Charge to the Moderator Nominating Committee per UFMCC Bylaws Article V.C.2.a:
“MODERATOR NOMINATING COMMITTEE: The Governing Board shall appoint a Moderator Nominating Committee of three (3) persons. The responsibility of the Moderator’s Nominating Committee is to actively solicit candidates for the position, review any and all applications, and select up to five (5) qualified candidates. The qualified candidates shall be presented by the Governing Board to the General Conference for election.”
After reviewing applications and conducting interviews with lay and clergy members from around the world, the Governing Board appointed Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, Rev. Kevin Downer, and Ms. Elisa Vega-Burns to the MNC.
The Governing Board is pleased to introduce the members of the Moderator Nominating Committee:
Rev. Dr. Lea Brown is currently the Senior Pastor of MCC of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she has been serving since March of 2011. She has also served as the Senior Pastor at both MCC San Francisco and Wichita Falls MCC in Texas. Before beginning her years of service in professional ministry, she was the acting executive director of the Metropolitan Community Foundation in San Francisco. In addition to leading the foundation, Rev. Brown served as volunteer clergy at MCCSF since her ordination there in 1996. During that time she preached, led retreats, served as the pastor of spiritual development, and taught many classes and programs on spiritual growth, and on the intersections of gender, sexuality and spirituality, and social justice. Throughout the 1990s Rev. Brown was a staff member at Spectrum, Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. As the program director there, she developed and coordinated an extensive Speakers Bureau and numerous community programs for GLBT youth, young adults, seniors and families.
During her years in seminary, Brown served as a Chaplain Candidate (2nd Lt.) in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1989.
Rev. Brown received her education from Oklahoma Baptist University (B.M.E.); Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; Pacific School of Religion (M.Div.); and Episcopal Divinity School (D.Min.). She has published essays in Dancing in Fetish Boots: Essays in Honour of Marcella Althaus-Reid (ed. Lisa Isherwood and Dr. Mark Jordan) and Queering Christianity: Finding a Place at the Table for LGBTQI Christians.
Rev. Kevin Downer is honored to serve as a member of the Moderator’s Nominating Committee. He has been a member of MCC since the mid-1990s and has experienced MCC in a variety of worshipping contexts, church sizes and life cycle stages. He has pastored two MCC’s as an intentional interim pastor (All God’s Children MCC and MCC San Antonio), started aChurch4Me? MCC in Chicago and was recently accepted into the DMin program at Chicago Theological Seminary. Prior to becoming a pastor, Kevin was an executive at several global consultancies where he regularly interviewed recruited and hired personnel; was trained in behavioral interviewing techniques; consulted with senior executives at major companies in North America and Europe and led international teams operating simultaneously on four continents. He has also worked with several MCC staff and elders to advance our movement in areas such as church planting strategy and interim ministry training.
He and his spouse Toby were married in Canada in 2006 and consider Chicago their home.
Elisa Vega-Burns is an accomplished business process and business operations expert for the world’s leading developer of information infrastructure technology and solutions. Her current job responsibilities include providing business process consulting services specializing in best-in-class standard enterprise-wide processes. In addition to her professional endeavors, Elisa is active in several LGBT advocacy organizations.
From 2004-2011, Elisa served as President for her company’s LGBT employee resource group and continues to serve on its Board. At the end her tenure, her company had achieved a 100% score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index with the enactment of transgender healthcare coverage. In addition, Elisa is a member of the Out and Equal Houston Affiliate Leadership Council, and previously served on the HRC Houston Diversity Committee.
From 2009-2012, Elisa has served as Treasurer of the Resurrection MCC Board of Directors. An overwhelming desire to give back to a church home that has―and continues to—enrich her life and the lives of so many others is what motivated Elisa to join the Resurrection MCC Board of Directors. On the MCC national level, Elisa helped to develop the MCC Church Treasurer’s Manual and contributed to the development of pastoral search resources for local church use.
Elisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University and a Master of Business Administration from Simmons School of Management. Legally married in Massachusetts in 2004, Elisa now resides in Houston with her spouse, Gemma Burns, and their seven-year-old Goldendoodle, Condy.
In addition to these appointments, the Governing Board decided to create and appoint two persons to an Ad Hoc Team to support the MNC during its process and be prepared to serve as an alternate member should circumstances arise that do not allow one of the MNC members to fulfill their role over the next three years. You will hear more about this appointment soon.
The Moderator Nominating Committee will be communicating more information in the months ahead regarding the process for soliciting candidates to stand for election as the next Moderator of MCC at General Conference 2016.
Please join us in welcoming the Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, Rev. Kevin Downer, and Ms. Elisa Vega-Burns!
MCC Governing Board