Rev. Dr. Joan Saniuk will be installed as pastor of Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Sacred Journey on June 4.

Church installs new pastor

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Sacred Journey will install the Reverend Dr. Joan Saniuk as its new pastor on June 4 at its worship service at 5:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 1735 5th Ave. W.

The Rev. Amy Lambert-Burns will serve as guest preacher.

Prior to the installation, a social hour will be held at 4 p.m. with heavy hors d’oeuvres and mingling.

Saniuk has been an ordained clergywoman in MCC since 1997. As pastor of MCC Boston, she was a founding member of the Massachusetts Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. Saniuk earned an M.A. in feminist spirituality at the Immaculate Heart College Center in Los Angeles, Calif. and earned a Doctor of Ministry in 2008 at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. Her doctoral thesis studied the traumatic psychological effects of anti-LGBTQ hostility on LGBTQ individuals and described the implications for the dynamics of LGBTQ-affirming congregations. She lives in Hendersonville, N.C. with her wife Sharilyn Steketee. Learn more about Saniuk’s life by reading qnotes’ Spiritual Reflections column on page 5.


PFLAG speaker announced

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. — On June 5, 7 p.m., in the Education Building of Providence Baptist Church, 1201 Oakland St., the Flat Rock-Hendersonville Chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays will host Kaley Fry, interim national program director of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere.

Fry, who is transgender, will share their experiences growing up in Charlotte, N.C. with their lesbian mothers.

The event is free and open to the public.


Youth org names new staff

HICKORY, N.C. — OUTright Youth of Catawba Valley has announced that Anna Watson has become the associate director, which was effective in May.

Watson received her B.S. degree in political science from Appalachian State University. She has served on the board of directors and has volunteered for OUTright Youth for the past two years, bringing experience in fundraising for this organization.

During her time as a volunteer, Watson has enjoyed meeting and working with LGBTQ youth and their allies in the Catawba Valley. As a board member, she has enjoyed working with the community to ensure youth have a safe place to find their voice. She will continue her work in a greater capacity to ensure LGBTQ youth and their allies have a safe, inclusive and encouraging environment, she said.

Waston resides in Conover, N.C. with her husband, Thomas.


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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.