Rev. Liz Edman, M.Div. ’91

Categories: Alums in the World

What do you do?

In terms of employment, I’m bi-vocational and currently earn my living through my political career, directing community outreach for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.  As a priest, I am pleased to count as my “altar home” the Episcopal Church of St. Andrew and Holy Communion in South Orange, NJ, where I serve with the incomparable Rev. Sandye Wilson ’82.

Beacon Press recently published my new book Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity. It has gotten starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and the Library Journal. At the same time, it’s humbling to note that in the New York Public Library my book is shelved directly adjacent to Dr. James Cone’s Black Theology.

What do you like best about what you do?

I love, love, love hitting the road to talk with people and preach about how queer ethics can inform authentic Christian practice. My travels so far have taken me to London and various points in the US.  I’ll soon travel to Cuba.  And a poignant opportunity is coming up that no queer person would take for granted:  I will be preaching about Queer Virtue in the church where I grew up in — where my mother’s ashes are interred — in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

How did Union prepare you for this?

My work involves a deep dive into scripture — including passages that on their face are hard for progressive Christians to stomach. I’m looking for new life, for resurrection, for hope. No one taught me more about that than Phyllis Trible. Union was also where I started learning how to bring such insights to life in liturgy at our daily chapel services. Very importantly, Union gave me the chance to explore sexuality through a lens of faith and rigorous scholarship back in the 80s and 90s, long before it was a mainstream conversation. “Queer Virtue” took years to incubate in my soul, and I had that time, thanks to Union’s being on the cutting edge so long ago.

How do you stay connected to Union?

I live in New York and go to events at Union with some regularity. Usually I learn about them through UTS email alerts. I also have a robust network of Union alums who are friends on social media and just plain old friends!

What would you say to someone considering going to Union?

Be part of this awesome tradition.