Rev. Elder Darlene Garner Retires

Announcement from MCC HEADLINE NEWS – Global Edition 21 January 2018

With gratitude for her long fruitful and faithful service, Metropolitan Community Churches announces the retirement of Reverend Elder Darlene Garner from the staff of MCC, effective January 1, 2018. She also retired her active clergy credentials on the same day. At this time, all concerns regarding her role on denominational staff are mutally resolved between Rev. Elder Garner and MCC.
Rev. Elder Garner was the first African-American to serve on the MCC Board/Council of Elders and the only person of African descent to have served on the Senior Leadership Team. She continues to serve on the Council of Elders.
Rev. Elder Garner gained her clergy credentials in 1988, was first elected to the Board of Elders in 1993, and had served as MCC staff since 1999. Throughout her 29-year clergy career, she held numerous positions, which included being Associate Pastor of MCC Philadelphia, Pastor of MCC Baltimore, Senior Pastor of MCC of Northern Virginia, and Assistant District Coordinator for the former Mid-Atlantic District. She was also the Interim Pastor of Good Hope MCC in Cape Town (South Africa), a member of MCC General Council, Clerk and then Vice-Moderator of MCC, Judicial Officer, and Elder for Region 6 (Arizona, southern California, New Mexico, southern Texas, and Latin America).
In addition, she served on the Elders Task Force on Structures and Systems and the Elders Task Force on Education and was an MCC representative to two General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches (held in Brazil and South Korea). She is also the Founder and Convener of the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Friends, and Advocates. MCC’s Darlene Garner Institute for Ibero-American Leadership Formation was named in honor of her work in Latin America.
Most recently, Rev. Elder Garner served as Director of the Office of Emerging Ministries. In this capacity, she designed the Oasis Program through which individuals across the globe are now being touched by MCC’s ministry, the Emerging Church Program that supports the development of new churches and church leaders in all parts of the world, and the Diversity and Inclusion Program. Among other things, the Diversity and Inclusion Program focuses primarily on the full inclusion within every part of MCC of bisexuals, heterosexuals, older adults, people living with HIV/AIDS, people of African descent, people of European descent working against racism, people with disabilities and differing abilities, transgender people, women, and young adults. It also focuses on resourcing churches to address both mental health and women’s health.
In addition to the design and administration of specific programs, Rev. Elder Garner also supported over 150 volunteers in Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, the Philippines, and the United States; managed relationships between MCC and our ministries in Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, and several areas of the United States; provided pastoral care, guidance, and mentoring for leaders; led the turnaround of MCC in Latin America; led conflict resolution efforts; and managed processes for church affiliation and accountability.
The plans for her immediate future include gardening and sharing quality time with friends and family, especially with her wife Rev. Candy Holmes. As the founder of Garner Peace, she will conduct mediations and provide consulting services to individuals and organizations in the areas of diversity, leadership integrity, embracing change, strategic planning, and managing conflict.
We invite and encourage you to pray God’s blessings upon Rev. Elder Darlene Garner as she embraces her future with gratitude for her past and great excitement and hope for all that is to come. You can express your own appreciation to Rev. Elder Darlene Garner by emailing her at or writing her at 5447 Haines Road North, Unit 174, St. Petersburg FL 33714.

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