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Board Members

The Governing Board employs several officers to manage its duties, including Chairperson (held by the current Moderator of MCC), Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Chairperson –

 Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson

Member – Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin

Vice-Chairperson –

 Sarah-Jane Ramage

Member – Raquel Benitez-Rojas

Secretary –

 Rev. Onetta Brooks

Member – Rev. Clinton Crawshaw


 Gail Rissler

Member – Kareem Murphy

Member – Rev. Karen Thompson


Meet the Board

Raquel Benítez

Raquel Benítez,MBA is an entrepreneur and founder of successful companies in different fields. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from UCM, two masters’ degrees, MBA from UB and eight academic diplomas, Ms. Benítez has worked in a variety of academic and professional positions around the world. Benítez is member of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Toronto where she started along with her wife Carmen, the HOLA team, a welcoming and support group for Spanish speaking people. She also volunteers in other areas such as captain of the MCCT Drag’n Angels.

She has served  as Vice-chair of the UFMCC Governing Board where she serves in various commissions and committees such as development, finance and governance. She is also co-founder of MCC Spain and a supporter of MCC Cuba. Raquel is a member of the MCC Institute for development and formation for Iberoamerica. Raquel exemplifies the values & beliefs of her church community: Faith & Spirituality, Advocacy & Diversity, Care & Compassion.

Rev. Onetta Brooks

Rev. Onetta was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She matriculated through the L.A. Unified School District; received her BA in Mathematics from Pomona College; Master of Public Administration from California State University Dominguez Hills, CA and Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary/Southern California in 2007. She was UFMCC ordained in January 2007.

Onetta has thirty-four years of professional secular experience as a program manager/systems/software engineer for leading aerospace/defense industry contractors.

Since 1998, Rev. Onetta has been a member of MCC Los Angeles. She has served on numerous MCC leadership teams on the local church, regional and/or denominational level, including MCC’s Region 1 Worship Coordinator 2004; Region 6 Worship Coordinator 2009; Elders Nominating Committee 2009/10; Southern California Nevada Network Team 2009-2012 and MCC People of African Descent. She possesses spiritual gifts of wisdom, leadership, administration and discernment.

After receiving International Interim Specialist training in December 2007, Rev. Onetta served as an Intentional Interim Pastor for two MCC congregations: Christ Chapel MCC in Santa Ana, CA from December 2007-May 2009; and MCC of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, VA from June 2012-August 2013.

She was elected to the Governing Board in 2010 and has served on the Governance and Finance Committees. Also, she is a member of the Pomona College Alumni Association Board 2012-2015.

Rev. Dr. Robert Griffin

Dr. Griffin obtained his Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Florida Center for Theological Studies, Miami, FL.

In 20 years of MCC work Dr. Griffin has been a church planter (New Light MCC, Hagerstown, MD), a district conference planner, the MCC HIV/AIDS Program Manager, an assistant to three Elders (including the Moderator), a Project Manager for the Office of Clergy Development, and a staff minister at Sunshine Cathedral. Part of his work at Sunshine Cathedral has been to oversee the ministry of the Sunshine Cathedral site in Jamaica.

Dr. Griffin is an agent of social transformation, challenging institutional oppression and encouraging multicultural dialogue. In addition to being a member of the MCC Governing Board and a Trustee at the Episcopal Divinity School, Dr. Griffin currently serves as the Chief Programming Minister at Sunshine Cathedral.

Kareem Murphy

Kareem Murphy has been a member of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC since November 2005. He has served in numerous volunteer roles there with the Couples Ministry and Usher Team, as the Church Historian, Lay Delegate, and as a member of the Board of Directors. He previously organized UFMCC’s participation the National Equality March and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the 2010 General Conference in Acapulco and 2011 People of African Descent Conference in Washington, DC. He currently serves on the Moderator’s Public Policy Team, where is supports the Moderator service on the President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  As part of the Team, he represents MCC before the U.S. Government and in partnership with denominations, faiths, and faith-based advocacy groups.

In his professional life, he is a partner with The Ferguson Group, a Washington, DC-based lobbying firm.  He chairs the Health and Human Services and Emergency Management Practice Groups, leveraging his extensive work in HIV/AIDS domestic policy to benefit his firm’s local government clients.  In 2007, Kareem became the youngest person to be make partner at the firm.  Kareem arranged for his firm to provide pro bono advocacy services to MCC through the Global Justice Institute.

He makes his home in Washington, DC with his college sweetheart and husband of 21 years, Rev. DeWayne Davis, and their canine child Dmitri.

He holds a B.A. from Howard University and an M.A. From the University of Maryland, College Park.


Sarah-Jane Ramage

S-J is an assistant director in Deloitte’s UK restructuring services division of corporate finance.  In this role she is responsible for assisting businesses which are in financial trouble and managing businesses which have entered insolvency proceedings.  These roles regularly challenge her to make a little go a long way, to identify and implement creative solutions to complex and unusual problems.  She holds an MA from the University of Cambridge and is a chartered accountant.

