LGBT Oral History 081: Mary Merriman

Number of Pages: 
August 28, 2013

Born in Chicago, IL in 1949 to a Catholic family, Mary Merriman joined the Air Force in 1967, where she struggled with her sexuality due to the environment, eventually becoming pregnant and discharging from the military before giving her son up for adoption. She attended Montgomery College in Maryland and received a degree in psychology, after which she and her then-partner moved down to Tampa, FL. Merriman got licensed and ordained as a pastor and started a Metropolitan Community Church in Lakeland, FL in 1983, where she and the congregation dealt with the difficulties of forming an LGBT church in a conservative town as well as the emergence of AIDS. In 1987, she was called to serve as pastor at Vision of Hope MCC in Lancaster, PA, a position which she held until 1995, navigating the creation of Lancaster’s Human Rights Ordinance and the process of buying the church’s current building in Mountville, PA. Since earning her Master of Social Work degree, she has worked as a social worker at Community Care Behavioral Health in Camp Hill, PA. In this interview, she discusses her involvement in the LGBT community, especially in the area of religion, and the advances that the community has made over time.

Time Period: 
Gift of Mary Merriman
LGBT Oral History - Merriman, Mary - 081
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections