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Member Spotlight: Pilgrim Congregational UCC/Bridget Kent Marquez

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September 14, 2017

Pilgrim Congregational UCC | Bridget Kent Marquez
Bridget Kent Marquez has been the Property Manager of Pilgrim Congregational UCC located in Tremont for five years. Her role at the church consists of two main areas: coordination of the care for the building structure itself and coordinating with the various of community groups and rentals of the building’s various spaces. The congregation was founded in 1859, this historic building has always been more than a church. It was built in 1893 as and remains an important community center for not only worship, but recreation, meeting space, and community service work. Pilgrim UCC has been a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, receiving its designation as “Open and Affirming” in 1992. Pilgrim joined Plexus to demonstrate its support for and dedication to the LGBTQ community, and also to make important connections that come with membership in the LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce.
Why is a church joining an LGBTQ business organization?
Because the church was built to function as a community building (bowling alley and boxing ring included!) rather than only being used for worship on Sundays, it has a lot of space that can be used for the greater community’s benefit. In addition to its congregation-run food bank ministry, Pilgrim now hosts yoga classes, dance rehearsals, martial arts practice, youth volleyball and basketball, as well as being the home of ARTS Renaissance Tremont. It has plenty of meeting space available for groups of all sizes and even a large fully-equipped commercial kitchen for rent which is perfect for startup small businesses. Click here to learn about Pilgrim’s meeting space availability and pricing.
How did you get connected to Plexus?
Bridget had heard about Plexus over the years but always thought “that isn’t for me” figuring only accountants would be involved with a chamber of commerce. Bridget got to know David Phillips, a Plexus board member and owner of Energetic Awakenings, who used the space at Pilgrim for some of his work with groups. He learned that Bridget’s wife, Lucy Marquez, owned Marquez Renovation & Contracting and connected her to a business opportunity when a Plexus member was searching for an LGBTQ contractor. Marquez Renovation & Contracting benefited from its affiliation with Plexus, so Bridget wanted to support the organization and make similar helpful connections for Pilgrim Congregational UCC.
What is one of the best aspects of being associated to Plexus?
Bridget said her favorite part about Plexus is the surprising connections she has made. She never thought she would need Gray’s Auctioneers when she first met them at a Plexus business-to-business networking event, but she recently got in touch with them about appraising a film projector from 1912 that she found in storage at the church. She made other connections with Plexus members, too. Jacki Schaffer at Liberty Mutual Insurance helped her explore insurance options, Ted Olson at Kurtz & Co., a realtor stopped by the facility to look at the annex space available for rent, and she even met with Thomas Dlugopolsky from Skylight Financial about a program for congregants about faith and finance.
How has the LGBTQ business landscape changed?
As the bookkeeper for Lucy’s LGBT-owned small business, Bridget has seen the progress that has taken place in society over the last few years. In the past, the focus was on hiding her status as an LGBT business owner – being out was seen as being bad for business. Now Lucy finds there are many consumers who want to use their dollars to affirm their values and commitment to the LGBT community, especially given the political climate. They are both happy to have found the LGBT business community and are happy to help it thrive.

What else should people to know about Pilgrim UCC?
Bridget encouraged Plexus members to come see the space for themselves at the B2B Networking Event on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Though the church building can be perceived as having a foreboding architecture on the outside, the congregation is open and friendly and has been vocally pro-LGBT since the early ‘90s with a strong dedication to social justice and peace work. As an employee of Pilgrim UCC, Bridget is proud that the church requires space users to commit to its non-discrimination policies when contracting. Pilgrim UCC has about 200 members from all over Northeast Ohio due to its safe, open and affirming environment and it’s delighted to lift up the LGBTQ and the entire community through collaboration and partnership.

Lucy Marquez and Bridget Kent Marquez with their children

To learn more about Pilgrim Congregational UCC, find the listing in our membership directory.

Click here for information on their welcoming and affordable space rentals.

To learn more about Marquez Renovation & Contracting, please see the listing in our membership directory.