She died barely a month later, on July 10, of pneumonia brought on by the novel coronavirus, her wife, Cassandra White, said. She was 57.
Ms. Gibbs had been part of Resurrection for almost 40 years, since she looked in one day and saw a room full of mostly gay white men — a home, and also a challenge. She was a young lesbian raised in the Missionary Baptist church, and Resurrection became a place to find her calling and to help build a large, racially diverse, politically engaged congregation.
The congregation grew so large and she was so beloved that by the time Ms. Gibbs married Ms. White, the church’s gospel ensemble director, in March 2016, they had to do it in secret. “Too many people would’ve been hurt not to be invited to the wedding,” the Rev. Troy Treash, the senior pastor, said.
Ms. Gibbs made everyone in her presence feel like they belonged, said the Rev. Ellen Denise Junious, the church’s spiritual director. “She had a knack for helping people through the most difficult times of their life, and that’s why so many people were drawn to her,” she said. “She would create a space for their brokenness, without judgment.”
Vickey Michelle Gibbs was born on Dec. 1, 1962, in Beaumont, Texas, the younger of two children of Alex and Mildred Gibbs. Her father did factory work; her mother was a nurse. She attended public schools in Beaumont, 85 miles east of Houston, and later earned her master’s of divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif. She was ordained by the Metropolitan Community Church in 2014, working first as an administrator for the denomination before becoming a pastor at Resurrection in Houston.