Pastor describes new music director, office administrator as outstanding community leaders; seminar to focus on LGBT estate planning issues
The Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas this week announced two new additions to its staff. The church will also present a legal seminar with lawyer Lorie Burch on Sunday.
The Rev. Colleen Darraugh, senior pastor, and Melanie Brauner, vice moderator for the church, announced that the church has hired musician and choir director Steven Couch as director of music, and long-time volunteer and recent Texas Women’s University graduate Ida Bencomo as office administrator.
Darraugh said both Couch and Bencomo “exemplify outstanding community leaders, involved and passionate, who give an amazing amount back to their church and the North Texas LGBT community.”
“Steven has a proven track record and an amazing passion for music. I know [the church’s] music program will soar under his leadership,” the pastor said. “Ida has been a long-time volunteer here, and I am thrilled that she is now a part-time employee.”
Couch served as director of music and director of Esther’s Pantry at Portland Metropolitan Community Church in Oregon for the past several years. He previously worked with the Cathedral of Hope music staff. He has composed and arranged hundreds of choral and instrumental works, collaborating with artists such as Nell Carter, Kristen Chenoweth and Esera Tuaolo, as well as various GALA choruses. He plays both piano and organ and is known for an outstanding tenor voice.
Bencomo recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Texas Women’s University and is now working on her master’s degree. She is a photographer and artist and currently coordinates the church’s fundraising efforts for the Smirnoff Concert Series. She has volunteered in the church’s office for the past year, and has volunteered for more than five years in the Alzheimer Unit at Lake Highlands Doctors Healthcare Center.
The church will sponsor a legal seminar at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, following morning worship services, with advice from local lawyer Lorie L. Burch on estate planning issues such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney and living wills specifically for LGBT couples and individuals.
“If you don’t have a will, the state of Texas has one for you,” Burch said.
LGBT people, whether single or part of a couple, need to think about basic life planning questions because there is no safety net for them, Burch said.
“The first individual a LGBT person may want on their side if an unexpected event happens may be the last person that is legally recognized,” she said.
Burch worked in the national office of the Human Rights Campaign while attending the George Washington University School of Law. She now serves on the board of the Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and is active in the Business Network Collin County.
For more information, call the church at 972-243-0761.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 8, 2006.