Roy Birchard was born in July, 1943, in Middlebury, Vermont, to Adrian Birchard and Winifred Killoran. He graduated from Berea College in Kentucky in 1965 with an English major and earned a B.D. (M.Div.) degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1969.
Birchard was ordained in June, 1969, by the Addison Association of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ. He returned to school beginning a Ph.D. program in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his year there, Birchard came out as a gay man. Then he moved back to New York City where he became involved with the Gay Activists Alliance while working as a copy editor in the United Presbyterian Church headquarters (1970 to 1975).
Birchard served on the board of directors of the newly-formed Metropolitan Community Church in New York City from 1971 to 1972 and then served as that congregation's pastor from 1973 to 1975. Over the following twenty years, Birchard pastored a number of MCC congregations: MCC of Tidewater, Norfolk, Virginia (1977-78); MCC of Greater St. Louis (1978-80); All God's Children MCC, Minneapolis (1982-85); MCC Hawaii, Honolulu (1985-87); and Golden Gate MCC, San Francisco (1992-1994).
He also served in a variety of leadership positions in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, including: editor, The Gay Christian (1971-73); Board of Elders (1974-75); Director and Ecumenical Relations Director of the Washington Office (1975-77); Ministerial Credentials Committee (1977-81); and Circuit Rider, MCC Illiamo, Quincy, Illinois (1981-82).
He has lived in San Francisco since 1987 and cooperated with MCC efforts to initiate congregations in Asia and an Asian-American support group. Since 1989 he has been studying Mandarin Chinese. In 1997 he officially retired from MCC ministry.
Since 1998 he has been actively involved with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (www.forusa.org), an interfaith peace and justice organization where he focuses on U.S. - China and Taiwan issues. He also works as an overseas volunteer researcher for Encounter Missions International of Long Beach, California ( www.emiglobal.org), and several Hong Kong church and peace/justice groups. He is a prayer partner for EMI and the several independent Tongzhi (LGBT) congregations in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Birchard attends the Freedom in Christ Evangelical Church in San Francisco.
(This biographical statement written from information provided by Roy Birchard.)
Biography Date: May, 2006
MCC | Presbyterian Church (USA) | Clergy Activist | Taiwan | Birchard, Roy