In 1987 the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco (MCCSF) started recording their worship services. The queer-identified church was located in the Castro, the city’s gay neighborhood and ground zero of the AIDS epidemic there. They recorded the services so that people too sick to attend could still be part of church life. And the recordings that remain tell vivid stories about what the years before AIDS treatment were like for a community of queer believers who turned to church to get through a crisis.
Historian Lynne Gerber has been working with MCCSF’s archive of recordings for over a decade. In 2021 she and two co-authors partnered with OSU’s American Religious Sounds Project (ARSP) to create “The Pink and Purple Church in the Castro,” an online gallery exhibit that tells the story of MCCSF largely through its audio recordings.
At this event, Gerber and ARSP co-director Isaac Weiner will share some of these recordings, and talk about MCCSF’s history and its archive, what it tells us about queer faith and the history of AIDS, and how sound can evoke religious stories, worlds and lives.
Trinity Episcopal Church is located in downtown Columbus at 125 E. Broad St., Columbus, 43215. Parking can be found on S. 3rd Street, or in the underground parking lot below the Ohio Statehouse across the street.