By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
The second annual Queer Heroes NW, a collaboration between the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) and Q Center, recognizes local LGBTQ leaders based on nominations from community members. On June 5, it honored Rev. Austin Amerine and Rev. Rodney Page for their leadership in the LGBTQ congregation known as Metropolitan Community Church.
Here’s how Queer Heroes NW describes the reverends’ contributions:
Rev. Austin Amerine came to Portland in 1976, in the third attempt to organize a Metropolitan Community Church congregation.
Austin’s gift was robust confidence that a Christian gays and lesbians could form a viable congregation. Of the 14 original members, 13 were men.
MCC Portland became the most visible piece of gay-owned real estate in Portland, and served as de facto community center for many years. Austin moved on to other MCC leadership positions in 1979, and died in 1998.
Rev. Rodney Page has been a presence in Portland since the 1960s. Organizational leadership proved to be his forte, and he has brought a progressive Christian presence to everything he touched.
Page has worked patiently and persistently for social justice at Portland State’s Koinonia House, at Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, and at National Council of Churches.
He’s a queer hero for his role in accepting the Metropolitan Community Church into Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. He involved MCC pastors in committee work until they were known to other members, then invited MCC to apply for membership. EMO membership is by denomination, so the entire Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, 300 congregations, were accepted. Page’s calm patience and world-view were essential in the process.
A new queer hero will be revealed online each day in June. All the honorees will be featured in a poster exhibit at Q Center’s Aaron Hall Gallery during June and July, which opens June 13 with a reception from 5-8 p.m., during the Second Thursday Mississippi Avenue Art Walk (full event details here). You can see last year’s honorees here.