Written by Anthony Moujaes
The Rev. Malcolm Himschoot, a national staff member of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, will be honored by the city for his LGBT advocacy work and support of the LGBT community. Himschoot, the UCC's minister for ministerial transition with the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization Team, will be one of five honorees recognized for empowering LGBT people in Cleveland during the Fifth Annual Heritage Day Celebration on Oct. 9.
Himschoot is humbled by the recognition, considering he's only lived in Cleveland a little more than a year. He hopes the honor inspires others.
"More than anything, it's my hope that the urban churches in the area in attendance that night will be encouraged with their own [Open and Affirming] witness and work with transgender people of all ages," Himschoot said.
Himschoot's advocacy work for the LGBT community began long before he relocated to Cleveland. The story of his journey to embrace life as a transgender person was the focus of a 2004 documentary, Call Me Malcolm, produced by the UCC. "It opened the doors for various public speaking opportunities throughout the country and interfaith community."
Himschoot joined the UCC national offices in September 2012. He has a decade of experience in various UCC settings as a transitional pastor; his current role is to support clergy and covenantal partners during significant seasons of change: interims, retirements, denominational journeys, and search-and-call processes. Himschoot also engages partners in researching, developing and disseminating resources on ministerial transition, and supports interim ministers in the UCC.
Himschoot and the four other honorees will be recognized in a ceremony Wednesday at Cleveland City Hall. Jacob Nash, a member of Fairlawn West UCC in Akron and a transgender activist, nominated Himschoot and will present him with the award. Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, downtown Councilman Joe Cimperman and Phyllis Harris, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, will be in attendance. In addition to Himschoot, the other four recipients are Shamus Dicksinson (for Civic Engagement & Neighborhood Leadership), Patrick Shepherd (for Advocacy), Dr. Harry Simmons (for Health Care) and Christen DuVernay (for Education & Social Services).