Rev. Elder Freda Smith -- MCC Evangelist
The Rev. Elder Freda Smith is the former Vice-Moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches; a political activist in California; and an advocate for women's and minority concerns. She is widely known for her tireless advocacy and concern for GLBTI and minority rights. She has been recognized by the Sacramento History Museum as ""Woman of Courage,"" and was named ""Woman of the Year"" by the California State Legislature in 1996. Smith entered the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1971. She first met the Reverend Elder Troy Perry on the steps of the Capitol of the State of California where they were both speakers for a rally to pass the ""Consenting Adults Law,"" to decriminalize gay relationships in California. During a lobbying effort for the passage of the bill, Freda read her narrative poem, ""Dear Dora/Dangerous Derek Diesel Dyke,"" to a select group of legislators which included Lt. Governor Merv Dymally. Dymally was visibly moved by the poem and stated that the poem had ""opened his eyes."" Later, Dymally historically broke the tie that had deadlocked the California Senate to pass California's Consenting Adults Law.
Freda was an early champion of women's concerns and was instrumental in spearheading the revision of UFMCC Bylaws to include women at every level of ministry. She was the first woman ordained to the UFMCC ministry and was first elected to the Board of Elders in 1973. She was re-elected as elder for five more terms during which time she served as World Church Extension Elder, liaison to Europe, Canada, Australia, and U.S. Districts, and as Vice-Moderator of the UFMCC. She appeared nationally on the Tomorrow Show in the U.S., on Canada AM, and on local broadcasts where she frequently debated right-wing religious political advocates.
Following 34 years as pastor of the MCC Church in Sacramento, California, Rev. Freda "retired" as Pastor but not as a minister. She is the Director/Evangelist of Rev. Elder Freda Smith -- MCC Evangelist ministries. She conducts programs of Spiritual Renewal, Living History, Workshops, Tapes/Videos/CD's, Devotionals, Spiritual Retreats, and serves as Worship Leader both locally and Internationally. Rev. Freda Smith appeared on the PBS program To The Contrary in November 2005 in the program titled Lesbians in the Ministry with Panelists: National Organization of Women's Kim Gandy; Republican Pollster Kellyanne Conway; Feminist Majority's Crystal Lander; Conservative Commentator Tara Setmayer; and Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual's Mary E. Hunt.
Also in 2005, Pacific School of Religion (www.psr.edu) in Berkeley California established the Rev. Elder Freda Smith Feminist Preaching Prize.
Rev. Elder Freda Smith has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from California State University in Sacramento, CA., and an Honorary Doctorate of Ministry from Samaritan College, Los Angeles, California. She is a California State Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor who specializes in LGBTI Relationships, Life Coaching, and HIV/AIDS Concerns.