Founded in 1991, Safe Harbour was a gay Christian church built and run by the GBLT community, in the Metropolitan Community Church family. Halifax's MCC had lesbian or gay clergy, and an almost entirely queer congregation. It celebrated its last service on June 19, 2011.
Safe Harbour was founded by JJLyon, RobertByers, BruceMoore? and TerryParker in February, 1991 after the successful experience of holding an evening of Christmas Carol Singing, where several people expressed an interest in getting together for worship. A dozen or so people began meeting in the small Board Room at the AidsCoalition Office on Gottingen St.
In September, 1991, the congregation officially became part of MCC and started to use the name Safe Harbour MCC. It was at this same time that the congregation had out grown the space at the PWA Coalition and started worshiping at Brunswick St. United Church.
Safe Harbour also established and maintained the MannaForHealth Food Bank -- which supplies food for people facing serious illness and poverty.
1991 also found the congregation holding its first Community Christmas Dinner at St. John's United Church where they fed about 100 people and has been an annual event since then.
In September, 1992 the congregation hired Rev. DarleneYoung, ordained to the Metropolitan Community Church in 1996, to be the first minister of Safe Harbour MCC and she continued to pastor the congregation until her death in 2008.
With continued growth and the need for more space for programs and social events the congregation was invited to move to the UniversalistUnitarianChurch on Inglis St. in the fall of 1992.
In April, 1993, Safe Harbour officially welcomed its first members when 20 people joined the church. Among those who first joined were three of the churches founders, JJLyon (who went on to become clergy in MCC in 1996 and pastor a church in Fredericton NB), BruceMoore? and RobertByers (who began Safe Harbour's web ministry through the development of the web space in 1997.)
The church also established a special needs food bank, MannaForHealth in November, 1996 for those living with HIV/AIDS and other life threatening illnesses. The food bank, though once located in the AidsCoalition offices, now has its own home in BloomfieldCenter.
On Sunday, September 5, 2004, the congregation celebrated its first service in its own space in BloomfieldCenter.
After spending two years at Bloomfield Center the congregation then moved to its last location, VeithHouse in Halifax's north end, where they continued to meet for worship on Sundays at 11am. Much of the text, and all of the words of the hymns, of the service were projected on a screen at the back of the sanctuary. This and leading the music, were done by GaryLeBlanc?.
On September 12, 2008, DarleneYoung passed away.
On March 20, 2011, Rev. Jen announced that she could no longer lead the congregation and was moving back to the USA; on March 25, 2011 members and friends were sent a recommendation from the Board that the church cease operations; on April 3, 2011 the recommendation was rejected during the first part of the 2011 AGM; during the second part on April 17, 2011, it was accepted. The last service was conducted by Rev. Jen on Easter Sunday, 2011.
Later that month, previous interim pastor BobBond? wrote an open letter to the Safe Harbour Community supporting Rev. Jen's position, naming some of the problems within the church, and responding to some gossip that he had heard.
There is an archive of the website, taken in 2010-10 here including the 2008 Annual Report.