Fri. 9/15, 1– 6pm; Sat. 9/16, 9am –5pm
Theorizing and theologizing about sexuality and gender happens in many progressive seminaries, but how do seminarians, recent graduates, and new clergy take these topics into a congregation? How does theology about sexuality and gender move from the seminary to the sanctuary? This course will explore ways of assessing a congregation’s readiness to engage with sexuality and gender. It will provide ideas about how to broach these normally taboo subjects and provide strategies for teaching, preaching, providing pastoral counseling, and creating a congregational culture where complex understandings of gender and sexuality can be discussed and explored. The course will be highly participatory, and students should bring situations and questions from congregational settings. Students will leave with an outline of a sermon, teaching resource, or other educational programs that could be used in a congregation.
Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey is the president and CEO of the Religious Institute, a national multifaith nonprofit dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. Religious Institute programs address reproductive health, rights, and justice; full inclusion of LGBTQ people in faith communities and society; comprehensive sexuality education; and prevention of sexual abuse, harassment, and misconduct in faith communities.
Marie is the lead author of the Religious Institute publication Making the Invisible Visible: Bisexuality in Faith Communities, and speaks regularly on faith and sexuality. She is a pastor with Metropolitan Community Churches and serves as a volunteer assisting clergy at MCC Hartford, CT.