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Remembering San Diego LGBT icon and faith leader Rev. David Farrell

Reverend David Farrell passed away peacefully on July 20.
Photo credit:
Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Denomination - Facebook

San Diego lost Reverend David Farrell, an LGBT member, and important faith leader on July 20, 2018. He passed peacefully according to the Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego (MCCSD).

Reverend David, served the community as Senior Pastor of the MCCSD for 20 years but was also a trailblazer who embraced his community at a point in history when gay people were only beginning to find their strength. 

"Rev. David Farrell was one of our community's most respected and beloved pioneers who helped build our community in the 1970s when almost everyone was in the closet," stated City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez. "Our community will always be in debt to this man who dedicated his entire life to make our world a better place for all of us; indeed the LGBT community has lost one of its icons."

Rev. David's work helped the community navigate to the safe space of he MCCSD through the tumultuous times of the LGBT civil rights movement of the early 70's and throughout the AIDS crisis. He started World AIDS Day observations which have gone from intimate vigils to nationwide reflections that remind the world to remember those impacted by HIV and AIDS.

Not willing to serve only in the confines of the church he rallied the community and banded them together to fight for equal rights. He led the effort in challenging Anita Bryant's homophobic campaign called "Save our Children" in 1977, and the Briggs initiative; a referendum on the 1978 California state ballot to ban LGBT people from working in schools.

Both Rev. David and MCC founder, Rev. Troy Perry would also participate in the many fundraising dinners when they traveled on the Capital Campaign tour. For his work, December 3 is named as Reverend David Farrell Day in San Diego.

After 20 years at the MCCSD, Rev. David stepped down in 1995 and began another journey, one of technology. Rev. David was the founding manager of the Universally For The Metropolitan Community Church and Gay Rights (UFMCC) website then moved on to the Metropolitan Community Church's page before his retirement in 2006. 

In his golden years, Rev. David relocated to the Southern California desert to enjoy the sun and the company of his husband Gil Caldwell.

"After David retired as pastor of the church in San Diego, they moved in retirement to Palm Springs, California, where they've resided until now," said Rev. Troy. "We considered David and Gil two of our closest friends. Please keep Gil in your thoughts and prayers."

He adds: "David was one of the pioneers of our movement. There are just so many stories. Phillip and I already miss him...the Psalmist David wrote in Psalms 116:15, 'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of God's saints.'" 

Rev. Dan Koeshall is the current Senior Pastor for the MCCSD and says he is forever grateful for Rev. David and the pioneering work he did both in the MCC and the San Diego LGBT community, "There are many of us who stand on Rev. David's shoulders as we continue the work of Spiritual Transformation, Inclusion, Social Action, and Community.  He will be missed."

In a social media statement from MCCSD, they say they are currently working with MCC officials and Mr. Caldwell on a date and time to honor Rev. David's legacy, allow the communally to grieve, "and celebrate the limitless testimonies of the impact of his life."

For more information, they say to contact Rev. Caedmon Grace, Minister of Congregational Life (through July 31st) at caedmon@themetchurch.org or Lee Bowman at lee@themetchurch.org, Minister of Administration & Communications (beginning August 1).