Reception of Associate Members: Dawn Canada & Rev. Barbara Peronteau

Dawn Canada

I was born in Illinois and have lived all my life in the Midwest with the exception of two years in Saudi Arabia. Prior to retirement in 1989 I was an elementary and preschool teacher for many years.  I have been a member of Congregational or UCC churches since 1965 and I'm transferring my membership from one in northern Minnesota.  I have two sons in the Bay Area and a daughter in Colorado Springs.  I also have three granddaughters and two great grandchildren.  While visiting the Bay Area in 2014 my husband became very ill.  Following his hospitalization we lived at El Cerrito Royale Assisted Living until his death in 2016.  I like to read and do volunteer work and I'm an avid baseball fan.

The Reverend Barbara K. Peronteau

Born in Latrobe, PA on November 2, 1954 Barbara would spend the first eight years of her life living in the Pittsburgh area. Barbara was baptized and grew up in the Lutheran Church. When Barbara was eight years old, her Dad, a sales representative for Lees Carpets, was transferred to San Francisco where they would find a home in San Rafael.

When Barbara was ten she began delivering papers for the San Rafael Independent Journal. Barbara played baseball in the San Rafael Little League. Mostly, there were positive memories of living in San Rafael, but just as Barbara was turning fourteen her Dad was transferred to the Philadelphia area uprooting her once again. They moved to the small town of Malvern, PA where she would go through her high school years.

Following high school Barbara attended Lynchburg College in Virginia where she graduated in 1977 with a BA in History and Political Science. As a young adult she heard a sermon causing her to follow her calling into ministry. She began seminary at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. It was there, in 1983, she began the most intense, significant, and wonderful relationship with the love of her life, Susan. This relationship became the one by which all others would be compared. In the process of discerning her call Barbara began to question her calling. Her discernment process led her to the United Church of Christ where she found a faith home. In the Fall of 1985 Barbara began attending Union Theological Seminary, in Virginia. In the spring of 1986 her relationship with Susan ended.

On Pentecost Sunday, 1988, Barbara graduated from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia with a Master of Divinity, a week later, on Trinity Sunday she was ordained at Old First, United Church of Christ in Philadelphia. Barbara went on to serve congregations in Colorado, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

In the Spring of 2013, after transitioning and emerging into the lovely and charming woman she is today, Barbara attended a Trans-Clergy event in Philadelphia. A group picture was circulated on EQ PA's Facebook page. She received positive feedback from several people from her Union Seminary days. Emboldened by this Barbara reached out with an e-mail to her former love, Susan. It was the first time in 27 years they had spoken to each other. Unwittingly, a ripple effect was created. The following year they met in Reading, PA for coffee. They saw each other annually over the next few years.  

While living in Reading, Barbara spoke at various places about being transgender, her Christian faith, and the need for inclusion and equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Barbara is most proud of bringing the Transgender Day of Remembrance, held annually on November 20th, to Reading. In the Fall of 2016 Barbara began her yearlong Clinical Pastoral Education program working as an Interfaith Chaplain Resident at the Reading Hospital. She was the first chaplain to serve the Center for Public Health (HIV/AIDS population) at the Reading Hospital. Her most significant contribution was linking the Center for Public Health with the Women's Health Center Transgender Clinic so all people could have access to a chaplain.

Upon finishing her CPE Residency in August Barbara decided to follow her heart and move to Berkeley where she is now living with her partner Susan and her dog Max.