Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beach Gardens (MCCPB), the largest faith-based community in Palm Beach County dedicated to serving the local LGBTQ community and its family members and friends, today announced that the Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey is joining the congregation as the church’s new senior pastor. The official ceremony of installation will be held later this year.
Rev. Alford-Harkey comes to South Florida from Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she worked with the Religious Institute for the last eight years, serving as president and chief executive officer since 2016. The Institute is a multi-faith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual, gender, and reproductive health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. With a network of more than 12,000 religious leaders and people of faith, the Religious Institute has a record of creating campaigns that mobilize thousands of religious leaders and hundreds of faith communities.
Rev. Alford-Harkey holds a Master’s in Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an M.A. in French Literature from Wayne State University in Detroit, and a B.A. in French from Atlanta’s Georgia State University. She earned the degree in Divinity after spending nearly 20 years teaching French and Spanish in public schools in Monroe, Michigan.
“My work at the Religious Institute has given me experience in managing staff and programs, working collegially with other organizations and leaders, and finding ways to communicate deep religious values in the public arena. Throughout my time there and even in my pre-seminary job as a high-school teacher, I have always been deeply involved in my church community, whether on staff or serving as volunteer assisting clergy. I’ve been involved in many aspects of church life and leadership. I am ready, with God’s help, to move pastoral ministry from the margins to the center of my life,” says Rev. Alford-Harkey. “I look forward to working with the members, friends and supporters of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches, and learning more about this extraordinary place to live, work, play and pray.”
“Our Pastoral Search Committee had input from the congregation regarding the qualities they required in our new pastor. After much, much prayer the committee narrowed down our search to two candidates,” says Renna McGinnis, vice-moderator of the MCCPB Board and member of the Pastoral Search Committee. “When interviewing Rev Marie it was as if we already knew her as there was such a connection and level of comfort. After two interviews it was no surprise that God had lead us to our candidate.”