Rev. Marty Kuchma, who has been the pastor at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Westminster, Md., since 2005, received the 25th annual Carroll County Human Relations Commission’s 2017 Human Relations Award last month.
According to the Carroll County Times, St. Paul’s Consistory (church council) President Ben Rogers wrote in the March church newsletter “Highlights” that Kuchma was “recognized for his many efforts in addressing homelessness, diversity, inclusion, and other important issues with which we are faced in Carroll County.”
St. Paul’s, the first and only open and affirming church in Carroll County, has been the venue for PFLAG-Westminster meetings since 2011. In addition to the monthly general meetings, “We host First Fridays for LGBT youth as a safe space for conversation, games, fellowship,” Michael Teare, a gay man and an elder at the church, told the Blade.
Teare calls Rev. Kuchma a hero and an amazing man.
“I was drawn to St. Paul’s because of its open and affirming stance when that was still taboo in Carroll County,” says Teare. “Pastor Marty made me welcome my first visit to the church, and I have never left.”
Judy Gaver, a member of St. Paul’s and a member of the PFLAG-Westminster chapter steering committee, agreed.
“I honestly can think of no one more deserving to be the recipient of this award,” she told the Blade. “Among the myriad duties Marty performs as the pastor of St. Paul’s, and numerous other local councils and committees on which he sits, he is also a founding member and an active steering committee member of PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County chapter. Marty was the pastor when St. Paul’s became an open and affirming congregation in 2008.”
The Blade was unable to reach Kuchma for a comment.