Dr. Imani Woody is the founding director and CEO of Mary’s House for Older Adults, a developing LGBT friendly residential housing in Washington, DC. She has a PhD in Human Services specializing in non-profit management. Her thesis is entitled: Lift Every Voice: A Qualitative Exploration of Ageism and Heterosexism as Experienced by Older African American Lesbian Women and Gay Males when Addressing Social Services Needs. She holds a Master of Human Services degree from Lincoln University and is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Paralegal program. Dr. Woody is currently working as a diversity consultant working in the field of aging and issues affecting the LGBT and people color communities. She has worked as the pro bono coordinator of the D.C. Bar and has served as the director of training for the National Association of Protection and Advocacy, coordinating and facilitating trainings across the country for people with disabilities and promoting cultural diversity.
As the director of client services at the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer, Dr. Woody managed programs that provided educational and direct services to lesbians and bisexual women with cancer. She was also a program manager for the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, working on national health programs to educate elderly African American women. Formerly a training specialist for the AARP’s Foundation, Dr. Woody developed curriculum and delivery of on-site and web-based trainings. She trained substantive experts to become trainers through the Train-the Trainer program and provided on-going technical assistance to field trainers. Formerly a co-chair of PRiSM, AARP’s ERG group, Dr. Woody worked to help form the Washington, DC LGBT Elder Coalition.
Dr. Imani Woody has been an advocate of women, people of color and LGBT issues for more than 20 years and has served on the board of directors of the Mautner Project, Women in the Life Association and Whitman Walker Lesbian services. She currently is a Commissioner on the (Washington, DC) Mayor’s GLBT Advisory Counsel, the Program Officer for the Older Adults Advisory Council for the Metropolitan Community Churches, is the Chair of SAGE Metro DC (an organization serving LGBT elders), and is an Advisory Board member of the SAGE National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. She has been a life coach for more than 10 years and is the founder and principal of Living Life Like It’s Golden, a six-part program that empowers people to live their lives more fully through visioning. She lives with her wife of thirteen years in Brookland, WDC.
Annette Beall was born in Denison, Texas. She currently resides in Cypress, Texas with Carolyn, her partner of 26 years. She is a member of the management team at Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, where she has been employed for 20 years. Prior employment includes 10 years as the Office Administrator of MCC of the Resurrection now known as Resurrection MCC. Annette joined Agapé MCC in Fort Worth, Texas in 1974. She co-founded an evangelistic ministry in 1976 and traveled for 1½ years with a team which conducted spiritual renewal services at MCC’s across the United States. In 1978, she settled in Houston, Texas where she assumed a position with the local MCC. She is a member of RMCC and currently participates in worship services as a member of the Gospel Ensemble, a reader and a participant in the distribution of communion. She is also a member of the church’s Stewardship Committee. Her previous service in RMCC includes the Board of Directors, lay delegate and the church staff. She also served on MCC’s Inclusive Language Task Force. Annette enjoys time with her families (birth and chosen), her friends and her pets, Champ, Mitch and Bella. She also enjoys the time she spends on her Honda Goldwing Trike, riding with the Resurrection Riders.
Lydya Chapman was born and raised in Northern California. She grew up riding horses and active in sports. During her young adult life she lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hartford, CT and NYC, NY. When she moved back to SF in 1986 She started a 22 year career with DHL Express starting as a Customer Service Representative and climbed the “Corporate ladder”. DHL moved their Corporate HQ to Fort Lauderdale, FL in 2002 and moved her with them, where she purchased her first home and lives with her partner Linda and their dog and cat. She was fortunate after she was laid off to get involved with a new charity that was just starting up. Lydya first volunteered her time, and talents to help build the company. She was then hired in April 2008 when they opened the doors. Lydya feels that the LGBT senior community is sort of the forgotten or the lost generation in our community. She is now an advocate for the elderly working at The Pantry of Broward. Her title is Director of Operations, but as with most nonprofits she wears more than one hat. The Pantry of Broward provide services for seniors on a low fixed income and grandparents raising their grandchildren in Broward County. The Pantry of Broward provides food support and other ancillary services that help make the lives of LGBT seniors less stressful. She became involved with Sunshine Cathedral MCC in 2002, and became a member in 2003. Lydya was President of The Women’s Guild for 2 years, a member of the Music Ministry for 8 years and has been a member of the Chancel Ministry Team for the past 2.5 years. She has been attending The Samaritan Institute for as long as she has been a member, and will become a Deacon in the summer of 2013.
