Reverend Linda Roddis has been serving churches since 1989. Her first call was to serve a large congregation of 8000 folks. We started ministries with a goal to reach out to all ages. The Rockers club, on Wednesdays parents could bring their children ages 3 weeks to 1 year old and seniors came to rock the little ones. We developed a children's theater, a community centered Women's Group and a supply library filled with everything from dishes to lawn movers. Serving Zion was a joy and helped me become my trueself.
When I came out, a leader of the Synod asked me to leave the church. God reached out to me that day. When, I arrived home after being defrocked, on my doorstep was a newsletter from the UCC announcing the ordination of a GLBT minister. God called me back into ministry.
I was given a gift to start a new church called, "Joyful" Our mission was to spread the word that God accepts all people. Watching people change, grow, embrace deep acceptance has been my life's mission. In 2008, A dear older woman stepped into my office and sai, ""no one will accept my money and my idea" I did, our church did and a Shelter for homeless women started, "Sophia'sWay " In 2015, I had the joy of starting "Welcoming Waters" a church again with the mission to accept all people.
Now I serve a congregation that has accepted diversity for years. In our pews at Eastgate, we have people from different countries, different races, different cultures and different lifestyles and all experience the deep gift of acceptance. Come, sits in a community where you know you are loved for who you truly are and watch your anxiety fade and your joy blossom.
Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy is the recently appointed Bridge Pastor for Eastgate Congregational UCC. In that capacity she will help guide and support the congregation in its search for a permanent pastor and in continuing realizing the congregation’s ambitious and noteworthy vision to serve God with love and hospitality. She has been an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Churches (MCC) for over three decades and has worked in parish ministry in New York City, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Tacoma, and Seattle. She is the founding pastor of Harlem Metropolitan Community Church (no longer open) and Full Truth Fellowship Church in Detroit, MI, which celebrated its 28th anniversary this year. Her ministry has focused on serving those most excluded in our society, including LGBTQ persons, homeless individuals, youth, and other disenfranchised groups. She has worked in HIV/AIDS since the disease first surfaced in 1981 and has been involved in care, prevention, education, and research for more than 30 years. Rev. Dr. McCoy is also a social scientist who holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology with a specialization in Medical Anthropology. She has taught a variety of courses at Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Washington. She is the former Director of HIV/AIDS Programs for the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion and the Coordinator of the HIV/AIDS Behavioral Surveillance Study with the Michigan Department of Community Health where she conducted research that focused on HIV/AIDS risk behaviors. As an independent consultant in Seattle, WA she continues to specialize in HIV/AIDS program design, evaluation, and development, and ethnographic research among difficult to reach and at-risk populations. She also serves on the Public Policy Team for the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) and works to guide and influence that denomination’s global health initiatives. Her life has been devoted to developing and celebrating a positive relationship with God and sharing the Good News of God’s unconditional love for all people regardless of the labels the world places on them, the conditions of their birth, or the challenges they face throughout life. She reminds us that God’s grace is better than sufficient and always available to bring peace, justice, and prosperity to everyone. Rev. Dr. McCoy has received numerous national and local awards for leadership and service to the LGBTQ community as well as for community organizing and activism. She continues to devote time and energy to building healthy individuals and communities through participation on a variety of boards and committees. Rev. Dr. McCoy believes “God has worked to make my life remarkable. It can only remain that way when I share how God continues to transform and enrich all of our lives. We were ALL created to be REMARKABLE! We just need a little help remembering that and learning what to do.” She is married to Rev. Dr. Patricia Hunter and lives in Seattle with their dog, Baxter. In her spare time, she is a potter, creating functional and decorative wheel thrown pieces, and fishing.