She lives just outside Brighton on the South Coast of England with her partner Andrew and his two adult children.  She has been a member of MCC Brighton (UK) for 10 years, having searched for MCC since graduating in 2000.  She has served in a variety of roles both administrative and worship focused and currently serves on the Worship team and board of directors.  Since attending general conference in Acapulco in 2010, her interest in the wider denomination has grown and she served on the International Task Force during 2011 and 2012.  S-J has always demonstrated her faith in her secular life and truly embodies the values of MCC both spiritually and in matters of social justice and diversity, participating in her employers diversity network specifically considering trans and bisexual issues.


Gail Rissler

I have been an active member since 1996 when I found in MCC a church home that would truly honor my commitment to God and my relationships with others. My MCC experience includes facilitating the Denomination 2014 – 2018 Strategic Vision, Mission and Action Plan. I am working with several MCC churches facilitating their five-year strategic plan development and providing leadership guidance. As a local church member, I served as a Board member (Treasurer), facilitator, strategic planner, organizational development consultant, Spiritual Autobiography and Personal and Spiritual Strategic Planning teacher, Covenant Team member and silent retreat leader.  I co-authored and teach an advanced Servant Leadership program focused on ministry leader growth, development, planning and action. I completed the MCC Creating a Life That Matters course, attended MCC Church Size and Stewardship Summits, developed church policies and procedures and led stewardship and capital building initiatives. Currently, I am a member of King of Peace (KOP) MCC, a rapidly growing and enthusiastic congregation, where I serve as the Strategic Planning Ministry Leader and a Spiritual and Personal Development teacher.

As the owner of Rissler Consulting, LLC, I design, facilitate and teach strategic planning for profit-based businesses, government, non-profit organizations and individuals across the nation. Previously, I was the Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of McDonald Bradley, Inc., an information technology firm specializing in high-end data solutions for the Intelligence Community. I hold a B.S.P.A. and M.P.A. in Public Financial Management from Indiana University and am an active member of the Association for Strategic Planning. I am an internationally certified Strategic Management Professional and hold a Gold Mastery Certification in Reinventing Strategic Planning. I believe I would bring key core competencies to the MCC Governing board including leadership and vision, strategic planning, business operations, budget and forecasting, contracts management, personnel management, corporate management and communications, organizational development and growth, and teaching and facilitation skills.

Rev. Clinton Crawshaw

Rev. Clinton Crawshaw

Rev. Clinton Crawshaw was born in Woking, in the county of Surrey just to the southwest of London (UK) in 1970. He has two sisters, Natalie and Donna, and both parents, Alwyn and June are professional artists, broadcasters and authors.He moved with his parents to Devonshire at age eleven, then ran back to London ASAP at age 21. Rev Crawshaw went forward for ordination in The Church of England in his late twenties, and after studying at St Steven’s House, Oxford was ordained at St Paul’s cathedral, London in 2002. He served as a curate in North London for 2 years, during which time he began to question the Anglican position on human sexuality and pastoral care.

After much soul searching and a period of extended illness he transferred credentials to MCC in 2006, and has worked as chaplain at Carl Bean House, an HIV hospice in South Central Los Angeles, and interim Pastor of The MCC Church in New Orleans, which he saw grow (due to the hard work and faith of its members, and the devotion of his then partner, Leon) from a post Katrina low of 11 members to a thriving congregation of 95 members.

In May 2011 he was called to serve the congregation of MCC of The Coachella Valley as intentional interim Specialist, and is privileged to accompany that church through a period of intense growth and revival. In March 2013 he was invited (and accepted) to remain at MCCCV as permanent Senior Pastor.

Rev. Crawshaw’s interests are, theology, art, antiques, the great outdoors and his three dogs, Mardi (Puggle), Precious (Australian shepherd) and Zack (Keeshond).


Rev. Karen Thompson

Rev. Karen Thompson serves as the Sr. Pastor of MCC Austin in Austin, TX, USA, a position she has held since 2008. Prior to that, she served the church in administrative positions including as Director of Programs and Executive Pastor.

Rev. Thompson received her Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Seminary and became the first openly gay Candidate for Ministry in Mission Presbytery. Ultimately the Presbyterian Church USA overturned her approval for ordination, and assured that she had completed her part of the work to effect change in the PC(USA), she joined MCC and was ordained in 2007. She is grateful every day that MCC exists and that she is a clergy partner in MCC’s ministry.

Rev. Thompson brings her experience leading one of our larger MCC congregations, working as an Executive Pastor, and leading a very successful capital campaign and building project to her appointment to the Governing Board. Additionally, she adds experience as a former member of the MCC Joint Working Group, a team of MCC large church pastors and MCC senior staff that worked to increase collaboration and address issues of concern among all levels of MCC leadership.