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Ten years of LGBT ministry

Posted: April 13th, 2018 | News, Top Story | No Comments

By Neal Putnam

Metropolitan Community Church fundraiser celebrates pastor’s commitment

A celebration of Pastor Dan Koeshall’s 10th anniversary as senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church will occur Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m. at the LGBT Center in Hillcrest.

It’s also Pastor Dan’s birthday and a fundraiser to benefit MCC ministries. An Italian dinner with salad and dessert with entertainment and dancing along with a silent auction is scheduled at a cost of $20 per adult. Tickets for those between 12-18 are $10, and children under 12 are free.

Metropolitan Community Church Pastor Dan Koeshall (Courtesy of Dan Koeshall)

Koeshall, who is fondly referred to as Pastor Dan, began his senior pastor role in January, 2008 after serving as interim pastor at Pikes Peak MCC in Colorado from 2006-2007.

An inspiring story

Koeshall was an Assemblies of God associate minister only to be fired once the pastor and district superintendent discovered he is gay. He said they called it “a moral failure” and he would “never be allowed to come back” to the Assemblies of God denomination.

This was a tremendous shock, but Koeshall later understood that “when one door is closed, another is always opened.”

Koeshall began attending the MCC in San Diego in 1997 where he would later serve as senior pastor. He has told his story in many sermons, forums, and in the book “Dragonfly Stories,” which celebrates the LGBT community.

Koeshall grew up as a fundamentalist and attended the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena before he became ordained in the Assemblies of God church.

He knew the struggle going on inside himself and went into an ex-gay ministry to try and change. Dan attended a 22-week class, and when that didn’t work, he took part of the course again.

“The second time through this course I learned how to suppress my feelings pretty well,” said Koeshall. “I was able to stuff my true self into a little box, put it on a shelf in the closet, close the door and not go near it. For several years, I managed this suppression.

“Being gay was not going away,” Koeshall continued, who said he went into therapy with a Christian counselor.

“I came to realize God is OK with me. God made me just as I am, and I am not a mistake,” he said. “I was created the way I am to be used by God. Being gay didn’t take away my ministry call.”

Dan came to this belief to accept himself before he was kicked out of the Assemblies of God denomination. Because of that, he didn’t feel absolute despair. He had attended some MCC services, but this pushed him to go there full time. He became the minister of music in 1999.

“My journey has been painful at times, but my experience has allowed me to help others,” said Koeshall. “It’s good to see how there is life after a seemingly devastating experience. A big key is not having bitterness, not having resentment…not being a victim. There is room in this world for everyone to shine in their unique giftedness.”

Koeshall is a member of the LGBT advisory boards to both Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego County Sheriff William Gore. He helped start a ministry service at the George Bailey Detention Facility for transgender people, which later included everyone.

On April 13, he will give an invocation for the San Diego celebration for the swearing in for state Senator Toni Atkins who was elected the Senate president. He participated in the march and service in Hillcrest after the 2017 shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and also at observances on World AIDS Day.

“I’m honored and blessed to be part of the community where I can lift up our spiritual selves as part of our wholeness mind, body and spirit and celebrate our authentic lives,” he said.

He has performed same-sex weddings and was part of the planning committee for the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

In lieu of birthday gifts, Koeshall said he would rather request donations to MCC. There will be a card receptacle at the Center for Koeshall.

“It’s not only a joyous celebration of Dan’s 10 years as senior pastor, but also of how far we have come during a decade of his imaginative leadership: purchasing our own building, paying off its mortgage, creating new guiding documents of our beliefs, core values, mission and vision, and bolstering our outreach into the community,” said Lee Bowman, the minister of administration at MCC.

For groups who may wish to sponsor a table or more information, please contact ronniesperry@yahoo.com.

— Neal Putnam is a local freelance writer. Reach him at neal_putnam@juno.com.

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