I just returned from a week in California where I attended a staff/faculty/board retreat for Starr King School for the Ministry and the second Transgender Religious Leaders’ Summit (sponsored by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry and the National Center for Transgender Equality.) It was busy, intense, inspiring, and exhausting.
The seminary is in the process of developing and launching a new educational model that is both responsive to changes in the world and in technology and will be something new in the world of theological education. During the retreat it became clear that the trustees, faculty, staff, and students of Starr King are deeply committed to Starr King’s vision of education that embodies the values it teaches: a commitment to exploring multi-faith engagement from a perspective that emphasizes the common roots and values of the world’s major religions and actively counters the adversarial attitudes that have become prevalent during our “War on Terror; a commitment to educating to counter oppressions and create just and sustainable communities; and a commitment to education with “moveable walls” that isn’t content sitting in ivory towers, but insists on being at work in the world as well as engaging the world in multiple modalities that attend to the advances in technology and creation of new kinds of communities. The whole Starr King community is thoughtfully engaged in the process of refining the plan for this innovative new way of doing theological education.
The Transgender Religious Leaders’ Summit was an opportunity for those of us who are isolated in our own communities to come together and meet with others in similar situations. There were workshops on public policy, human resources, health insurance, interfaith engagement, denominational initiatives and much more. There were sixty or so transgender religious leaders present to share stories and support. The community worshiped, played, learned, and had fun together. It was a powerful gathering.
Now I’m home and trying to get back “up to speed” on what has been happening here and what needs my attention. I’ll try to check in from time to time. In the meantime, go to the great new blog portal Discover UU for some great reading.