Metropolitan Community Churches

R. Adam DeBaugh

23 June 1947 - 20 May 2023

Adam passed away on the morning of May 20th, 2023 from cancer and multiple health issues. He leaves behind an extended family of friends and an MCC legacy of lay leadership.

Adam’s Facebook page says “Adam has never been a member of MCC clergy.” This simple statement encompasses his humor and his impact as a lay leader locally and denominationally. He first started attending MCC of Washington, D.C. in 1973 and quickly became involved.

Rev. Roy Birchard and Adam started the UFMCC Washington Field Office in June of 1975. As Director of the Field Office, Adam was the first person to full-time lobby the United States Congress for Gay and Lesbian civil rights. He served on the Board of Directors of the Gay Rights National Lobby and hosted that organization in the UFMCC Washington Field Office for its first few years.

Remembering their time working together, Rev. Roy Birchard said, “Adam was the catalytic person in the formation of the MCC Capitol Hill lobbying office and its successors. The 1976 MCC General Conference was crucial in advancing many agendas but it affirmed MCC’s commitment to advancing our rights through the formation of GRNL (Gay Rights National Lobby), the grandparent of today’s Human Rights Campaign (HRC).” 

“He demonstrated that laypersons who perceive God's ‘for such a time as this’ demonstrate the ongoing truth of the priesthood of all believers. Like many MCC catalytic leaders starting with Troy Perry, his wonderful sense of humor was a mark of sanity through the tumultuous waves of social revolution.”

In 1979, Adam and the Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson were named the first co-directors of the Department of Ecumenical Relations. Nancy Wilson writes: Adam started his activism as a teenager, and then as congressional staff at the US Capitol. He had a passion for ecumenical/interfaith justice work and for bringing the voice of faith into the public arena and politics. He was outspoken and fearless about his calling, and MCC's mission and vision. He was an excellent writer and editor, having authored MCC's application to the US National Council of Churches in 1981, which has become a classic MCC "foundational document." We had many extraordinary experiences and encounters in our travels together for MCC. We also served together on MCC's General Council when he was Mid-Atlantic District Coordinator. Adam had a servant's heart and a love for God's Church and God's people."

From October 1983 to June 1992, Adam served as the District Coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic District. After that time, he devoted his energies to the ministry of Chi Rho Press, a Gay and Lesbian Christian publishing house with an MCC Special Work status. Chi Rho Press was responsible for the publication and distribution of many queer Christian books. Bookstores at General Conferences promoted these books and increased awareness of MCC’s growing number of published authors. Adam was also a proficient writer himself. He was a contributor to The Road to Emmaus and Positively Gay. He wrote a number of booklets including “Writing to Congress,” and “The Least of These: A Christian Social Action Bible Study on Matthew 25” which were distributed by Chi Rho Press.

Rev. Cecilia Eggleston says “I knew Adam best as the passionate force behind Chi Rho Press. I remember feeling so impressed that MCC had such an organisation. Adam DeBaugh epitomized excellence in lay leadership. His commitment to Christian Social Action and spiritual activism in MCC, his local community, and on the USA national political front positively impacted our entire movement for justice, diversity and equity.”

Rest well, Adam. Your memory is a blessing.

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