DIVERSITY IS HERE. WE ARE FOR INCLUSION.
With the creation of the Jane Adams Spahr Reconciliation Project, SFTS joins the work of the Spirit in creating truly inclusive faith and spiritual communities. Together, we help these communities live into their promise of inclusion by opening up opportunities for congregations to experience the many ways LGBTQ people of faith and spiritual practice are called to serve, and to recognize even more deeply the full dignity and humanity of all families.
The work of reconciliation is not unique to LGBTQ people and there are many persons and groups who experience injustice. This work stands alongside recognition of the sacred creation, worth and gifts of all persons with respect to all human differences: gender, racial identity, ethnicity, economic class, age and ability. We are a cohort of LGBTQ and ally faith and spiritual leaders who celebrate the beautiful, sacred diversity of Godʼs creation. As one of our guiding principles, the Spahr Reconciliation Project recognizes the intersectionality of all faith and justice issues. We are all children of God and one human family. The goal is the creation of healthy, thriving, authentic communities of faith.
OUR CALL FOR COMPASSIONATE ACTION
This work of recognition of sacred creation and reconciliation creates the space for liberation and revitalization of communities of faith and spiritual practice. This revitalization and liberation process is central to the intersection of faith and justice issues. Faithfully and lovingly done, a meaningful process of truth and reconciliation empowers people of faith and spiritual practice to offer an authentic, vibrant witness to the fullness of God’s welcome. The Jane Spahr Reconciliation Project initiates and invites others into a truth and reconciliation process intended to lead people of faith and spiritual practice to an even deeper experience of relationship and reconciliation. This process is structured toward two objectives:
1) To open up spaces for faith communities to hear the stories of those who have been silenced or excluded, and
2) To lead communities of faith and spiritual practice into reconciliation conversations and actions.
Experience teaches that change happens when real people meet and share their stories and their faith. We are coordinating a cohort of gifted LGBTQ ministers and educators reaching out to congregations and other faith communities for the purposes of preaching, leading worship and educational offerings. We are also engaging campus ministries, non-profit organizations and church governing bodies regarding inclusion and interconnectivity.
ONLINE STORY TELLING
Inspired by Storycorps.org in which stories of all peoples and backgrounds are recorded for posterity, members of the LGBTQ community can express themselves openly to archive their experiences in their faith and spiritual communities.
"SHIFTS HAPPEN" LECTURE SERIES
Shifts Happen, the Centerʼs free lecture series, features intriguing panel discussions which also include local community leaders. The forums, all experienced in person or live-streamed through SFTS, consider how faith communities can respond and provide value to cultural and spiritual shifts. Issues of race, gender, sexual orientation and environmentalism are deeply interconnected from a spiritual perspective, and we highlight the role faith and spiritual communities have in working across justice lines.
WATCH THE VIDEO
ABOUT REV. DR. JANIE SPAHR
The Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr is a Presbyterian minister who advocates and educates for an inclusive church, pursuing justice and seeking answers to challenges for the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender Christians in our community. Janie seeks to heal the divide, even after many years of significant challenge based upon her sexual orientation.
After five years of serving as an ordained Presbyterian minister, Spahr was encouraged to resign as Executive Director of Oakland Council of Presbyterian Churches when she came out as a lesbian. That was 1980. Two years later, she was called to serve as the Minister of Pastoral Care in the Castro area of Metropolitan Community Church in San Francisco, when her own Presbyterian denomination did not allow her to serve. Spahr spent the next decade facing similar barriers in church policies at the highest levels.
Meanwhile, Janie’s light and dynamism for inclusion found its way in spite of such institutional discouragement. She was among the founding members of the Ministry of Light, which then became the Spectrum Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns in Marin County, California. As their Executive Director for more than 10 years, this ministry became the leading LGBTQ center where innovative and inclusive programs such as youth groups, parent groups, PFLAG, support groups, family camps, and an AIDS Ministry could take root and thrive. Janie then focused her efforts on an outreach educational and advocacy ministry called That All May Freely Serve (TAMFS) to develop a regional network within the PC(USA) to educate and advocate for a just and inclusive church.
Throughout her ministry, Janie had to face church prosecution for her inclusive ministry. But even when the church insisted that Janie should say no, she always said yes—specifically by celebrating the marriages of same gender couples and recognizing the full dignity of their families. Even as she faced prosecution, Janie built a broad community of advocacy, compassion and protest—dramatically embodied in that moment on May 16, 2012 when the Presbytery of the Redwoods refused to censure Janie Spahr, as decreed by the Presbyterian Supreme Court. Instead, the Presbytery of the Redwoods voted 74-18 to support her, forging a new path of inclusion.
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