Spirit of Giving: MCCGD’s coat drive for the homeless

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the LGBT community of North Texas once again is responding in a variety of ways to help out those who are less fortunate.

This week Dallas Voice profiles five events intended to raise funds or other donations for a number of different causes. But the community’s good will doesn’t end with these events.

If you know of an individual, business or organization that is holding or participating in a charitable holiday event or effort, email the information to editor@dallasvoice.com.

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Colleen-Darraugh

Colleen Darraugh

This year for the sixth year, Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas is collecting coats for the homeless.

The first delivery will go to clients of AIDS Interfaith Network, said the Rev. Colleen Darraugh, MCCGD pastor. Of people with AIDS in Dallas, that organization’s clients are among the most at-risk and most likely to be homeless, she said.

Darraugh said that the annual coat drive has expanded this year to include sweats, hoodies and socks.
“A dry pair of socks can make all the difference,” she said.

The church kicked off its holiday season of giving by participating in Saturday Night Live at AIN, in which a group prepared a weekend supper for clients and provided  entertainment. After dinner, the 27 volunteers sent AIN’s clients home with bags of granola bars, apples and oranges in addition to leftovers.

Darraugh said the need is so great, members of the church by themselves can’t provide everything AIN’s clients need.

“So we’re asking people to ask neighbors and co-workers to contribute,” she said.

They are collecting items every Sunday at the church at 1840 Hutton Drive #100 in Carrollton.

Anyone who would like to help with delivery is welcome to join. Darraugh said they have a borrowed horse trailer that they expect to be filled with items. After stopping at AIN near downtown Dallas, they will distribute items to people living on the street.

But Darraugh said the need doesn’t end at Christmas, and the church will continue collecting items to make a January delivery as well.

She said that especially those not staying in a shelter often lose what little they have when they leave their items unattended.

To arrange to make a donation during the week, to participate in the delivery of items to the homeless or for more information, call the church at 972-243-0761.

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Deaths • 10.14.11

Harry Wayne Dalton, 57, of Dallas died Oct. 6.

He was born in Richmond, Va., on Aug. 6, 1954, to Zelica “Ann” Smith Dalton and Lewis Clyde Dalton Jr., and was a long-time resident of Arlington, Va., where he worked for Sprint Communications.

He moved to Texas in 1996 and became an active member and volunteer at the Carrollton Senior Center until his declining health prevented it. Dalton was a long time member of MCC Washington, D.C., and later MCC of Greater Dallas. He also participated in the MCCGD Men’s Ministry.

Dalton was preceded in death by his father and his brother, Lewis Ronald Dalton.

He is survived by his mother, Zelica “Ann” Dalton of Carrollton; his sister and brother-in-law, Lisa Dalton Perkinson and Larry Perkinson of Saudi Arabia; his nephew, Jason Kendall Perkinson of Richmond, Va.; his niece, Heather Mangum, and her husband and daughter, Matt and Hayden Mangum, of Dacula, Ga. He is also survived by his extended family and friends of Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. at MCC of Greater Dallas, 1840 Hutton Drive, Suite 100, inCarrollton, with the Rev. Colleen Darraugh and the Rev. Steven Pace officiating.

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Stephen Bishop of Fort Worth died Oct. 9.

Born in Sacramento, Calif., Bishop moved to Fort Worth with his parents as a young child, living most of his life here and keeping his roots in Dallas-Fort Worth no matter where he went. He graduated from Eastern Hills High School, and then went on to Stephen F. Austin State University where he earned his master’s degree in fine arts, with a specialization in costuming.

After college, Bishop did freelance costume design in Florida and California, and then went on to design costumes for the Bristol Renaissance Fair near Chicago, Ill. He also worked for Frankels Costumes in Houston and Incredible Productions in Dallas before making his own mark on the costuming world through a joint venture with Wendy Dillard called The Creative Alliance.

Bishop and Dillard created costumes for church groups and Incredible Productions, and they coordinated the costumes for the Dallas Christmas Festival at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano for several years. One of his greatest costuming achievements were the angels in the Christmas Festival who actually seemed to fly during the performance. He also costumed the Casa Manana production of The Music Man at Bass Hall.

Bishop loved roller coasters and was a card carrying member of American Coaster Enthusiasts. He loved big band music, the Carpenters, Glee and Broadway show tunes. He was also a member of the Fort Worth Scottish Association. His family and friends offered a special “thank you” to the staff at Kindred Hospital who treated Bishop and his family with tender loving care in their time of need.

Bishop was preceded in death by his father, Tom Bishop.

