2018 CFT Gathering Workshops

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Susan Cottrell

How to Talk so Conservative Christians Will Listen: A Vision for Radical, Lavish Inclusion!

Susan Cottrell

The source of attack and hate against the LGBTQI community—in words and actions that have deeply wounded so many of us—is primarily rooted in the non-affirming, conservative Christian church.

To stand against this narrative, we must change the hearts and minds of those still in the church, not just participate in angry and ineffective debate.

Susan Cottrell has been part of an extensive project with Auburn Seminary and their breakthrough research on what does and does not work to help non-affirming Christians become more welcoming and affirming of the LGBTQI community. Susan will present practical skills to interact with conservative Christians, including our own families, to help them embrace the vision for radical, lavish inclusion.

About Susan

Susan Cottrell is an international speaker, author, and consultant who is the prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children. Susan was featured on ABC’s 20/20, Nightline, and Good Morning America. Through her nonprofit organization FreedHearts, Susan challenges Christians to make love the foundation of their faith. She earned her Master of Arts in Theological Studies at Austin Seminary, and is the author of several books including, “Mom, I’m Gay”— Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith, True Colors: Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You, and Radically Included: The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion. Most important, she is the mom to two amazing queer daughters!

Reta Halteman Finger

Crying for Justice: Reading Revelation in Rome and in Trump’s America

Reta Halteman Finger, PhD

“Oh, God, how long?” With justice as a major theme in the book of Revelation, why does the figure of a slaughtered lamb control the action? What parallels exist between Rome and America today? This workshop will introduce you to apocalyptic literature and challenge any futuristic, prophecy-oriented, Christian Zionist interpretation of the book of Revelation. Bring your questions and your Bible.

About Reta

Reta Halteman Finger has been a member of EEWC-CFT since the 1970s. She edited the Christian feminist magazine, Daughters of Sarah for about 16 years and later taught New Testament at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, until she retired. Today she does adjunct teaching at Eastern Mennonite University and writes a Bible study blog at the CFT website called Reta’s Reflections. Her books include The Wisdom of Daughters (coedited with Kari Sandhaas), Roman House Churches for Today, Creating a Scene in Corinth, and Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts.

Leslie Harrison
Rev. Leslie Harrison

Don’t You Forget About Me: Black Female Issues Rarely Addressed by Society

Rev. Dr. Leslie Harrison

Black females are the foundation of America. We nursed our babies and the master’s babies at the same breast; we nurtured and trained the master’s children hoping to keep our children from being sold further into slavery.

We walked away from slavery but remained slaves of our husbands, families, and a society that refused to acknowledge our presence, our power, and our debilitating issues.

Over the years, we have learned to stand tall and speak up through our actions rather than our voices. During the Civil Rights movement, it was our tired and sore feet that desegregated buses and marched for equality. We did not become a major part of the early feminist movement because so many of the issues did not pertain to us.

We love America; we would die for America. And now we ask America, “Don’t you forget about me!”

About Leslie

Leslie Harrison is a listener, a friend, and a voice for the voiceless (until they find their voice!). She is the pastor of Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church and a doctoral candidate at Eastern University. She has worked as a hospital and hospice chaplain and an addictions counselor. She is passionate about helping people live into their dreams and purpose! She is the vice-coordinator of the CFT Executive Council.

Lisa DeWeese, RYT200

Yoga with Mama Lisa

Lisa DeWeese, RYT200 

Start your day with gentle stretching, breath work, and meditation.  Lisa’s one hour yoga classes are designed for all bodies and all fitness levels. Bring your mat and any props (blocks, straps, etc…) you have. You can participate from a chair if needed.  The practices she designs will provide a great way to start your day.

About Lisa

Lisa DeWeese, RYT200, specializes in creating practices designed to relieve stress and rejuvenate the body. Her warm and engaging presence ensures every person feels confident and right at home. Participants can expect beginning postures cued with detailed explanations, yoga props to help achieve proper alignment, and gentle transitions from one pose to another. Lisa recently added to her skill set by completing an additional 80 hours of Yin Yoga training. Speaking about her yoga philosophy, Lisa says, “So many people feel a deep sense of shame about their bodies, because they don’t look like what someone else says is beautiful. But we are all beautiful and our bodies are so remarkable. I want to help people learn to love and appreciate the beauty each of us brings to the world.”

Caring for Ourselves in Such a Time as This

Peg Conway

Advocacy and activism can be draining, especially when there are setbacks, and even just reading the news (or Twitter!) can cause overwhelming anxiety. In such a time as this, a deliberate self-care plan is essential to sustain our efforts in the public realm as well as maintain personal well-being. This experiential workshop will present and teach a series of holistic, body-centered practices to relieve stress, rejuvenate energy, and anchor oneself in the whole of creation. All can be done from a chair. Time for sharing and discussion will be included.

About Peg

Peg Conway began studying Healing Touch in 2014. Its simple techniques balance the body’s energy system to create relaxation and relieve pain, and she regularly offers it to clients at a food pantry. Peg’s writing has appeared in America and US Catholic magazines, and online at Energy magazine, Feminism and Religion, and Christian Feminism Today. She is the author of Embodying the Sacred: A Spiritual Preparation for Birth and presented on this topic at the 2014 Gathering. She is currently writing a memoir of childhood mother loss and delayed grief. She earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a B.A. from Xavier University. Peg is active in political causes as a local elected official and engaged citizen.

