2018 CFT Gathering Plenaries

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Alicia Crosby

Alicia Crosby (Racial Justice)

Plenary Presenter

Alicia Crosby is the cofounder and executive director of the Center for Inclusivity (CFI). Her passions for justice, spiritually engaged activism, and community engagement led her to pursue an M.A. in Social Justice and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management & Philanthropy at Loyola University Chicago. Read more…

Locating Your Role In The Story of Our Collective Liberation

The story of Esther is an inspirational one for sure — a young woman becomes queen of a nation and helps her people fight for their liberation. So many people identify with Esther but the reality is that her marginalized identity as an ethnic and religious minority under the oppressive rule of an imperial state means that their identification with her often requires ignoring her social location in the world as well as their own.

Join us for this interactive plenary where we will examine the story of Esther, as well as our own social contexts, to identify the people, power, and privileges present in an effort to discover what role(s) we play in the story of our collective liberation.

Julia Stronks, J.D., Ph.D.
Julia Stronks, J.D., Ph.D.

Julia Stronks, J.D., Ph.D. (LGBTQ Justice)

Plenary Presenter

Julia Stronks is a professor of political science at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. She has practiced law, and her Ph.D. dissertation focused on the definition of religion in First Amendment jurisprudence. She writes about the intersection of faith, law, and policy and most recently has focused on protection for LGBTQ members of society. Read her articles on Christian Feminism TodayRead more about Dr. Stronks.

Christian Bakers, the Supreme Court and the LGBTQ Community: what do we do now?

The Supreme Court case assessing the state law requiring all public accommodations, like wedding cake makers, to operate without discrimination will be handed down in the month before the Gathering. This plenary will explain the decision of the Justices and make recommendations for next steps in the pursuit of justice for all people.

Nicole Cortez and Sara John
Nicole Cortez, J.D., and Sara John

Nicole Cortés, J.D., and Sara John (Immigration Justice)

Plenary Presenters

Nicole Cortés, J.D., is cofounder of the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project (MICA),  an organization committed to working with low-income immigrants to overcome barriers to justice. Sara John, MA, is the program coordinator for the Interfaith Committee on Latin America.  Both organizations are based in St. Louis.

Antecedentes, Análisis, y Acción: Standing with Immigrants in Trump’s America

Many immigrants in St. Louis are living in the margins, without representation, and often without access to basic services. Esther, who also lived in a foreign land, teaches us how to analyze the situation and claim our power in order to overcome these barriers and ultimately, secure our liberation. In this session, participants will learn a brief history of the creation of US immigration and border laws and policies, understand community impacts of policy changes since January 2017, explore tools for analyzing injustice in the immigration system, and consider a values-forward approach to transformation and legislative reform.

Dr. Christy Sim, Dr. Michelle Panchuk, Dr. Katie Deaver
Dr. Christy Sim, Dr. Michelle Panchuk, Dr. Katie Deaver

Dr. Christy Sim, Dr. Michelle Panchuk, Dr. Katie M. Deaver (Domestic Violence)

Plenary Presenters

Dr. Christy Sim is an independent consultant and trainer who provides healing tools for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Dr. Michelle Panchuk is an assistant professor of philosophy in the English and Philosophy department at Murray State University.  Her current research projects cluster at the intersection of philosophy of religion with trauma theory, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of disability.   Katie Deaver earned her Ph.D. in Feminist Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Her dissertation explored the connections between the Christian understanding of atonement theology and the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States.

Mitigating the Effects of Trauma on Body, Spirit, and Mind

In this plenary session participants will learn about the impact of trauma on the body, mind, and spirit of survivors of violence and leave empowered with resources and tools to mitigate the impact while supporting survivors as they work toward healing.

Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Dr. Kendra Weddle
Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Dr. Kendra Weddle

Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Dr. Kendra Weddle (Feminist History)

Plenary Presenters

Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton is an author, teacher, hymn lyricist, and chaplain who serves as adjunct professor at Perkins School of Theology and Richland College, Dallas, Texas.  Dr. Kendra Weddle is an associate professor of Religion and Humanities at Texas Wesleyan University. Kendra and Jann will be discussing their new book about the life and work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni.

