Congregants of the Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia helped pack up boxes last weekend to assist with the church’s move out of its longtime home at the William Way LGBT Community Center.
The church will now operate out of the University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, 3637 Chestnut St. MCC will begin worship services at its new location May 10 and at a new time, 1 p.m.
The church moved into the center about 11 years ago, but MCC pastor the Rev. Jeffrey Jordan said numerous factors, including the economy, prompted the move.
The church paid about $1,100 a month for its space at the center, which included an office and use of the ballroom for worship services and choir rehearsals.
Jordan said the church is now paying a “slightly lower” rent at its new locale, which will enable it to utilize the money it saves to expand its services.
“Our offerings have been down a lot,” he said, “so we were scared to sign a lease with the center again. We didn’t have the money to stay there, but at the same time, people need us even more right now.”
Jordan said about 60 people usually attend the weekly worship services.
The new location will comfortably accommodate at least 80 individuals, and while the former space at the center could fit more than that, the church also had to share the ballroom with other renters. Jordan noted that if MCC wanted to use the space to stage an event such as a teen night or a prayer group, it had to pay extra; the new space, however, can be used whenever the congregation needs it.
“If we want to have church every single day,” he said, “we can do that. We can start an AIDS ministry, have movie nights, teen parties, afternoon prayer; we’re going to be able to offer the community those things that a church should be offering.”
’Dolph Ward Goldenburg, executive director of the center, said it was a pleasure to watch the church transform over the years.
“One of the things I love about the community center is that frequently we bring in small organizations and they come in and rent space, and we get to watch them grow,” he said. “The church is a good example. It was here almost a dozen years, and when it started they literally had just a small room where they held their entire services, and now they’re busting out at the seams in the ballroom, which is great.”
Jordan noted that the new space, which spans about 1,400 square feet, also offers a more convenient location for the church’s members. He said the majority of his congregants hail from West Philadelphia and University City and that the move might enable MCC to reach out to potential members who may not otherwise travel to Center City.
Fred Wolfe, parish administrator of University Lutheran, said MCC is a welcome addition to the church community.
“University Lutheran is just thrilled to have MCC joining us in the building,” Wolfe said. “We’re looking forward to doing some great things together.”