Robert Collins has extensive experience in a broad range of human relations activities, having been employed in various private enterprise and Government administrative positions including Private Secretary to a Cabinet Minister, Industrial Relations Consultant and Policy and Research Adviser . He has a keen interest in social justice advocacy for the LGBTI community through his involvement in an Ageing Action Group and as a member of a Reference Group to an Ageing and Aged Care Working Group of the National LGBTI Health Alliance, the peak health body for a range of organisations and individuals from across Australia that work together to improve the health and well-being of LGBTI and other sexuality, sex and gender diverse people and communities. He is also Honorary Secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association (GLWA), an incorporated not-for-profit organization operating a peer-to-peer telephone counselling service offering support, referral and information for LGBTI people throughout Queensland and the Northern Rivers district of Australia.
Alan Dismore began a 30 year career in aging, disability, and health policy as a professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on aging. Chief responsibilities were: Medicare/Medicaid anti-fraud and abuse, housing policy and briefing of Committee Chair, staff director, and majority professional staff members on these issues. On departure from this position, he began a 27 year career as in governmental relations with the American Foundation for the Blind, retiring in 2006 as Associate Director for Advocacy. During that time Alan represented AFB on the governmental relations steering group working for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In addition he co-chaired the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities task force on employment and task force on technology. As co-chair of the task force on technology he worked with members of the disability community on the 1996 amendments to the Telecommunications Act, assisting in the creation and passage of sections creating access to telecommunications for people with disabilities. During that time I also represented AFB on the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. Alan was one of the founding officers of SAGE Metro DC, an affiliate of SAGE USA. Currently, he co-chair the Older Adults ministry of MCCDC with Dr. Imani Woody. Alan is a member of the board of Prime Timers of DC, an affiliated of the largest international membership organizations for men over age 65. He is also a member of the program committee of At Home In Alexandria providing services to residents of Alexandria, Virginia who wish to remain independently in their own homes. Alan has lived in Alexandria for over 30 years with David, his partner of 26 years. This February Alan will turn 70!
Richard Henry became a member of Joy MCC in Orlando, Florida in 2003 and has served on its Board of Directors, led ministries and facilitated classes. Prior to his retirement, he worked at Walt Disney World as a Systems Administrator. He currently resides in Sarasota, Florida and is a member of Church of the Trinity. Richard serves several teams and the Board of Directors. He has completed the requirements for LEAD certification, volunteers at the Moderator’s office and is preparing to facilitate Creating a Life that Matters.
Deb Kassien has been involved with MCC since 1978. She has been a member of MCC Dallas in Dallas, TX Agape MCC in Ft. Worth, TX Gentle Souls MCC, Kansas City, MO and currently serves as a Lay Pastor and Worship Coordinar for Spirit of Hope MCCKC. Deb also facilitates the Women’s Bible Study and leads the weekly communion service for HIV/AIDS residents at Hope Care Center. Deb has been involved in long term care management and education for the past 10 years and is co owner of MEDS CNA Training Programs. She lives in Lee’s Summit,MO with her partner of 12 years and and her three four legged family.
Rev. Elder Freda Smith first entered MCC in 1971. She attended the 1971 General Conference as a delegate from Sacramento, California. Following MCC licensing in 1972, Freda was elected pastor of MCC Sacramento. In 1973, Freda was elected to the Board of Elders of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches where she served as World Church Extension Elder and Vice-Moderator for the next 20 years. She has attended and been active in every General Conference since 1971. Freda was senior pastor of MCC Sacramento – from 1972 until she retired in 2005 to become an Evangelist for the denomination.
Rev. Dr. Danny Spears was ordained as MCC clergy in November 2001. He served as pastor of MCC of Corpus Christi, Texas from December 2001 until July 2007; and he has served as pastor of Holy Covenant MCC in Brookfield, Illinois since July 2007. Danny holds both the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In his spare time, Danny enjoys exercise (he is a certified Spinning instructor), reading and cooking. He and his husband Richard are allowed to share living space with their three cats, Powder, Anthony and Cleopatra (Tony and Cleo).