The Rev. Elder Dr. Charlie Arehart was born in Kansas City, Missouri, October 23, 1946. He was educated in the Kansas City public school system. He graduated from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1968, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Education. In 1971, he graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. He completed 18 hours toward a M.A. in recent American and ancient history at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. In 1982, he graduated with the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from the lliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He has taken a number of other classes, seminars, and workshops in the years following.
Charlie was reared in the United Methodist Church. At the age of 18 he became a Christian, and a few weeks later began teaching Sunday School and working with the youth at the Blue Ridge Blvd. United Methodist Church, Raytown, Missouri. He was Youth Director at the Platte Woods United Methodist Church (Kansas City, Missouri) from 1968-1969. He pastored the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in central Missouri during the summers of 1969 and 1970, and the Coal United Methodist Church during the summer of 1970. In May, 1971, Rev. Arehart was appointed by the bishop to pastor St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Raymore, Missouri (K.C. suburb).
Charlie joined Metropolitan Community Church of Kansas City in September, 1973, and in November, 1973, was elected Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Rockies (Mission), Denver, Colorado, and left the ministry of the United Methodist Church to begin his ministry with MCCR on January 6-7, 1974. He retired from MCC of the Rockies in August, 1995, after serving this congregation for twenty-one years and eight months.
In the fall of 1995, Charlie's ministry was granted "special works status" by the Mid-Central District Committee (Mountain and Plains District). "A Ministry of Study, Preaching, Teaching, Writing and Interim Work" was a ministry established to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing the light of the liberating Gospel through study, teaching, preaching, education, writing, interim service, and denominational work. During this period of his life he lived in his "family's summer home" on the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. Since the fall of 1995, he taught Pastoral Care for Samaritan Institute for Religious Studies; served as interim pastor for MCC Richmond (VA) October, 1996-May, 1997; MCC of Greater St. Louis (MO) May, 1997-March, 1998; and first MCC of Atlanta (GA) January-August, 2000; and accepted a number of preaching engagements; and taught several workshops.
In September 2000, Charlie was elected Senior Pastor of MCC Las Vegas. On September 30, 2005, he "retired" from this position. On June 15, 2008, flunking retirement again, Charlie began an 18-month assignment as Interim Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Washington D.C. It ended December 31, 2009. On Palm Sunday, 2010 he began his final pastoral assignment as Pastor of Water of Life Metropolitan Community Church in Tucson, Arizona. He retired from this congregation, December 31, 2014. On December 31, 2015, he retired from active Pastoral Ministry with Metropolitan Community Churches. Like all retired MCC pastors he has "retired credentials", and maintains his membership in the Denomination. He enjoys retirement in Las Vegas, NV.
Charlie was ordained a Deacon by the United Methodist Church in 1969, and ordained an Elder with full Annual Conference Connection in 1972. He was licensed by the UFMCC in January, 1974, and ordained by the UFMCC in August, 1975. He was honorably released (Voluntary Location) from the ministry of the United Methodist Church in by the Missouri West Annual Conference in May,1977.
Charlie Arehart has served the UFMCC as Assistant District Coordinator for the Mid-Central District August, 1974-August, 1975, and District Coordinator for the Mid-Central District, August, 1975-August, 1976. He served on the Ministerial Credentials and Affairs Committee at the Seventh General Conference, 1976. He served three terms on the Board of Elders; 1976-1979, 1979-1983, and 1987-1991. He served as Secretary to the Board of Pensions 1984-1997. In 1997, he served as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Samaritan Institute for Religious Studies. He served on the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Mountains and Plains District, 1997-2000.
Charlie has always been active in-service organizations. He is an Eagle Scout with three plams, the former Master Counselor of the Raytown Chapter Order of DeMolay, and has been given the honorary Chevalier degree by the Order of DeMolay. He is a 50+ year member of the Raytown Masonic Lodge #391, Raytown, MO; a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason. Recently he “demitted” his active membership in both the Ararat Shrine Temple in K.C., MO, and the Order of Eastern Star in Denver, CO. While pastoring in Denver he served on the Honorary Board of Directors of the Colorado AIDS Project, and on the Board of Directors of the Alexander Foundation. He was a member of the Denver Chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Colorado, the Colorado Gay Rodeo Association, and the Denver Professional Men's Club. He also attended the functions of The Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire, The Knights of Malta, The Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club, and Dignity, Denver.
Perhaps the most important part of Charlie's ministry is his honesty, with himself and others. Prior to his election in November, 1973, he sent the leadership of MCC of the Rockies (Mission) a letter which stated, in part: "I've been gay ever since I can remember... I was gay that evening when I knelt in my bedroom and asked Christ into my heart at the age of eighteen... I was gay in September, 1967, when I stood on the infield of the Kansas City Athletics Stadium after the Billy Graham Crusade meeting and felt God impress God's demand that I preach deep into my heart... I was gay all the way through Seminary as I studied... and I'm still gay. God knows me better than I know me... and now I see an outline of the path I am to take. I'm ready to align myself with MCC."
