime/Admiralty lawyer in the USA, Deana sought more meaningful work, became a minister and moved to Canada. She is holds a B.A. (hons) from Dominican University, a Juris Doctor from George Washington University, and an M.Div. (hons) from Wesley Theological Seminary. She has been engaged in ministry for nearly 30 years. She also serves as the Judicial Process Manager for our denomination (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches), and is involved with the Toronto Police Service as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community Consultative Committee. She loves to engage in spirited theological discussions and has a passion for spiritual journeys of all kinds. Combining her love of Biblical studies with her hobby of Biblical archeology, she enjoys exploring new perspectives to old meanings. She shares her home with her wife Janet, three cats, and a dog.
Rev. Junia Joplin – June to most folks – received a Bachelor of Arts from Appalachian State University and a Master of Divinity from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Virginia. She is a past recipient of the Canada 150 Community Leader Award and has been named one of Canada’s top 25 Women of Influence in 2021. June is a member of Good Faith Media’s strategic board, and she works with Transmission Ministry Collective to provide support to trans seminarians & clergy. June began serving at MCC Toronto on March 15, 2021.
With over 12 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Shannon is passionate about providing high-quality leadership to organizations and making an impact through organizational efficiency. Shannon comes to MCC Toronto after working as the Director of Operations for CJ’s SKATEPARK and the Executive Director of CJ’s SKATEPARK FOUNDATION. Shannon is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds a Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.
Sam Braemer is a community development professional and human rights activist. For several years, Sam worked as a not-for-profit consultant. In 2021, Sam founded his own not-for-profit organization, Transforming Style. Sam proudly joined MCC as the Senior Director of Human Rights in October of 2023. Sam brings his expertise with enthusiasm to advocate for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and to fight against injustices while creating a safe, welcoming, and equitable GTA and beyond. Sam believes in celebrating diversity and empowering each individual to be their true authentic unique self. Sam lives each and every day with the mindset of a community development professional – exploring ways to change the world for the better and facilitate this change through empowerment and education in a creative and collaborative outlet.
Dave has an innate passion for service and has been actively involved in volunteerism for the past 10 years. He has served his community and country well and was appointed Chairman for Elitte Club Limited, a registered charitable organization made up of young professionals. He is a graduate of the University of London where he pursued his Law Degree. Dave spent many years working in the financial sector and is highly regarded among his peers. He went on to complete an Immigration Consultant Program and has volunteered and worked in a law office assisting clients on their refugee claims.
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.
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 the award-winning Come From Away. Jason joined as MCC Toronto’s Music Director in October 2019.
Cassidy Hicks has been working with MCC Toronto since 2020, and transitioned to work in the human rights centre in January of 2023. Cassidy has designed and produced a number of programs in the arts and not-for-profit sector with OPIA Theatre Collective, Fanshawe College, and currently represents MCC Toronto on Rainbow Coalition for Refuge. Cassidy is a certified peer support worker, and is currently completing a post-graduate program in psychotherapy with a particular focus on providing care for the 2SLTBTQIA+ community.
With an extensive background in software implementations, JJ is pursuing a second career in community and ministry and is currently, a Master of Divinity and Master of Pastoral Studies student at Emmanuel College. They are a seeker and lover of spirituality, with a passion for community, connection, and inclusion. They are a candidate for ordination in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
Comprised of members of our congregation, MCC Toronto’s Board of Directors bring diverse leadership and business experience to the task of supporting MCC Toronto’s work and mission. Board members provide financial oversight of Church operations, ensure the development of strategic plans, serve as ongoing champions and goodwill ambassadors of Church programs, events, and services, and provide advice to the Senior Pastor on financial issues, strategic issues, and on other issues as requested. Board 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.
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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.
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