BIO - Cheri DiNovo
Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

     Cheri is the minister of Emmanuel / Howard-Park United Church, in Toronto.

     She became a minister in 1996, after previous careers running her own business and working in the human-resources field.

     Inclusiveness, and respect for individual differences, are very important aspects of religion as she practices it. In 2001 she performed the first same-sex marriage in North America, between her parishioners Paula Barrero and Blanca Mejias. Issuing licenses for such marriages was not yet being done, but Cheri used the traditional church-based approach of "reading the banns" in advance of the ceremony. Her doctoral thesis was entitled "Queer Theology, Queer Evangelism" and she worked with the Interfaith Coalition in Support of Same-Sex Marriage, swearing an affidavit in the Supreme Court as part of an intervention in 2003.

      Listening and learning are also important to her. "The Radical Reverend", her weekly radio program on the University of Toronto station CIUT-FM, has a phone-in component which allows listeners to make their own personal contributions regarding the topic of that week's show. And with both the congregations she has served, at Brucefield in southwestern Ontario and at her current semi-downtown church, Cheri has paid careful attention to what her parishioners do or do not find helpful. Working closely with them, and using a healthy amount of imaginative thinking, she has been able to develop ministries that are very welcome and very effective.

      Cheri is a wife and mother as well as a minister. Her husband Gil is currently (2004) finishing his doctorate in the department of Social and Political Thought at York University. Her son Damien is a student at the University of Toronto and her daughter Francesca is a budding fashion designer.