Building Bridges: The Challenge of Being In-Between

Letha Dawson Scanzoni changed America’s religious history by building bridges. From All We’re Meant to Be to Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? to her longtime guidance of EEWC-CFT, Letha has demonstrated how the divine call often leads to uncharted territory where compassion and courage converge. Drawing on multiple voices of people whose lives she has transformed, this plenary celebrates the vast influence of Letha as it explores how we as an organization use our past to build bridges to the future.

Deb Saxon and Mark Mattison
Deb Saxon, Ph.D., and Mark M. Mattison

Deborah Saxon, Ph.D. and Mark M. Mattison (Extracanonical Texts)

Plenary Presenters

Deborah Saxon, Ph.D., teaches at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the author of The Care of the Self in Early Christian Texts. Deb researches newly discovered Christian texts, women’s voices, the inclusive perspectives they reveal, and the intersection of gender and religion. Mark M. Mattison is an independent writer and scholar. He is the author of The Gospel of Judas: The Sarcastic Gospel; The Gospel of Thomas: A New Translation for Spiritual SeekersThe Gospel of Mary: A Fresh Translation and Holistic Approach; and The Goblin Gambit. He was one of the creators of the Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament.

Standing Up, Speaking Up in the Gospel of Mary

Our first plenary introduces a fascinating text used by followers of Jesus as early as the second century and how it vividly portrays the bold leadership of Mary. Using this long-overlooked gospel as a starting point, we will think together about both challenges and opportunities for feminists today who insist on standing up and speaking up.

Rev. Darcy Metcalfe
Rev. Darcy Metcalfe

Rev. Darcy Metcalfe (Eco-Womanism)

Student Presenter

Rev. Darcy Metcalfe was our 2016 Nancy A. Hardesty Memorial Scholarship recipient.  She is attending the University of Iowa working toward her doctorate.  Her special interests are ethics and bioethics surrounding genetic research with historically disempowered populations.

Does Racism Change Our Cellular Composition?

For much of human existence, different groups have used human difference as a tool to “other” groups of people and maintain power over targeted groups of people.  However, with genetic breakthroughs of the last few decades, scientists have revealed that all humans have only minuscule differences in DNA and genetic codes.  The human family has drastically more genetic similarities than differences.  Ecowomanist Melanie Harris, however, explores how racism has the ability to change cellular composition, especially in regards to ecological ecosystems.  Environmental racism, in turn, results in changes in human cellular composition.  I will be exploring these cellular and genetic changes in light of Ecowomanism and Karen Barad’s philosophy of physics and entanglement.  Humans are quantumly entangled with the earth and all that is, and because of this, how we treat each other and the world around us matters.  Our cells and genes reveal distinctive truths concerning the imperative to love one another.”

Erica Saunders
Erica Saunders

Erica Saunders (Transgender Justice)

Student Presenter

The 2017 Nancy A. Hardesty Scholarship recipient, Erica Saunders is an M.Div. student at Wake Forest Divinity school. After completing her M.Div., Erica aspires to be ordained in the Baptist tradition and to pursue a Ph.D. in New Testament. Her research interests include feminist and decolonizing approaches to the New Testament and the Pauline epistles, particularly the Corinthian correspondence.

“Wisdom in Rich Variety”: A Christian Vision of Transgender Justice

In a time when transgender people, particularly trans women of color, face unprecedented levels of discrimination and violence, faith communities can offer an alternative vision of welcome, affirmation, and justice for gender-diverse people. This presentation enters Christian feminist tradition and aspects of lived trans experience to explore how the Church can imagine and model a more just community for trans individuals.

Leslie Harrison
Rev. Leslie Harrison

Rev. Dr. Leslie Harrison (Sunday Sermon)

Worship Service Presenter

CFT Executive Council member, Rev. Leslie Harrison, earned her M.Div. from Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern University, where she is currently pursuing a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy. She works as a hospice chaplain, substance abuse counselor, life coach, and preacher.