Rev. Dr. James Stephen Burns (Jim) passed away December 12, 2017 at the age 59 from heart failure due to Pulmonary Hypertension. He had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in June of 2017, and suffered from spinal fractures and other complications related to this disease. At the time of his death, he was the Pastor for Water of Life MCC, in Tucson AZ, where he had been for almost three years. It is the family’s wish that memorials be sent to Water of Life MCC, 3269 N Mountain Ave, Tucson AZ 85719.
Jim was born September 8th, 1958, to Thomas and Terry Burns, in the United States Airforce hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi, growing up in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Jim was always a scholar. He graduated in 1976 from Paint Branch High School in Silver Spring, MD and was accepted to Oberlin College, where he received a BA in Religion. He later attended Yale University Divinity School, where he received a Master’s in Theology. Jim became associated with the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) while in New Haven, Connecticut. He was ordained in the MCC, and went on to pastor MCC’s in New Haven, Houston and most notably, the MCC of the Rockies in Denver. In 2004, Jim attended ILIFF School of Theology in Denver, receiving his Doctor of Ministry. His dissertation was, “With Arms Wide Open to a New Millennium: Preaching and Worship in the Digital Age.”
James was pre deceased by grandparents, great-aunts and uncle, an uncle and an infant brother, David Elza Burns. He is mourned by his father and mother Thomas and Terry Burns of Silver Spring, MD, formerly of Memphis, and Kahoka, Missouri. He is also mourned by sister and brother-in-law Laura and Terry Burns-Heffner of Woodbine, MD and Kevin Burns of Havre De Grace, MD. His nephews and nieces include Colin Burns-Heffner, Kaila Burns-Heffner, Erin Burns, and Kari Burns.
Jim was always very dedicated to his ministry and was passionate about helping people return to and reclaim their faith, finding new ways to experience God through music, art and film technology. He specialized in preaching to those who felt disenfranchised, and was remembered by many of his parishioners for his thought provoking and inspiring sermons.
A celebration of his life will be planned for later this spring at the Metropolitan Community Church of DC. His ashes will be buried at the Burtonsville Cemetery, in Burtonsville, MD.