Clifton United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio is pleased to present the Bishop Melvin Talbert Award to two recipients, the Rev. Lisa Kerwin and the Rev. Cheri Holdridge, for their local reconciling activism in their respective communities in Ohio.

Rev. Lisa Kerwin, an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, serves at Epiphany UMC in Loveland, Ohio, where she started a ministry for LGBT persons and their allies and has hosted events to educate the whole congregation about gender and sexuality. Her nominators praise Rev. Kerwin as “a true embodiment of the unfailing love and unity of Jesus Christ against all oppression, which makes her an excellent candidate for the Bishop Melvin Talbert Award.”

Rev. Cheri Holdridge, an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, serves Village Church Toledo, a federated church connected to the UMC and the United Church of Christ. Village Church is affiliated with both the Reconciling Ministries Network and the Open and Affirming Congregation program (in the UCC). Rev. Holdridge’s political activism has included work with Equality Toledo and Equality Ohio, where she has consistently spoken as a voice of faith in favor of housing and employment equality for Ohioans of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Revs. Holdridge and Kerwin will be recognized in worship on Sunday morning, 10/4, at Clifton United Methodist Church (10:30 am). They will receive their awards formally on Sunday evening (6:00 pm). The Sunday evening program will feature a panel discussion with both award recipients, moderated by Clifton UMC pastor, Rev. David Meredith. Topics may include the reconciling process, what’s next for LGBT politics after this summer’s Supreme Court decision, and what to expect at General Conference 2016. Both Sunday events, morning worship and the evening program, are free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Established in 2014, the Bishop Melvin Talbert Award recognizes individuals, groups, or congregations that make significant contributions to social justice work, especially but not exclusively related to ministry with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons. At the 2012 General Conference, Bishop Talbert said, “I declare to you that the derogatory language and restrictive laws in the Book of Discipline are immoral and unjust and no longer deserve our loyalty and obedience.”  Bishop Talbert received the inaugural Bishop Melvin Talbert Award in 2014.

Pictured left: Rev. Cheri Holdridge
Pictured right: Rev. Lisa Kerwin
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