Summer/Fall 2002
Volume 7 Number 1






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BGLASS Week 2002

“There is one among us,” declared the publicity for BGLASS Week 2002, a week in April of education and affirmation for the Seminary community regarding issues of sexual identity. Representatives of BGLASS (an organization serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, and supportive communities at PTS) explained that the slogan not only alluded to the statistic that one in ten people identifies as homosexual, but also to the common motivation for loving our neighbors—the idea that Jesus is always among us.

Forums filled the week: Monday, Professors Katharine Doob Sakenfeld and Nancy Duff addressed issues in the gay and lesbian church community; Tuesday, members of New York City’s Presbyterian Welcome presented a regional response to Amendment A; and Thursday, the Reverend Karla Fleshman, a pastor from Media, Pennsylvania, spoke about her experiences as Columbia Theological Seminary’s first “out” lesbian student.

Photo: Loren Pankratz

BGLASS forum participants

More than 110 students, faculty, and staff gathered Wednesday on the chapel steps in matching t-shirts that read, “ordain.” Pictures were taken, capturing on film those who stood up for gay ordination. “We were thrilled with the turn out,” said BGLASS comoderator Shannon Abbott, then a middler. “It was great to see so many supportive people there.”

Students and guests crowded into the Main Lounge Friday to hear the Reverend Dr. Mel White, author of Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America, speak about his past as a ghostwriter for Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, and his present as an “out-of-the-closet” Christian working for justice and reconciliation within the church.

Friday night, White preached and PTS Professor Brian Blount served as celebrant at a community worship service, beginning to draw to a close a week that had opened with a vespers service Monday.

Activities culminated with Saturday’s “‘Out’ and ‘In’ Ministry,” a forum that allowed PTS gay and lesbian alums and others to share their stories with each other and current students. Then-middler Robert Ater, BGLASS comoderator, said, “It was wonderful to have this alumni/ae group back on campus. I was inspired by their stories and am grateful to know that there are many wonderful PTS alums out there, serving God in many ways, who also happen to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.”


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