cover image The Queer Evangelist: A Socialist Clergy’s Radically Honest Tale

The Queer Evangelist: A Socialist Clergy’s Radically Honest Tale

Cheri DiNovo. Wilfrid Laurier Univ., $24.99 (230p) ISBN 978-1-77112-489-8

Minister and former Canadian legislator DiNovo blends left-wing politics and religion in her excellent debut memoir. Growing up in an unstable home in Toronto during the 1950s, DiNovo became addicted to methamphetamines before getting involved in radical politics, kicking her drug addictions, and beginning a career as a corporate recruiter. She thought of herself as a lesbian despite having relationships with both men and women—including a marriage to a man that resulted in two children before his death in a motorcycle accident. A surprise call to religion during a visit to a nondenominational Christian church upended her career. She enrolled in seminary, accepted an assignment with the United Church of Canada in a small town, and later reinvigorated a declining Toronto congregation with a free meal service for the homeless. She won a grueling political campaign for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and shares the difficult work of advancing progressive legislation that expanded gay rights and increased the minimum wage. She returned to ministry in 2017, claiming “leaving politics is like getting clean from methadrine.” In the end, DiNovo believes her life story exemplifies how “waves of feminisms and womanisms and queernesses” have expanded Christianity in positive ways. DiNovo’s remarkable life story serves as an impressive example of the possibilities of the religious left. (May)