Melanie Springer Mock

Raising Feminist Teens in an Age of Booty Pics, #MeToo, and Purity Balls

Melanie Springer Mock, PhD

Social media has complicated the already difficult work of raising teens. Casual, sexualized social media exchanges coupled with a hookup mentality objectifies girls, especially, grooming them to enter an adult world where sex and sexuality seems their best (and only) commodity.

Christian culture’s answer to this dynamic—including abstinence education and purity programs—objectifies girls in a different way, likewise preparing them for an adulthood where sex and sexuality are their best (and only) commodity.

In this workshop, Melanie Springer Mock will share recent research on teens, social media, and sex. This research will serve as a foundation for a guided discussion about what we can do to raise a new generation of Christian feminists at such a time as this, when women’s empowerment sometimes seems antithetical to girls’ lived experiences.

About Melanie

Melanie Springer Mock is a professor of English at George Fox University, in Newberg, Oregon. In 2009, she won the GFU Undergraduate Faculty of the Year award, and in 2015, she received the GFU Undergraduate Researcher of the Year award. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including, most recently, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else (Herald Press, 2018). Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Nation, Christian Feminism Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Mennonite World Review, among other places. She lives in Dundee, Oregon, with her husband and two teen sons.

Chandra Snell

Discerning Our Spiritual Gifts in Such a Time as This

Chandra Snell, PhD

As is evident from this year’s conference theme, now is not the time for complacency. Our increasingly fractured world is demanding more from each of us. But what, exactly? And how are Christians to know how best to contribute?

The Apostle Paul stated, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Cor 3:6). Indeed, while God is the ultimate source, God also calls each of us to discern and exercise the spiritual gifts God has given to each of us. But just what are spiritual gifts, and how are we to recognize ours?

About Chandra

Chandra Snell is Associate Professor of Speech at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where she teaches courses in communication. A Certified Candidate for ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church, she is also Co-Adviser of the FAMU Wesley Foundation and serves on the board of directors of Wisdom’s Wellspring, a ministry for young women in transition. Currently pursuing a Master of Theological Studies degree at Asbury Theological Seminary, Chandra has done postgraduate studies at Wesley House Methodist College, University of Cambridge. She is a coeditor of Unitarian Universalists of Color: Stories of Struggle, Courage, Love and Faith.

Jera Brown

Can Pleasure be a Virtue?

Jera Brown, MFA

What we find pleasure in is a significant part of our identity but, especially for people of faith, our relationship with pleasure is . . . complicated. In this workshop, we’ll look at Biblical texts around pleasure.

We’ll investigate ways the church has inflicted trauma around issues related to sexual and non-sexual desires and what sort of ethical and theological framework we might consider as we pursue things that bring us joy.

About Jera

Jera is a queer Christian activist, intersectional feminist, and freelance writer whose work engages sensitive issues around sexuality and spirituality. She is the editor of Sacred and Subversive, a multi-faith blog and anthology project offering queer perspectives on the future of faith communities.

Sherry Jordon, Associate professor of Theology, portrait in JRC office, February 6, 2007

Reimagining Spiritual Practices for Healing and Wholeness

Sherry Jordon, PhD

Working for social justice is exhausting, especially “in such a time as this.” How can we take care of ourselves—spiritually, emotionally, and physically—as we continue to work for justice? Feminist theology, with its emphasis on relationships, embodiment, and inclusive rituals, offers ways to find community and wholeness in the midst of chaos and stress.

About Sherry

Sherry Jordon is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas, where she specializes in historical theology, particularly the Reformation period, and Women’s Studies. Jordon served on the Coordinating Council of the Re-Imagining Community from 1998-2003, spoke at the 2003 Re-Imagining Gathering, and wrote an essay on feminist theology for Bless Sophia: Worship, Liturgy, and Ritual of the Re-Imagining Community.

Rev. Mary Lokers

Wounded Healers Embracing Wholeness

Healing food addiction by understanding biblical concepts and practicing self-care

Rev. Mary Lokers

Reflecting on the story of the Good Samaritan, many of us aspire to be that tender, mindful person who stops, attends to, and provides for the wounded stranger.  My life proves this.  I was a psych major, counseled troubled kids immediately after college, was a licensed social worker,  and have been in some form of “helping and healing” industry ever since.  When facing my emotional eating and addiction to food, I realized that I never once saw myself as that wounded vulnerable stranger, desperate for intense support from caring healers.  In this workshop I will share biblical insights and self-care practices that have informed my own journey to wholeness. 

About Mary

Rev. Mary Lokers was deeply entrenched in her fundamentalist religious belief system, which included 21 years in the “Pray away the Gay” programs.  After exhaustive Biblical study and synchronistic connections with other free thinking trail blazers, she unraveled Biblical literalism to embrace the metaphorical secrets and mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Despite walking in spiritual freedom, her emotional eating and food addiction surfaced causing her to address and heal her woundedness.  She creates Biblical-based workbooks guiding others who seek liberation and wholeness.  Mary, a former licensed Social Worker and Family Systems Therapist, is an author, workshop presenter, foot reflexologist, certified life coach, reiki master, and founder of Religious Recovery in Indianapolis.