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Response to the Orlando shooting

By | Main News, Queering Faith | No Comments

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15

The news of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando is simply devastating. We grieve the tragic loss of life and the devastation it brings to families and friends of the victims. Jeremiah’s painful words name the way this tragedy is felt in our very bodies and souls—a refusal to believe, to comprehend, even to seek comfort that cannot but feel shallow.

The community at Pacific School of Religion and the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion express their deep grief to those most directly impacted, and grieve the fear that this act of violence will engender in our communities—particularly those marginalized and stereotyped by their gender identity and their faith tradition.

Our shared calling will be to resist—even in the midst of our grief—to allow the violence of this act to tear at the tensions within us. We commit ourselves to our continued work of justice that belies the dichotomy between our convictions of faith and our identity around gender, gender identity, race, and religious expression. We call on our community—students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and many partners within faith communities and communities of justice—to draw on our shared legacy and commitments to share in the leadership of this critical moment.

Capturing our communities’ sentiment, the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion’s Latinx Roundtable stated: “Each person who was shot is a beloved child of God, deserving safety and dignity that was denied to them. This incident underlines the urgency of our task to bring understanding and peace to all people, to respect the lives of the LGBTQ community and all lives. We rededicate ourselves to that task today. And to those who in the name of religion will dare to blame the victims for their deaths, we say clearly, that is a heresy. Faith demands respect and care for all of God’s people, including those whose lives differ from your own. Please join us in praying for the victims of this horrific crime and for their families and loved ones. May God’s healing power and comforting presence be with those who are wounded in body, mind, and spirit today.”

Faculty reflections on the Pulse nightclub shooting:

Keep on Dancing, by Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson

Orlando’s Intersections: May our Differences Stretch Us to Revolutionary Love, by Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza

Pacific School of Religion hosts 10th Annual Pacific Islander & Asian American Ministries (PAAM) Music Festival

By | Arts, Main News | No Comments

Pacific School of Religion is proud to host the 10th annual Pacific Islander & Asian American Ministries of the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ PAAM Music Festival fundraiser. The celebration will be held at the Chapel of the Great Commission as PAAM helps us kick off our 150th anniversary.

Join us for an afternoon of uplifting, fun and spiritual music presented by churches of the PAAM community. Proceeds will benefit the PAAM Educational Scholarship Fund.

When: Saturday, June 25th, 1pm-3pm

Where: Chapel of the Great Commission, Pacific School of Religion, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, CA

RSVP on Facebook

Latinx Roundtable Condemns North Carolina’s HB2

By | Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Main News, Queering Faith | No Comments

Members of the Latinx Roundtable: Rev. Mari Castellanos, Charlie Cortes, Rev. Carla E. Roland Guzmán, Rev. Rosa Frias

Statement from the Faith, Family, and Equality: The Latinx Roundtable a project of Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion of Pacific School of Religion:

The members of the Faith, Family, and Equality: The Latinx Roundtable, meeting in Berkeley, CA (May 23-25, 2016), want to express our unrelenting support of all LGBTQIA+ persons in North Carolina.

As a faith-based queer Latinx organization we condemn the intent of HB2 or any other legislation that aims to or results in the disenfranchisement and dehumanizing of any person or group.  Furthermore, we support all of the Latinx and faith communities that have spoken against and continue to speak against discrimination in any form, including the legalized discrimination embodied in HB2 in the state of North Carolina.

About the Faith, Family, Equality: The Latinx Roundtable

Founded in 2010 as an initiative of CLGS to address the Latinx faith leaders’ concerns that there needed to be a central project that would help Latinx families understand and accept their LGBTQAI+ family member(s) and embrace them with love.  The roundtable has as a mission statement: To promote understanding, acceptance and affirmation of Latinx LGBTQIA+ persons and their families by transforming Latinx faith communities and the wider Latinx community.


At the meeting of the Latinx Roundtable (L-R): Rev. Mari Castellanos, Rev. Rosa Frias, Elba Goostree (s peaking)



Exhibit: “Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins” Now through December

By | Badè Museum, Main News | No Comments

A Writer from Our Work: Modern Jobs - Ancient Origins. Learn more at oi.uchicago.edu

The Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology and the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago present “Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins” now through December 2016.

About the exhibit: Our Work: Modern Jobs – Ancient Origins, an exhibition of photographic portraits, explores how cultural achievements of the ancient Middle East have created or contributed to much of modern life. To show the connections between the past and today, artifacts that document the origins or development of professions such as baker, farmer, manicurist, brewer, writer, astronomer, or judge in the ancient world are paired with a person who is the modern “face” of that profession. The resulting  photographic portraits represent the diversity of Chicago residents, ranging from ordinary workers to local luminaries. The portraits are accompanied by commentary on the specific contribution of the past and remarks from the modern representative, resulting in fascinating new insights into how members of the public view their relationship to the past. Learn more here

This exhibit will be on display at the Badè Museum now until December 2016!

