Colleen Darraugh was born and raised in Canada, around Toronto. She was the first female trombone major at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto where she obtained her Bachelor of Music degree. She was labeled a feminist even before she really understood what that meant! Colleen obtained her M.Div. at Emmanuel College, part of the Toronto School of Theology, an ecumenical consortium affiliated with the University of Toronto. She attended seminary as an out lesbian and member of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). This was prior to any of the Canadian denominations officially welcoming or accepting LGBT people. Due to her ministry with LGBT closeted students (in addition to her local congregational work), Colleen dates her pastoral ministry from her first year of seminary (1982).
While a seminary student, as an MCC’er and an out lesbian, Colleen was involved with the Canadian Council of Churches, the Ecumenical Forum of Canada, and the World Council of Churches, thanks to her mentor, the Right Reverend Dr. Lois Wilson. From roots in the Salvation Army to MCC and through her ecumenical involvements, Colleen has always had a deep love for worship, music and ecumenical diversity. Her ecumenical work included:
- Co-facilitator of the Theological Students Conference at The World Council of Churches, Vancouver, Canada 1983
- Christian Movement for Peace – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – staff member 1984-85
- One of two Canadian delegates to attend conference and peaceful demonstration against the US Cruise Missile base in Sicily, Italy
- Delegate to the World Council of Churches Consultation on Worship and Music, 1985
- Delegate to the World Council of Churches Consultation on Mission and Evangelism, 1989
- Speaker and delegate at the World Council of Churches, Consultation to the General Secretary on Human Sexuality, held at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, in Bossey, Switzerland in 2000 – appointed by MCC, National Ecumenical Ministry Officer
- MCC appointed representative to the Inclusiveness and Justice sub-committee of Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ, USA 2000-2002
- Authorized Field Education/Internship Mentor Pastor by Brite Divinity School and Southern Methodist University’s, Perkins School of Theology as well as being a certified MCC Supervising Pastor
Rev. Colleen Darraugh came to MCC in 1980. As a lay person, she was the Music Director at MCC Toronto. After seminary and co-pastoring in London, Ontario, Canada, she became the part-time solo pastor of MCC Kingston, Ontario. While in London, Colleen became involved with HIV/AIDS education and prevention, a work she continued in Kingston with the Kingston AIDS Project. In 1988, she was hired by MCC Dallas (later known as Cathedral of Hope) to serve as their second staff pastor responsible for Worship, Music and HIV Ministries. In 1990, she became the Senior Pastor of Harvest MCC, in Denton, Texas where she served for 10 years, leading them through growth and two property purchases. The last property purchase required Rev. Darraugh to live on the property to maintain the grand-parented residential zoning while the church dealt with the city, neighbors and accompanying hate crimes. The church was awarded the required permits! In February 2000, she began serving as a worship consultant to MCC’s and other churches through her company Worship Wisdom. In 2003, Rev. Darraugh became an intentional interim Pastor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to which she commuted from Dallas! The fall of 2004 brought her full circle back to Dallas and the congregation of MCC of Greater Dallas. For 5 months she served both part-time positions in Sioux Falls and Dallas. In January of 2005 she became the full-time Lead Pastor of MCC of Greater Dallas where she continues to serve. Colleen was Chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth area coalition for the “What Would Jesus Do?” Campaign (2008-2010).
Rev. Darraugh served as Liturgist for four MCC General Conferences - 1999 (Los Angeles), 1997 (Sydney, Australia), 1995 (Atlanta) and 1993 (Phoenix). Rev. Darraugh was instrumental in including music and worship resources from different cultures and languages in those General Conferences. She was the Worship Coordinator for the MCC Region 8 Conference in 2004 (Denver). Some of Rev. Darraugh’s original worship resources have been published in Equal Rites (edited by Kittredge Cherry), two collected works of worship resources edited by Geoffrey Duncan and her self-published work “From the Gathered Community”. She has been completing a book of devotions: Musings from the Garden: Rural Meditations for Urban Dwellers.
Colleen’s pastoral ministry also included community involvement. Under her leadership, Harvest MCC, Denton, Texas obtained Ryan White Title funding to establish the first HIV/AIDS Food Pantry and Day Center in Denton County. The church also provided space and support for the establishment of a Buddy Program and a new branch of AIDS Interfaith Network. Rev. Darraugh served as an Advisory Board Member for Ryan White Title 6 Fund Distribution for North Texas. During the decade she pastored in Denton, Colleen was frequently a Campus speaker in Social Work, Psychology, Counseling and Feminist Study divisions at the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University. Colleen was also a member of the Denton chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute and frequent trainer. From that work, Rev. Darraugh served as a community liaison for the establishment of the Safe Zone and Allies Program at UNT. She continues to partner with the Pride Alliance, Office of Spiritual Life and Office of Equity and Diversity at the University of North Texas.
Beyond the church, her life is always filled with music. She was one of the founding members of The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, led a small vocal ensemble - Soundscape, and sang in the first several years of the mixed chorus Resounding Harmony (Dallas). She performed with them at Carnegie Hall and the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. More recently, Colleen taught herself to play the electric bass so she could play with the Praise Team at MCC of Greater Dallas!
Rev. Colleen Darraugh lives with her spouse, Shelly Torres-West (an accomplished jazz singer) in Aubrey, Texas on 3 acres of land with their dogs, outside cats and chickens. Colleen loves to spend time in her large vegetable garden. They also love to RV travel with their 84 year old friend and neighbor for whom they care. Shelly and Colleen were legally married in Canada in 2005 and are parents of a grown son.
(This biographical statement provided by Colleen Darraugh.)
MCC | Artist/musician/poet | Clergy Activist | EXHIBIT Rolling the Stone Away