Lori E. Rivera, Pastor
Reverend Lori E. Rivera
was ordained August 29, 2004. She received her Masters of
Divinity June 6, 2004 from Florida Center for Theological
Studies in Miami, Florida. She completed her clergy internship
at SunCoast Cathedral MCC in Venice, Florida and her formation
studies at MCC of the Palm Beaches in Palm Beach Gardens,
Florida. She also completed a Clinical Pastoral Education
program (chaplain intern) at Tampa General Hospital. Rev. Lori
was on staff as the Associate Pastor in Church Management
(church administrator) at SunCoast from August 2004 until
Prior to entering the
ministry, Rev. Lori worked as a middle school science teacher
and department chair for 14 years in Palm Beach County,
She obtained a BA in History and her teaching credentials from
[now Palm Beach
in 1989. Before attending college in 1985, Rev. Lori worked for
10 years in the medical field as a clerk in the hospital setting
and in an eye doctor’s office.
Rev. Lori was born in
the second of four children (all brothers). Rev. Lori, her
parents, and her two younger brothers moved to Florida
in 1973. She became involved in the local Southern Baptist
church and felt the call to ministry in her early twenties.
Dealing with many issues in her life, she fought against
answering God’s call until her early forties. Working to
overcome the issues in her life led her to Psalm 27,
especially verses 1-4: “The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of
whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to devour my
flesh – my adversaries and foes – they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. One
thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in
the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the
beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in God’s temple.” These
verses became her lifeline.
Rev. Lori and her partner Darlene met as
teenagers where they attended high school and the same baptist
church. They became life partners in January 1985, purchased
their first home in July 1985 and celebrated a Holy Union on
July 7, 1990. Darlene was introduced to MCC by a friend at work
and she led Rev. Lori to MCC. A big push to Rev. Lori’s
involvement with MCC was when her youngest brother attacked her
with his Bible and the anti-gay (texts of terror) scriptures.
Rev. Lori had a desire to be able to answer him back as she
learned that yes one could be a homosexual and a Christian. Rev.
Lori and Darlene were also asked to leave their Baptist church
due to their sexual orientation.
Rev. Lori finally answered God’s call to
ministry when it became more unbearable not to answer. “I truly
believe that God’s timing is amazing. I needed that time of
maturity, learning to work with others, learning the skills of
administration and personal growth to be prepared to enter
ministry.” Seminary continued the growth that began as a teacher
but many new skills were learned as she moved from the secular
work place to the church.
Rev. Lori and Darlene currently live outside
Harrisburg in Lower Paxton Township. They are having a wonderful
time exploring and getting to know PA. They especially enjoy
hiking (in the cooler times of the year) and visiting many of
the “tourist” sights around the area.
“I feel truly blessed to be called to MCC of
the Spirit. I believe God has brought me here for just a time as
this to grow with the people of this church and to learn
together to reach out into our community with the grace and love
of God. Darlene and I look forward to many years of service and
ministry to and with MCC-Spirit.”
Sierra Bingham, Church Administrator
Bio coming soon!