Saugeen Shores Men’s Probus continues to host interesting speakers

Saugeen Shores Men’s Probus Club continues to host interesting guest speakers despite COVID thanks to zoom technology.

October’s speaker was Rev. Dr. Cheri NiNovo with her story of rising above incredible challenges and odds in life.

DiNovo grew up in a rooming house owned by her parents and, after her father’s death from emphysema and witnessing her stepfather’s suicide, she dropped out of school at Grade 10 at age 14, to live on the streets in Toronto.  Like other street people, she became hooked on drugs and sold them to support her habit.

With the help of community youth support groups however, she turned her life around to finish her education.  DiNovo left university shy of her degree and began working for a corporate headhunting firm and, then in the early 1980s, ran her own firm – the Abbott Group, a recruitment firm that specialized in placing women in high-profile jobs – for five years.

In 1988, after some church-shopping with her then-husband Don Zielinski, she joined a United Church of Canada congregation in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Soon after, she finished  her York University degree and enrolled at Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.  In 2002 she earned a doctorate in ministry from the University of Toronto.

DiNovo became a wife, a mother, a United Church minister and MPP for Parkdale-High Park in the Ontario Legislature for 12 years.

She became the minister of the Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts effective January 1, 2018 and continues to present the Radical Reverend program on CIUT radio.  In addition to being minister at Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto, she is also a member of the Order of Canada.

Some of her accomplishments are:

• Only woman to sign on to “We Demand”, the first “gay rights” demo on Parliament Hill
• Performed the first legalized same sex marriage in Canada in 2001
• MPP for Parkdale-High Park from 2006-2017
• Passed into law more pro-LGBTQ2 legislation than anyone in Canadian history including
• Toby’s Act which added trans rights to the Ontario Human Rights Code in 2012
• Orientation and Gender Identity Act which banned conversion therapy for LGBTQ2 + youth in 2015
• Cy and Ruby’s Act which established parent equality for LGBTQ2 parents in 2015
• The Trans Day of Remembrance Act in 2017
• Passed more private members bills into law than anyone in Ontario’s history

Next month’s November guest speaker will be historian G. William Streeter, who will present a special Remembrance Day talk.