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New leader in the pulpit
Jim Martin serving as MCC Charlotte’s interim pastor

by David Moore . Contributing Writer

Pastor Jim Martin (right) and his partner Brian Plummer.
CHARLOTTE — After the departure of long-term Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Charlotte Rev. Mick Hinson earlier this year, it was decided that an interim pastor should be hired to serve for two years before a permanent replacement would be found.

Stepping up to the plate to fill the interim position is Jim Martin, previously a pastor with MCC of West Palm Beach in Florida.

Martin is the first to confirm that his journey as a gay man trying to find a place within the teachings of Christianity has been a long one.

“I was a late bloomer,” he recalls. “I came out later in life — I was just finishing college and I was experiencing quite a struggle because of the culture I was raised in. My parents were southern Baptists and we were raised in the southern Baptist culture He was a deacon. She was a musician. So we were heavily involved. It was a very conservative atmosphere.”
Originally from St. Louis, Mo., it was there that Martin first became involved with MCC.
“A few weeks after my partner and I met we decided to go to MCC St. Louis,” Martin recalls. “We were looking for community — some place that would welcome us and accept us. Neither of us knew previously that MCC even existed until we saw a panel discussion on a St. Louis television station.”

The two began attending services regularly, and it wasn’t long before Martin felt that he was being called into the ministry of MCC. Within a few years, he served in his first pastorate in Charleston, S.C., beginning in 1987.

Two years later he returned to St. Louis and took on the role of volunteer staff clergy at MCC of Living Faith.

Over the next decade he would serve as a part-time associate clergy and director of congregational care at MCC St. Louis, eventually ending as senior pastor of the West Palm Beach church in 1999, where he would remain until 2004.

Again returning to his hometown, Martin turned to a career he had once pursued in the printing industry.

He admits, however, that he had his heart set on returning to the ministry.

Since May 1, Martin is once again fulfilling his heart’s desire as he serves as the interim pastor at MCC Charlotte. Along with his partner Brian Plummer, he calls the University area home and both men are excited about what the city and the church hold in store.

“The people of the church have been wonderful to me and I really like Charlotte. My only complaint is that the city is not laid out in a grid pattern so it’s easy to get lost,” he laughs.
“It’s amazing how diverse it is here,” he continues. “There’s not a person here I’ve met that I didn’t like. Lots of really, genuine warmth.”

So what’s behind Martin’s drive to bring the message of Christianity to the LGBT community?
“I believe in a better world and because of my belief, I feel I have a responsibility to contribute to that. I see a place where everyone is valued for who they are and can be, and is afforded equal justice in a world where we all get along with respect for each person’s uniqueness. I firmly believe that the religion Christ came to teach us is how to all get along,”

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