Deaconess Jeanne Roe Smith at University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) is traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 29, 2023, to receive the Bishop Melvin Talbert Award from Clifton United Methodist Church and the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC).
Jeanne Roe Smith serves as the campus minister and director of Wesley Foundation Serving UCLA. She is being recognized for inclusive, intersectional ministry work on many levels, including forming the 580 Café as a community organizing space for students and working with first-generation college students who are children of immigrants.
Smith has a special connection to West Ohio: she served as Executive Director of Wesley Foundation in Cincinnati, and the first sermon she gave after being consecrated as a deaconess was preached at Clifton UMC.
In a special homecoming, Jeanne Roe Smith will participate in both of Clifton UMC’s Sunday services on October 29: first for an award presentation and Q&A (9:15 AM EDT), then to give a guest sermon at (11:00 AM EDT). Both services will be in person and online, live-streamed via the church’s Facebook page.
The Bishop Melvin Talbert Award is presented annually by Clifton UMC to a person displaying exceptional leadership around inclusive ministry and intersectional justice in the UMC connection. Deaconess Jeanne has demonstrated such leadership in centering the lives and voices of those who have been marginalized.
In 2014, Bishop Melvin Talbert received the inaugural namesake award, celebrating his lifetime of work for justice. Talbert worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement and dedicated his later ministry to LGBTQ inclusion in the United Methodist Church, overcoming complaints and backlash after officiating a same-gender wedding.
Deaconess Jeanne Roe Smith receiving special recognition for her ministry with 580 Café during the Social Justice Program Dinner at the 2023 California-Pacific Annual Conference.
Clifton UMC of the West Ohio Conference and 580 Café Board of Directors contributed to this story.