Two outstanding ministers who have provided the United Church of Christ with their vision, hope and leadership during their lives and ministries will be honored as recipients of the Antoinette Brown Trailblazer Awards during General Synod 2017.
The Rev. Da Vita "Day" McCallister and The Rev. Lois "Loey" Powell will receive the Antoinette Brown Award at General Synod 31 — a recognition of their work in highlighting the pastoral leadership that women provide — during a reception and ceremony award on July 3 in the Baltimore Convention Center (Room 322) that is open to registered attendees.
The Antoinette Brown Award, given by the UCC during General Synod, is presented to clergywomen who have demonstrated trailblazing leadership on behalf of church and society, and is named for the first ordained woman since biblical times.
McCallister recently served on the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ at the associate conference minister for church vitality. She recently accepted a new call as senior pastor of First Congregational Church in Somerville, Mass.
The Rev. Michelle Hughes, who nominated McCallister, said that she is a model for women in ministry "by her faithfulness, activism, and integrity to her call. She was among those in Ferguson to protest police brutality. She coordinated efforts to send clergy to Orlando in response to the PULSE attack. Rev. McAllister's very presence in the UCC has been a sterling example of what women's leadership in the church and society looks like."
From her work with the national setting of the UCC to her grassroots advocacy efforts, McCallister helped develop the Joseph W. Clemmons Job Training Program to equip youth of color with job readiness skills, was one of the authors of the UCC's White Privilege curriculum.
Her colleague, Mia Douglas, said that McCallister is "a woman of deep faith and exemplary character… who epitomizes the spirit of the Antoinette Brown Trailblazer Award."
Powell, a lifelong member of the UCC who has fearlessly and faithfully advocated for the full inclusion of women, people of color, young people, and people with disabilities throughout her ministry.
The Rev. Linda Jaramillo, a former national officer of the UCC who nominated Powell, said, "Loey has a unique way of weaving diverse women's stories into a beautiful tapestry of relationships based in mutual love, respect and hope," while praising her "tenacious spirit" when she worked in the national setting.
Powell spent more than 20 years leading and advocating through Justice and Witness Ministries in service of a church that seeks to create a better world. "[It] has has resulted in monumental public policy decisions addressing women's justice issues including human trafficking and violence against women," Jaramillo said.
"Her work with the African American Women in Ministry network has provided institutional support to grow and strengthen that network," said the Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, the UCC Minister for Ministers in Local Churches and administrator of the Antoinette Brown Awards. "In all her work, Rev. Powell has led not for her own gain, but for the sustaining work of the church in service of a better world."
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