The gallery is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10am-3pm (except throughout June and July). Contact the museum at 510/849-8907 or bade@psr.edu for group tours, reservations, and more information.


Watch the New Story of Work and Earl Lecture here!

By | A World on the Move, Ignite Institute, Main News | No Comments

The 2016 Earl Lecture, The New Story of Work, is now available to watch here:

The New Story of Work on Friday, April 15, 2016, brought together organizers, business and faith leaders, activists, and scholars to explore and strategize around the meaning of work and the significance of labor today.

The keynote speaker, Annie Leonard is a lifelong environmentalist currently serving as the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. She has over 25 years experience investigating, organizing and communicating about the environmental and social impacts of all our stuff: where it comes from, what it is made out of, and where it goes after we get rid of it. Her 2007 online film, The Story of Stuff, has been viewed over 40 million times making it the most watched online environmental film to date. In 2010, she authored a book of the same title which takes a deeper dive into the issues in the film.

The New Story of Work: Politics, Spirituality, and Labor
April 15-16, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley CA
The New Story of Work conference brought together organizers, business and faith leaders, activists, and scholars to explore and strategize around the meaning of work and the significance of labor today.

The New Story of work featured the 2016 Earl Lecture with Annie Leonard.

Learn more about the New Story of Work here

Learn more about the speakers and scholars here

Standing in solidarity with LGBTQI Methodist clergy

By | Main News, Queering Faith | No Comments

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church is currently deliberating over the role of LGBTQI clergy in the future of the church. Currently, the church does not ordain openly LGBTQI clergy, and forbids its clergy to preside over same-gender marriages.

On Monday, May 9, over 100 United Methodist clergy released “A Love Letter to Our Church from Your LGBTQI Religious Leaders.”

Of the 111 signatories to the letter, 18 are PSR alumni/ae or current students. They include Rev. Janelle Ablola, Rev. Brian Adkins, Rev. Dr. Israel Alvaran, Rev. Ann Berney, Rev. Anna Blaedel, Rev. John Cahall, Rev. Karen Damman, Rev. Lindsey Kerr, Rev. Cathlynn Law, Rev. Kelly Love, Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, Rev. Matthew Pearson, Kendall Protzmann, Rev. Patricia Simpson, Rev. Kim Smith, Marvin K. White, Rev. Wendy Woodworth, and Rev. Nancy Yount.

On May 7, at its 15th Anniversary Gala, Pacific School of Religion’s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion honored one of the letter’s signatories, Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto.

Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, Pacific School of Religion’s President, and Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis, the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion’s Managing Director, signed on to a solidarity letter from the Religious Institute urging the United Methodist Church towards full inclusion and affirmation of its LGBTQI clergy.

PSR Alumnus Kent Brintnall writes on “North Carolina’s HB2 and the Shifting Battle over LGBT Rights”

By | Main News, Queering Faith | No Comments

In a recent article, PSR alum Kent L. Brintnall explored LGBT Rights in light of North Carolina’s recent House Bill 2. This piece of legislation, often called the “bathroom bill,” puts serious restrictions on the civil rights of LGBT individuals.

Here is Dr. Brintnall’s piece:

From Religionandpolitics.org:

In March, in a special session that cost taxpayers $42,000, the North Carolina legislature met and passed, after just nine hours of deliberations that included less than an hour of public comment, the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, a piece of legislation now known more widely as House Bill 2 or HB2. The legal and political situation concerning HB2 is rapidly changing. Just last week, the Department of Justice sent letters to Pat McCrory, North Carolina’s governor, and Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina system, informing them that HB2 violates the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act. Two days later, the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development announced they were investigating whether HB2 violates the programs and laws they oversee. North Carolina had until today, May 9th, to respond to the DOJ letter. Failing to state that they will not enforce HB2 puts billions of dollars in federal funds in jeopardy. This morning, Gov. McCrory countered by filing a federal lawsuit against the DOJ in order to uphold HB2. The lawsuit denied the legislation was discriminatory, and it denounced the federal government’s actions as “a baseless and blatant overreach.”

HB2 supporters have defended the law as a vitally necessary response to an ordinance passed by the city of Charlotte that would have allowed citizens to use public accommodations—including bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms—that match their gender identity. (Charlotte’s ordinance was consistent with federal law and with similar statutes in more than 200 cities across the country.) And yet, HB2 goes much further than protecting the sanctity of public restrooms. The law clarifies that anti-discrimination and wage laws can be passed only by the state legislature and not by local governments; it voids anti-discrimination protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, familial and marital status, and veteran status adopted by some North Carolina municipalities; it prohibits local governments from setting minimum wages above the state-mandated level; it eliminates the ability of those injured by discrimination from pursuing their claims in state court. Even if North Carolina complies with the DOJ’s directive, these portions of HB2 will remain in place.

Read the full post at Religion and Politics!