Church of the Holy Spirit MCC was founded in Fort Lauderdale in 1971 by a group who were traveling to Miami to worship at Christ MCC (one of the first Metropolitan Community Churches outside of California). Ted Calloway was the first
pastor of the small group that met in private homes, bars, and for a while in the Realty Building Auditorium. Finally, the small group bought a property at SW 2nd Court in Sailboat Bend. The group flourished and called the Reverend Elder John Gill to be their pastor. Reverend Gill was a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. Under John’s leadership, the church continued to grow and eventually a new building was purchased on SW 27th Street.
In 1986, the Right Reverend Grant Lynn Ford was called as the new pastor. Ford was a former Assemblies of God pastor and a bishop in the “Old Catholic” tradition. During his pastorate, the church on 27th Street was remodeled, the name of the church was changed to Sunshine Cathedral, and in 2001 the church moved to its current location at 1480 SW Ninth Ave.
In 2000, the Sunshine Cathedral Foundation was formed to raise funds for capital campaigns and endowments for the Cathedral.
Since being at our location on SW Ninth Ave, Sunshine Cathedral has become the home to The Samaritan Institute (originally named Light University) – the religious education program of Sunshine Cathedral, and the McArtor Senior Center, as well as to support groups, youth programs, the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, the Metaphysical Chapel of South Florida, 12 Step Groups, a youth group, and other community organizations.
In the summer of 2006, the Reverend Dr. Durrell Watkins joined the staff of Sunshine Cathedral as the Canon Precentor (liturgist) and on November 3rd, 2007, Durrell was installed as the new Senior Minister of Sunshine Cathedral. Durrell is a graduate of both Union Theological Seminary in New York City (MDiv) and the Episcopal Divinity School (DMin).
In 2008 the Cathedral completed the remodeling of its Chancel. A four manual Trillium Masterpiece Rodgers Organ with ten ranks of Fratelli Ruffatti pipes (from Padua, Italy) was installed, making the Walt Lawrence & Stephen Lewis Center for Worship & the Arts at the Sunshine Cathedral a first-class performance space.
In 2016 the Sunshine Cathedral Board of Directors voted unanimously to join the International Council of Community Churches (ICCC, a member of the National and World Councils of Churches). 2016 was also the year the property’s mortgage was completely retired.
Sunshine Cathedral has had 6 pastors in its 45+ year history:
Rev. Ted Callaway (1972 – 1973)
Rev. Don Hoffman (1973 – 1974)
Rev. Peter Wilson (1974 – 1975)
from 1975 – 1976 the congregation was lay led
Rev. Elder John Gill (1976 – 1986)
Rt. Rev. Grant Lynn Ford (1986 – 2007)
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins (2007 – )