Longtime LGBT-serving church to relocate from Castro to Polk Street

A church that has considered itself to be the spiritual heart of the Bay Area LGBT community for 45 years announced Thursday it has accepted buyer offers for its Castro site and an adjacent four-unit residential building, and will relocate to Polk Street.

The Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco had talked about moving for the past 10 to 15 years and “it's just that all the pieces fell together now,” said Maureen Bogues, vice moderator for the church's board of directors.

Members of the congregation numbering 92 people voted unanimously in December to sell the church building at 150 Eureka St. and the four-unit building at 138-140 Eureka St. The properties were put on the market in early January and the church accepted offers from two different buyers last Wednesday.

The church in 1980 bought 150 Eureka St., then an 80-year-old building, for $250,000. In 2006, the congregation had to vacate for a year and a half because a wall had buckled, and could not use the upstairs when they returned in 2008.

The new arrangement – renting space from First Congregational Church of San Francisco at 1300 Polk St. – signifies a homecoming of sorts, Bogues said, because Polk Street was considered The City's gay neighborhood before the Castro.

The Metropolitan Community Church is scheduled to have its final Sunday services at 150 Eureka St. at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 1 and move into the new facility on Feb. 5

“It's cliché, but the church is the people, not the building,” she said. “We can't do the social justice work we want to do in the community when we have this building that is requiring so much energy and so much fundraising to keep it going, so this will free us up.”

Of the four-unit residential building fully occupied with tenants, Bogues said she knew little of their fate because a property company manages it for Metropolitan Community Church.

“It was an investment property for the church,” she said, adding that whether the tenants will continue to live there is “between the buyer and the tenants.”

Metropolitan Community Church's senior pastor, Rev. Robert Shively, who has been on staff since October 2013, took leadership of both sales.

Unlike the church building, the residential units are in a “totally viable building,” said Bogues, noting there was a reason behind its sale.

“This will help us because we still have to pay rent and this will give us the cushion, some breathing room so we can support our programs,” she said. “We don't know what the next few years will bring for the congregation but we really hope it can grow.”

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