He is survived by his mother, Stella Bishop; his uncle, Gordon Dollar; his cousin, Angela Bandy; his aunts, Joyce Morris and Margie Ford; his caretaker and dear, friend Edmund Wirfel; his six cats and a host of friends across the country that will miss him dearly.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. at Shannon Rose Hill Funeral Chapel in Fort Worth with interment to follow at Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to AIDS Services of North Texas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Helping build a brighter future

Members of the MCCGD celebrate their new home by helping Habitat for Humanity build a new home for a member of the congregation

LisaMarie Martinez  |  Special Contributor lisamarie1207@yahoo.com

A NEW BEGINNING  |  The Rev. Colleen Darraugh, right, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, blesses the kitchen in the new house that MCCGD members helped build for one of their own as part of a Habitat for Humanity project. (LisaMarie Martinez/Dallas Voice)
A NEW BEGINNING | The Rev. Colleen Darraugh, right, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, blesses the kitchen in the new house that MCCGD members helped build for one of their own as part of a Habitat for Humanity project. (LisaMarie Martinez/Dallas Voice)

There’s a popular saying that goes: “We can take a minute to know someone, an hour to like them, a day to love them, but it would take our  whole lives to forget them.”

These words ring very true for the most recent recipient of a Habitat home, whose family is a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas.

With their recent move to their new location in Carrollton, the members of MCCGD have already begun their mission to serve others within the surrounding communities by volunteering, this summer, to be a part of the North Collin County Habitat for Humanity project.

In the more than 20 years since it began, this branch of Habitat for Humanity has built 63 homes with a service area that includes Frisco, Celina, Melissa, Mckinney, Princeton and all the way to Farmersville.

A typical Habitat home is built within a 12-week span of time, depending on the amount of volunteer participation. The sponsors of this project were Stonebriar Community Church Frisco, led by Pastor Roy Williamson, and The Hartford. They funded the building of the house and supplied volunteers.

Additionally, groups, such as the information technology company IOLAP and churches, including MCCGD, got involved to provide the additional volunteers necessary to complete the project, which was ahead of schedule by four weeks. Key personnel, besides the volunteers, were house leader Russ Waite, volunteer coordinator Andrea Tabor and recipient mentor Dawn Serr.

Knowing the recipient personally and having her family as a member of their congregation, MCCGD Pastor Colleen Darraugh and her congregation said they were delighted to be a part of the project, even if in a small way.

“This project is about relationships; it’s about our mission, about serving, to move into the community and outside of our church walls,” Darraugh said. “It’s about meeting a need.”

There are many ways to support a Habitat build, the pastor stressed, regardless of one’s physical handicaps or scheduling conflicts.

“Collecting water or praying for the safety of the volunteers, the well being of the family or for a successful build, are just some of the ways anyone can support these kinds of projects,” Darraugh said.

Gene Goodwin, a friend of the recipient  and fellow MCCGD member, was part of the build since the beginning and helped to put up doors and paint baseboards.
Other MCCGD members who were unskilled in carpentry, like Milly Crawford and Mary Ann Miller, discovered that every job was important as they held the tall ladders when necessary or helped with clean up.

Darlene Hays of MCCGD worked on a Saturday when the frame was already standing, helping out by handing to those who needed them. By the end of her day on the project, the roof decking had been put in and the siding completed; save for the doors and windows.

Hayes said it was more than just her affiliation with MCCGD and the church’s involvement that made her want to participate in the Habitat for Humanity project.

“I’ve always been blessed with a safe home, and I will do anything I can for someone else to have that as well,” Hayes said.

The Habitat recipient said the experience was about more than just having a house built for her.

“Yes, this project will provide me with a home. But I’m getting more, because it’s about being with community and organizations, and being with other church members,” she said.

She thanked everyone who helped with the project, and said she would remember each one of them every time she walked into her new home.

While North Collin County Habitat for Humanity, as with other Habitat branches, relies on large donations from churches and organizations to fund the homes the agency builds, anyone can give donate to the organization and in any amount. Word of mouth and fundraisers are others ways by which NCC Habitat for Humanity has received support.

It takes about $60,000 to build a house and those dollars are harder and harder to come by in this economy. Habitat does not pay labor costs, which is why volunteers are vital to the organization.

For more information on North Collin County Habitat for Humanity, go online to NCC-Habitat.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Because gay Pride wouldn’t be gay Pride unless the MCC offended some right-wing motorists

Dallas Pride must be getting close, because the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas has again taken out billboards on area interstates saying — as The 33 News puts it in the above report — that “Jesus loves gays!”

This year’s billboards went up last week along Interstate 35, one near Walnut Hill and one near Regal Row. One billboard says, “Jesus affirmed a gay couple” and the other says, “The early church welcomed a gay man.”

Last year the MCC church took out similar billboards on Interstate 30 as part of the “Why Would We?” campaign.

“We knew that they were provocative and we went with a billboard that would be provocative in order to get dialogue,” MCC Pastor Colleen Darraugh explains. “If it’s not, people don’t talk about it.”

One woman tells The 33: “I don’t think it should be on a billboard. I think that if people have opinions they should keep them within their circles.”

But our new BFF Debbie Clark gets the last word: “In today’s world it’s accepted, and if people don’t accept it, I think something’s wrong with them.”

—  John Wright