P.S. Revising this bio I realize I “was” a lot of things over the many decades of my life. I finally got off the “fast moving treadmill of life”. I enjoyed living these years, they were a “blast”. Pastoral Ministry was my passion! However, it is wonderful being retired.
The writer of Ecclesiastes 3 says it well: “For everything there is a season, and time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time and a time to dance; a time to through stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound-That saved a soul like me! I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see. When we’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.”
I look forward to sharing “the ages” with YOU in the presence of (as The Rev. Dr. Norman Pittenger used to say) the Cosmic Lover of the Universe.
Big Hug and Agape’, Once a “I Was” but am now just plain ordinary “old” Charlie
(This biographical statement provided by Charlie Arehart.)
Biography Date: February, 2009; rev. July 2021
MCC | Arehart, Charles Richard
“Rev. Dr. Charlie Arehart | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed January 30, 2023, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/charlie-arehart.
“Charlie was the first pastor of MCC Denver where we met him and Rev Dusty Pruitt, Deacon Jan Kross and church secretary Betty Fairchild. It was the beginning of our 46 years together and we will never forget the kind and loving leadership he gave each of us in his congregation. Now back in Denver we are meeting again people we met then and making new friends as well. We will always be grateful to Charlie and hope that our paths may cross again.”
– as remembered by William Fry & Darryl Sanchez on March 26, 2022
“My very first delightful encounter occurred on Sunday, July 3rd, 2011. I was invited to join the birthday celebration of my dear friend's one year old grandson (June Melendez and Reese), I met this precious man, and knew I had "come home." I remained "home", contributing in every way possible, in capacities that might reinforce and improve. Dr. Charlie's time there ended on December 31, 2014.
My dear friend has recently invited me to visit our church; I've remained a member all these years, on inactive status. My own personal life experienced major changes during that same period. Dr. Charlie is in my thoughts on an enduring basis. What I wouldn't give to see him on this upcoming occasion. Wherever you are, dear, dear friend, know how much you are cherished!”
– as remembered by Ellen Megan Davia on March 14, 2022
“I met Charles in 1979 at a time when I was conflicted about the hate and judgement coming from the fundamentalists and the Jerry Falwell types. Charles was an Eagle Scout and also not ashamed to identify as Gay and Christian,I didn't even think at the time that one could be gay and a Christian.This met a great deal to me at the time as did the fact that he was an Elder in MCC and also was Pastor of a Church in Denver. It was about being true to oneself which I was failing miserably at the time but also helping to organize and hold together a movement of Faith which was becoming very vibrant and holding an image of a Good Shepherd who loved and care for all of His sheep.This was new and Charles reached out and made it possible.
It is easy to put leaders on pedestals but Charles was also very human and I will never forget how much he loved to laugh.
Charles was also great at managing conflict and also made connections to institutions and people in a very profound way. I will never forget a District Church Meeting in Toronto in 1980 where he helped spear head a ministry and help to the "Boat People" who were coming from Cuba seeking freedom. This was an example of his compassion and also Charles's desire to make the Holy Gospel about All of Creation and All of God's people.This love of Creation showed itself too in how much Charles loved to drive up into the mountains of Colorado which is where I was lucky enough to eat that wonderful chili.
Charles is once of the kindest sweetest men I have ever known.he is dedicated to His Lord and is a vital nurturing man.He is full of the joy of life and is full of love for all Creation.He also knows how to make great artichokes and "cowboy coffee". I was lucky to know him and my very good friend Heathcliff misses him very much.”
– as remembered by Stephen Montgomery on October 9, 2017
“Gary Bernard and I have known Charlie since the early days of MCC of the Rockies, back in 1974. Charlie performed our Holy Union on September 14, 1975. Subsequently, on our 38th anniversary he did our Civil Union, renewing our vows. He was a great spiritual leader and a longtime dear friend. I recall that Charlie worked tirelessly with Jerald Gerash, attorney and activist, and with Denver police department and city council to end police harassment of the GLBT community. On the humorous side, Charlie, Danny (his partner at the time), Gary and I spent a weekend together at our family's mountain cabin. Charlie and Danny had just gotten a new, early-model four-wheel-drive Subaru. When going over Miskito Pass--which was 9 to 10% grade--the Subaru stalled. We all had to get out and push the vehicle over the pass. The car didn't have the power to handle the grade. They traded in the car shortly thereafter. ”
– as remembered by Hadley Hazen on October 10, 2016
“Charlie knew me by my middle name, “June.” I was a board member at MCC of the Rockies and he was my pastor from 1985-1990. Charlie was a wonderful pastor, and friend. He had a cozy home in the Colorado mountains and enjoyed entertaining friends. I have missed him for years and I am glad to see he rejoined the ministry. We watched many of our dear friends die of AIDS. It was a sad and wonderful time all rolled into growth years for all of us.”
– as remembered by Marti J. Smith on November 8, 2013
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