Partner William Victor Pass
629-W W Queen St, Inglewood, CA 90301
Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas, now the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, 5910 Cedar Springs Rd, Dallas, TX 75235
Laurel Land Memorial Park Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Richard Cleo Vincent (January 29, 1924 - July 16, 2012) was the first pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas, now the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ. His partner since 1970 was William Victor Pass.
Richard Cleo Vincent was born in Kirksville, Missouri, the son of Cleo Nathan Vincent and Ethel Ada Crowder. Growing up and going to school there, he later moved to Los Angeles for a year and then joined the Marine Corps during World War II, serving in the tank corps. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant at the end of the war and having attended officer’s training school at Purdue University, he was placed in the inactive reserve and returned to Purdue to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering in 1947. It was during this period that Vincent was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. He worked as a research scientist at Pennsylvania State University following his graduation from Purdue and moved to Key West to work as a project engineer on a special program. In Key West, at 25, Vincent first encountered the gay scene and saw a need for a ministry to the gay community.
In 1950 Vincent moved to North Hollywood to continue his research work. Three years later, after six years of scientific work he received an indisputable call to the ministry—the irresistible call of Christ to follow Him—and he entered the Santa Barbara Province of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscan Order) to study for the priesthood. When his superiors indicated he would be a teacher rather than a parish priest, he became discouraged and returned to lay life in 1956. After receiving dispensation from his religious vows, he returned to Los Angeles and his engineering work in missile systems and computers.
Vincent, between 1960 and 1968, sponsored Mexican immigrants to give them a start in this country, even paying all expenses for one through high school and the University of Maryland. Moving to Texas in 1968 after receiving an unsolicited job offer from LTV in Grand Prairie, Texas, he later started to mix in the gay community. Having read about MCC, Vincent became interested, and in 1970, while on a business trip to Los Angeles, visited Rev. Troy Perry.
On July 30, 1970, Vincent was one of those present at a meeting in a private home which marked the birth of the Dallas Metropolitan Community Church. The Dallas Church attained mission status in November 1970 and Vincent was named Moderator of the Board of Overseers. The church was chartered on May 23, 1971, and Vincent was ordained as Deacon by Elder Lou Loynes. He was elected Pastor at the first congregational meeting immediately following the chartering. Vincent was licensed as a minister upon his election as Pastor. The license as renewed that September in Los Angeles. He was consecrated as an Ordained Minister at General Conference in Los Angeles in 1972. Vincent started a jail ministry at the Dallas County Jail in September, 1971, where he was the only minister allowed to enter a tank in the jail to conduct worship services. He served as a member of the Jail Advisory Committee of the Greater Dallas Council of Churches and was a member of the Dallas Pastors’ Association.
Vincent was very active in telling the story of the gay lifestyle, speaking at most of the major colleges, the university, and other organizations in the north-central Texas area. He felt he set some sort of record when he traveled six hours by auto to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to appear on a television interview show for five minutes.
In 1973 at the General Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Vincent was elected to the Board of Elders of the UFMCC. For the next three years he lived part-time in Dallas and part-time in Los Angeles, working in the Fellowship offices there.
Vincent retired from the Board of Elders in 1976 and returned to Dallas. He and his partner, Victor, attended MCC-Dallas until Victor died on April 16, 1992, three days before Easter. Richard then served under Rev. Brenda Hunt at Agape MCC in Fort Worth, Texas, for about a year. He then returned to Cathedral of Hope MCC in Dallas for a short time until they disaffiliated from MCC. At that point, Richard “got up and went” to a Roman Catholic Mass. He reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church.
Vincent remained in Dallas until his death on July 16, 2012.
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