Meet Our Honorees: The Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards

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The Rev. Dr. Janet Edwards has been a compassionate servant of communities of faith for more than three decades. Janet began her advocacy in support of LGBTQ communities when she joined the Taskforce on Ministry with Sexual Minorities of Pittsburgh Presbytery in 2000. When she officiated a wedding for a same-sex couple in 2005, the Presbyterian Church (USA) pressed disciplinary charges to challenge this pastoral care. Fighting these charges helped to elevate the conversation of marriage equality to an unprecedented public level, both within the church and the greater American culture. Her presbytery unanimously acquitted her three years later. Janet is an inspiration to our emerging LGBTQ leaders and serves as a mentor to many.

Meet Our Honorees: The Rev. Ann Kansfield

Rev. Ann Kansfield serves as Minister of Proclamation at the Greenpoint Reformed Church. In the spring of 2015, Ann became the first woman, and openly gay chaplain of the New York Fire Department (FDNY).

Ann has an eclectic history that allows her to better connect with and serve her diverse community inside and outside the church. In addition to tending bar, Ann made car batteries on an assembly line for AC Delco, worked as a writer for the United Church Funds, and worked as a financial advisor for various Wall Street firms. She was ordained by the United Church of Christ in 20XX.

Ann holds a BA from Columbia University and an MDiv from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. From her pride ministries, to her every day duties as an FDNY chaplain, Ann creates welcoming spaces for all people within the church. In becoming the first woman and openly gay chaplain of the FDNY, she has made strides for gender equity and LGBTQ people of faith in New York City and beyond.

Meet Our Honorees: Mariaisabel Zweig

Mariaisabel Zweig is a recent graduate of Brooklyn College and an aspiring clinical psychologist. She is a volunteer at Rainbow Heights, an advocacy program for LGBTQ adults requiring mental health services, where she leads a theatre group and Heights Hill Mental Health Services. She is also a youth advisor and company member of Theatre Askew, the only professional theater company in the New York area that offers an educational program specifically for LGBTQ youth. 

Mariaisabel became a cantor at the Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY when she was 16. Although she no longer identifies as a person of faith, Mariaisabel has been an active participant in Parity’s youth program, attending workshops and most recently, producing our new podcast. Mariaisabel contributes greatly to Parity’s mission to provide safe spaces where gender and sexual identity are treated as divine gifts that should be sources of joy and celebration, not shame and isolation.