Rev. Vickey Gibbs was 18 years old when she joined Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, which at the time included only one other Black member.
Nearly 40 years later, the Christian church in Timbergrove Manor is known as progressive and includes a diverse mix of parishioners. They come from different ethnic backgrounds and different countries, speak different languages and have different sexual orientations.
Rev. Troy Treash, the senior pastor at the church, said that is part of Gibbs’ legacy. She died July 10 from COVID-19, according to Treash, leaving behind a wife, two daughters, a grandson and a congregation full of people who loved her and looked up to her.
“She told me in the last few years that this is what she hoped for, that we would become a church that represented where we live in Houston,” Treash said. “She was very pleased that we are as diverse as we are.”
Gibbs, who was 57, lived in Pearland and commuted to the church at 2025 W. 11th St. Treash said she was known for her activism, having supported the Black Lives Matter movement and been an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
Her widow, Cassandra White, asked church members and others to support causes championed by Gibbs in a message posted to the church’s website, resurrectionmcc.org. Among those causes are the Children’s Ministry and Justice Ministry at the church, along with Black Lives Matter and Color of Change.
“Donate money, donate time, in Vickey’s honor,” White wrote. “Keep fighting. Don’t accept anything less than transformation. Change the things you cannot accept.”
On July 12, two days after Gibbs’ death, Treash said about 450 people participated in an online grief session through a Zoom call. He said the church also is hosting a virtual “homegoing service” for Gibbs at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9.
Treash said the congregation is “still in shock” about Gibbs, whose loss has been felt well beyond her church, the surrounding area and even Houston. Gibbs’ death has been reported by news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times.
Among those who have posted in a public Facebook group set up in Gibbs’ honor – called “Remembering Our Beloved Rev. Vickey Gibbs” – is a woman from the Boston area who said she was touched by Gibbs’ story.
“Vickey showed us how to live, she taught us how to give and she guided us with the light of love,” another supporter wrote in the Facebook group. “She truly was an angel among us.”
Treash described Gibbs as a quiet introvert by nature, but said her words at the pulpit were powerful and commanded attention. She also was known for welcoming people who had dealt with hardships or been marginalized and helping them grow spiritually.
“She let people know that she could meet them where they were, but she planned to walk with them forward,” Treash said. “She would grab you by the hand, even if you fell down, and stay with you and help you keep moving forward. She was full of grace.”