Pastor to retire

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rev. Catherine Houchins will be stepping down from her position as senior clergy at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Charlotte located at 7121 Orr Rd.

Her final service will take place on June 5 at 10:45 a.m.

Houchins has served as a minister with MCC for over 30 years and has spent the last eight years at the Charlotte church.

Leading up to the service, a birthday celebration for Houchins will be held on May 21, 7 p.m., at the church. Cathy Fisher and Mo Aulick will provide musicality to the event and Fisher will preach to the congregation on May 22 at its morning service. The couple are from Roanoke, Va., and are members of MCC of the Blue Ridge.

On May 7, the church had an opportunity to meet with Houchins interim replacement, Rev. Wanda Floyd, at a post RAIN AIDS Walk cookout. The following day, Floyd was the special guest preacher at MCCC’s morning service.

Floyd is no stranger to the Carolinas. She was the founder of Imani MCC of Durham. She has most recently served as interim pastor since May 18, 2014, at MCC Las Vegas in Nevada.


Youth org gears up for gala

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time Out Youth Center, 2320 N. Davidson St., is currently celebrating their 25th anniversary and is seeking sponsors for its “Platinum Gala: Believe in YOUth” to be held on June 3, 6:30 p.m., at Center Stage, 2315 N. Davidson St.

WCNC-TV anchor and reporter Ben Thompson will host the event that will be filled with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a silent art auction and more. Art auction items come from local artists and LGBT artwork.

Keynote speaker will be southern comic Fortune Feimster, who grew up in Gastonia, N.C. Variety named her one of their Top 10 Comics to Watch in 2014. She is also an accomplished actor, writer and LGBT spokesperson. Feimster served as a performer and writer on “Chelsey Lately” and can now be seen on Hulu’s “The Mindy Project.”

Sponsors are needed to secure the success of the gala and the center. They can be individuals, couples or corporations. Monetary levels start at $500 and go up to $10,000. A sponsorship commitment form is available online. Deadline is May 31.

Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online.


Partnership hits trails

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolinas CARE Partnership is hosting their Carolina Pop! Run 5k/10k on June 4, 9 a.m., at McAlpine Creek Park, 8711 Monroe Rd.

Participants will be able to enjoy jaunting along trails and enjoying treats along the way courtesy of The King of Pops.

Medals will be awarded to top category winners.

On-site registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by the run. The event will complete at 11:30 a.m.

All proceeds go to benefit the work of Carolinas CARE Partnership.

Registration is available online through June 2. The fee is $25/5k and $35/10k plus sign-up fees.


PowerHouse seeks participants

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The PowerHouse Project, 1420 Beatties Ford Rd., has announced that its “PowerHouse in the Park” will be held on June 25, 3 p.m., at Marshall Park, 800 E. 3rd St.

It is asking the community to get involved by becoming an exhibitor or vendor. More than 500 are expected to attend. Cost is $50/non-profit organizations, $75/for-profit businesses and $100/food vendors.

Performers are also being solicited. Send a 60-second clip to

Visit to download a participation form.

Deadline is June 10.


Mercy celebrates 25th anniversary

Residents enjoy the flowers and rocking chairs on the front porch at House of Mercy.
Residents enjoy the flowers and rocking chairs on the front porch at House of Mercy.

BELMONT, N.C. — In 1988, a Sister of Mercy from Guam (an organized territory of the U.S. in the northwest Pacific) stood at a Sisters of Mercy chapter meeting and asked, What are we going to do about the AIDS crisis!?

The Sisters decided to create a home to care for persons living with AIDS. It was named House of Mercy (HOM), after the home that Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, opened in Dublin, Ireland in 1827. The first House of Mercy was for unemployed and poor girls in need of shelter and education. The new HOM would provide a safe haven and compassionate care for persons living with AIDS.

Sisters Pauline Clifford and Rosalind Picôt met with Bishop John Donoghue to propose a partnership with the Charlotte Roman Catholic Diocese to create an AIDS ministry. Although the legal partnership was not pursued, the Charlotte Diocese contributed $100,000 and lent $100,000 for the Sisters to start the ministry.

The sisters provided the land for the home on their Belmont campus and created a board of directors. After much planning and fundraising, the new facility opened its doors on May 18, 1991, to address the growing AIDS epidemic and need for compassion and care. Since then, 320 residents have made HOM their home.

Before the advent of new medications around 1996, an AIDS diagnosis usually meant death within several years if not sooner. In the 1990s, many of their residents were gay men or persons who were infected through IV drug use. In the last five years, 64 percent of our residents have been African-American and 41 percent have been female. The HOM had also had an increase in Latino residents (7 percent) which led the AIDS ministry to hire Johaly Chavez, a bilingual coordinator of resident recreation and volunteers.

Stan Patterson, House of Mercy president since 1997, said, “House of Mercy cares for some of our most vulnerable citizens. On behalf of our residents and staff, I thank our community partners for 25 years of generous support. We could not continue this AIDS ministry without you.”

All residents of North Carolina are eligible for admission to HOM although the primary service area includes Gaston, Mecklenburg, Union, Anson, Stanly, Rowan, Cabarrus, Iredell, Lincoln and Cleveland counties.


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Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.