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Darlene Garner
(? - living) U.S.A.

Darlene Garner

Pastor, activist

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Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Darlene Garner celebrates herself as a lesbian Christian woman of African, Cherokee, and Irish ancestry. She was baptized into the National Baptist Church at the age of 7 and joined the Episcopal Church as a young adult. She came out as a lesbian in 1973 and joined MCC Washington, DC, in 1976. Darlene Garner has attended Ohio State University, Samaritan College, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. She is the mother of four children and has seven grandchildren.

Before entering the professional ministry, Garner worked as a legal secretary, office manager, and Girl Scout Executive. She has served as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mayor's Commission on Sexual Minorities. In that position, she functioned as the liaison between the government of the sixth largest city in the United States and its translesbigay community.

She served MCC DC as Church Treasurer and Lay Delegate and later served the Mid-Atlantic District as Assistant District Coordinator. Garner received her clergy credentials in 1988. She has served as Associate Pastor of MCC in Philadelphia, PA; Pastor of MCC in Baltimore, MD; and Senior Pastor of MCC of Northern Virginia. She also convened the 1998 and 2000 Conferences for African-American Leaders in UFMCC. Garner has been a member of the Board of Elders since 1993. She is the first African American Elder in the MCC Church.

Darlene Garner currently serves UFMCC as full-time Clerk of the Board of Elders. In that capacity, she is responsible for overseeing the processes of General Conference, General Council, and the Board of Elders; legal and risk management issues; and development of diversity policies. She also serves as a member of the Board of Pensions (USA), the General Council Corporate and Legal Team, and the Joint Ownership Policies Committee that oversees Fellowship-owned property.

She has been the Liaison Elder to the former Western Canadian District and to the Australia & Aotearoa/New Zealand, European, Northeast, Northwest, South Central, and Southwest Districts. During 2000, she spent six months providing on-site support to the UFMCC churches in South Africa. Now, Rev. Garner is living and ministering in South Africa.

Garner's community involvement has included being a founding co-chair of the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays; being part of the historical first meeting between the U.S. White House and gay and lesbian people of color; chairing the first International Conference for Gay and Lesbian People of Color; serving as chaplain for an AIDS hospice; serving on the Board of Directors for a health clinic; and President of the Board of Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry.

She has also served as a member of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (hearing complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, gender, and national origin) and of the West Hollywood Business License Commission. Garner has received numerous awards and citations for her service to the community.

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