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HomeSpiritualityMark Byrd elevated to Elder by the Metropolitan Community Church

Mark Byrd elevated to Elder by the Metropolitan Community Church

Mark Byrd has been the Pastor of New Life MCC in Norfolk for

Pastor Mark Byrd was recently one of eight individuals appointed by the governing Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches worldwide to serve as Reverend Elder. Serving as a Reverend Elder is akin to serving as a Bishop in other denominations.

Elders are appointed by the Moderator, approved by the global MCC Governing Board, and then affirmed by the MCC General Conference consisting of 222 congregations in 27 countries.  Among the eight individuals chosen to serve are both clergy and laity from the USA, Cuba, South Africa, Great Britain, and Australia.   Revered Elder Byrd was installed in a ceremony at New Life MCC in Norfolk on March 7 which was both on-site with folks here locally and connected live virtually with MCC Congregations around the world.

In a statement to the MCC General Conference, Reverend Elder Byrd said, “My hope is for the words of the ‘queen mother’ to King Lemuel in the book of Proverbs to guide us in being that viable, visible, vocal presence for justice: ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute and vulnerable. Speak up and judge fairly; to defend the rights of the poor and needy. We may think we have already done all that, but my gut feeling is that what lies ahead is going to require more of us than ever before.’”

Elders are volunteers who, as a Council with the Moderator, offer spiritual and pastoral support and leadership to the churches, pastors, and people of MCC. Fourteen applicants from individuals in 7 different countries were received. In the application process, individuals were invited to share their theological background, some of their spiritual practices, their international experience, their current efforts to make MCC more racially equitable, diverse and inclusive, and their thoughts on the role of Elder. The eight appointees which were affirmed by the Special General Conference will each serve three-years terms.

Reverend Elder Mark R. Byrd (He/Him/His) is the Senior Pastor of New Life Metropolitan Community Church of Hampton Roads in Norfolk. He has 34 years of pastoral ministry experience, the last 19 of those years in MCC serving five MCC churches in associate, interim and senior pastor roles. He has served at New Life MCC for the past 13 years.

He currently serves as the facilitator for the Hampton Roads LGBTQAI+ Interfaith Group and is a vocal passionate leader both in the church and community for human rights and justice issues.

Mark grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, USA.

Mark currently lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, with his husband of 13 years, Rev. Alberto Najera, and their yellow lab Nica.


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