History of Milwaukee Metropolitan Community
1971 – 1980
In 1971, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church began as Prince of Peace Metropolitan Community Church, under the leadership of Reverend Paul W. Sydman. Services were held at 2024 West Highland Avenue, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233. The churches first “mailing” address was 1114 North 21st Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233, which was right around the corner.
In the February 1977, Reverend Valerie Bouchard was hired at the Senior Minister, and the church took the official name of Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee, holding services at 1107 North Jackson Street, Sundays at 2:00pm. Later worshipping for a brief period of time at 2308 Belview Place, in the chapel a former Presbyterian Church). In 1977 Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee moved its worship services to 2647 Stowell Avenue, worshiping in the chapel at Lake Park Lutheran Church, still having worship, Sunday at 2:00pm. During the later part of 1978, Reverend Valerie stepped down from being the senior minister, with Reverend Ken Taylor now becoming the new Senior Minister of the church.
1981 – 1990
Reverend Ken remained Senior Minister until 1981. Shortly after Reverend Ken departed in 1981, Reverend Steve Stahl was hired as the new Senior Minister.
In the early part of 1984, Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee continues to hold worship services, as well as being a part of the Global Movement of Metropolitan Community Church for thirteen (13) years, ministering to the Greater Milwaukee area.
In the summer of 1985, Metropolitan Community Church of Milwaukee begins a decline of membership and presence. By the Fall of 1985, the church is operating on bare minimal and holding worship services when they were able to get enough people. The congregation unofficially started a reorganization of the congregation, with the hopes of a bright new future. It was at this time, that Reverend Steve Stahl stepped down as Senior Minister, just prior to this restructuring starting.
During the Fall of 1986, restructuring had been completed and the church began operating under the new name of New Hope Metropolitan Community Church, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was officially chartered by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches on November 30, 1986, under the new pastorate of Reverend David Callentine. Services are held Sundays at 7:00pm at the Kenwood United Methodist Church Chapel.
Concurrently, Angels of Hope Metropolitan Community Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin was also chartered by UFMCC, also under the Pastorate of Reverend David Callentine. Services were held Sundays at 11:00am. Reverend Callentine would hold Sunday worship, first at Angels of Hope, in Green Bay and then drive the distance, to New Hope, in Milwaukee to conduct services, Sunday at 7:00pm.
On April 30, 1988, Reverend David Callentine dies at Milwaukee’s Columbia Hospital with complications due to HIV/AIDS at 38 years of age.
The church continues to hold worship, but changes worship time to 6:30pm, still on Sunday evenings, but with visiting clergy and laity helping to fulfill leadership while a new pastor was being sought out. The church continues to maintain worship services, but now at Kenwood United Methodist Church Chapel, located at 2319 Kenwood Boulevard.
In 1989 New Hope Metropolitan Community Church hires new Dual Senior Ministers, Reverend Christine Pasinki and Reverend Nancy Smiegowski. The congregation continues to hold services on Sunday evenings at 6:30pm at Kenwood United Methodist Church Chapel.
1991 – 2000
In January of 1993, both Reverend Christine Pasinski and Reverend Nancy Smiegowski resign as co-ministers of the church. From January to April 1993, worship services continue under the Lay Leadership within the congregation while a new Senior Minister is hired.
In April 1993, Reverend Lewis Broyles is hired as the new Senior Minister. The church once again officially changes it name, but this time to Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church. Under Reverend Lewis’ pastorate, services are moved to the Bach Room at the Astor Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Sundays at 11:00am.
Becoming the FIRST LGBTQI+ Organization to own property in the City of Milwaukee, as well as the entire state of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church purchases its own building, at 1239 West Mineral Street. A grand dedication service is held in the early spring. Currently Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church is the oldest LGBTQI+ Organization still in existence in Milwaukee, and the State of Wisconsin.
Reverend Lewis Broyles instituted later that year, two worship services on a trial basis at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church, one at 9:30am, which is a Traditional Worship Style Service and one at 11:00am, which is a Contemporary Style Worship. The two-service structure lasted about a year, until going back to the one 11:00am service.
2001 – 2010
Unexpectedly on May 26, 2005, Reverend Lewis Broyles dies of a massive heart attack. In the Fall of 2005, the denomination appoints Reverend Christopher Fox, as the Interim Senior Minister, while a new search for a new Senior Minister began.
In the early part of 2006, the congregation voted and hired Reverend Wendy Woodruff as the new Senior Minister at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church.
2011 – 2020
In the mid part of 2011, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church celebrates in high style, with a burning of the mortgage, as the balance of the mortgage at 1239 West Mineral Street now paid in full.
In January 2016, Reverend Wendy Woodruff, resigns as Senior Minister at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church. Rev. Wendy’s last service was celebrated Easter Sunday, March 27. 2016.
At the beginning of March 2016, conversations with the Board of Directors at Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church begin to hire a new Senior Minister for the congregation, with the hopes, yet again, to restructure and build the congregation within the community.
In April 2016, Reverend Tory V. Topjian, who was serving as an Associate Pastor at Founders Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles (the founding church of the fellowship), is appointed by both, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church Board of Directors and the Fellowship, as the Senior Minister for the congregation,
Rev. Tory begins his pastorate as Senior Minister of Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church on a provisional basis, on June 1, 2016. Within the first ten days of Rev. Tory’s pastorate, both the church and Rev. Tory experience the great tragedy of the Pulse Night Club Shootings, in Orlando, Florida. While beginning to pastor his new congregation, Rev. Tory was also instrumental to the Greater Milwaukee area, as it related to counseling, being a part of vigils, and helping the community go through the grieving process of this tremendous loss.
When the congregation held its congregational meeting, on January 29, 2017, Reverend Tory V. Topjian is slated for a vote by the Board of Directors to the congregational, as settled pastor. With the congregation voting 98% “yes,” Rev. Tory becomes the tenth settled Senior Minister. On March 25, 2017, the congregation installed Reverend Tory as settled senior minister with services held at Underwood Baptist Church, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
Since becoming Senior Minister, Reverend Tory continues building the congregation, and continuing to lead and guide this vibrant, inclusive, and progressive community of faith, not only here in Milwaukee, but throughout Wisconsin.
As the congregation entered 2020, so did the unexpected trials and tribulations of the Covid-19 virus. While all this was spreading through the world, all Metropolitan Community Churches, including Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church through, began adjusting and adapting to how church would look in a virtual world. While this began as a struggle, the congregation stuck together caring and making sure that all in the congregation was provided for and have the support they needed.
The year 2020, brought great accomplishments. After waiting for nearly twenty years, both the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Council of churches, finally have recognized Metropolitan Community Churches to be a viable and important community of faith, respectively inviting Metropolitan Community Churches to sit on the council and judicatory of both these vital community organizations, along with having a voice and a vote.
2021 – 2030
Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church continues to face the trials and tribulations of the Covid-19 virus entering 2021. While there is hope on the horizon, the church continues to look at how and what church will look like, moving forward coming out lockdowns, virtual options, along with latest trends for the church to survive.
September 2021, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church, along with other organizations and establishments celebrating milestones, were honored by the Milwaukee Historical Society at an Honoree Banquet, for being a part of the Greater Milwaukee Community for 50 years and being the oldest LGBTQI+ organization still in existence.