Open Doors

It does not take a Ph.D. in public media to see that women have been at the forefront in our news and politics. (Let’s go ahead a give a giant shout-out to Wendy Davis!) Sen-Wendy-Davis-filibusterAside from the government attempting to (re)take control of the female body through draconian legislation and fear-mongering, not the least of which stems from ignorance and a lust for power, a phenomenal and well-orchestrated event transpired this past weekend. The FBI succeeded in their largest nation-wide bust on the sex-trafficking industry here in the US. Over one hundred individuals were freed from the tyranny of their pimps and trading routines with even more arrests made to secure the freedom of the innocent. The majority of those rescued were women, the youngest only 13. Unfortunately in this case, good news does not make the bad more palatable. Like the ubiquity of the sex-trade for one instance.

I preached a sermon this past week from the lectionary passage Luke 11:1-13. The “Parable of the Persistent Neighbor” is a quirky little pericope exploring the idea of charity and compassion. The protagonist needs a loaf of bread to entertain some unexpected guests. Unfortunately, he called upon his neighbor at midnight for the favor of sharing his bread. Inconvenienced by the late-night call the benefactor eventually shares of his resources–not because they are friends, but because the guy was so persistent in his asking. He was not going to leave until he got what he needed! The crux of the story comes when Jesus says that God is not the curmudgeon neighbor trying to cover his head with the pillow when our middle of the night door knocking won’t cease. Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. God is eager to share the gifts and goods that make for abundant living.

Except when we are still lost and the door is locked, right?


Are women across the globe not knocking loud enough? Have we not been knocking all night, so to speak? How dare our governments turn a deaf ear to our knocks. (Let’s give another shout out to Wendy Davis, our s-heroic persistent neighbor!) And what of the governments around the world who leave their female populations even more lost and wandering than America does?

God is a communal God. Jesus lived in community and spent his life compelling others to care about those who are left out in the cold night after night seeking food/security/shelter/equality/justice. God acts through God’s community of people. God continually shapes us into God’s fuller intentions for us. This means that we get to help God respond to those persistent and pesky knocks. The great doors of freedom and justice do not magically open on their own accord, especially with the winds of patriarchy and dominance bellowing to keep them shut! This means we have to react against the thrusts of looming legislation, entitled power-hungry, politically savvy men, and rise up ourselves in the middle of the darkness to usher in those whose rights are compromised.


The Women’s Center operates with an open door policy. (Well, not literally 24/7; I like to sleep in my own bed at night.) As we are formulating and growing our calendar of events for the coming academic year, we seek to be in partnership with the God who says, “Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.” We long to see this promised reality now. We also seek to participate with other women and organizations in Louisville who are also about the business of sharing our resources with those who have need. Will you partner with us?

A few events for you to anticipate this Fall:
October 10th  Celebrating National Coming Out Day (10/11) in Chapel
October 13th Louisville AIDS Walk
November 17th  Transgender Awareness Memorial Service in Caldwell Chapel

Events TBA:
> A film showing of “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” followed by a conversation with two women seeking ordination in the Catholic Women Priest Movement.
> Our Light + Lunches with special guests from the community

Finally, William Sloane Coffin, former senior minister of The Riverside Church in NYC and rhetorical genius extraordinaire prophetically claimed in a sermon about the subjugation of women during the 19th and 20th centuries that God will not be mocked. (Published in this book.) How so? Sloane Coffin instructs us to remember early suffragists. These women who were martyred for their work and who are today celebrated, emulated, and revered. They are in our history books, their work having paved the way for many of the liberties we to which we are privy. We have erected statues in their honor, in some cases in the very cities that outlawed and murdered them. 01302012_AP070523074824_600Women like Anne Hutchinson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojouner Truth (just to name a few of the big ones) along with more contemporary names like Katie Geneva Cannon, Emilie Townes, Sheryl WuDunn, Hillary Clinton and now Wendy Davis inspire and remind us to run with God to open wide the doors of oppression and truth.

What will our great-grandchildren celebrate in a few years because we kept our doors open with God today? Indeed when one who seeks is found and one who knocks is let in, God’s justice prevails. God will not be mocked!


Hello from the Women’s Center

My name is Lauren Jones Mayfield, and I began working as the part-time Director here at the Women’s Center earlier this month. Jumping in with both feet is an understatement. I’m drenched (in a good way!) with calendaring, filing, writing, development, and mostly learning how to navigate a new position. I love all of it but am most excited about welcoming students back to campus in September. I invite you to bookmark or follow this blog as it will (re)grow into a main avenue by which we share opportunities to advocate for and celebrate the accomplishments of women, host discussions about current political events that affect women, and hear from guest bloggers as they share bits of their own narratives as well as commitments that will serve to inspire and educate us.

The outgoing director, Heather Thiessen’s amazing mind and spirit, and her work at the Center have paved the way for a myriad of women–from working professionals to budding students–to embrace more fully the gift of womanhood. She models from her core the dignity and respect that you read in her writings here on the blog, that you witnessed in her leadership on campus, and that you experienced through personal relationship with her. So for these reasons, among countless others, we will celebrate Heather and her ministry through the Women’s Center. Plan to join us for a party in a few weeks!

“Who am I,” you ask? Having hopped around the country for the last decade with my husband for various educational endeavors, we have recently landed with our three kids here in Louisville, KY to work at Louisville Seminary. I grew up in Northern Kentucky, so it does feel a bit like returning home…for better or worse, right? In regards to the Women’s Center and working at Louisville Seminary, it is absolutely better! I will be ordained in the United Church of Christ within the next few months, and I look forward to the ways this will expand opportunities for ministry. The intersection of justice (not only for women, but all of God’s disenfranchised children), pastoral care, worship, beauty/art, and politics ignites an intensity within me that propels so much of my work and identity as an activist, mother, wife, minister and friend. When I’m not doing any of the aforementioned, I enjoy running, drinking delicious wine, and I often (and too quickly) find myself addicted to another superfluous, melodrama tv show thanks to netflix…Weeds or Downton Abbey anyone?
My kiddos
Tyler and me at LPTS Commencement 2013

I look forward to sharing this space with you!

Fall Arts & Crafts Sale on December 9

Christmas star ornament

‘Tis the Season . . .

For colorful, hand-knit scarves,

Pretty homemade pottery,

And beautiful beaded jewelry.

‘Tis the season . . . 

For sharing gifts and treasures with the ones you love,

A pretty pair of earrings for a friend,

A warm knit hat for a Stranger.

‘Tis the season . . .

For giving gifts that reflect the love and care of the people who made them,

And that symbolize the love of the Holy One for all who will receive them.

This year, consider donating a treasure that you’ve created to the Women’s Center Fall Arts & Crafts Sale, which will be held on December 9, 2011.  That’s less than two weeks away, so start working on your treasures now!  We would like to receive all donations by Wednesday, December 7.

Proceeds from the sale will support the work of the Women’s Center.  Drop by the Women’s Center* or email for an appointment to drop off your items.

* Women’s Center hours: M-F 9-12, MWF 12:30-5:30

Thank you!

Amy Hartsough

Student Coordinator

Women’s Center at LPTS

Louisville AIDS Walk on the Horizon

Team Women's Center and More Light at Louisville AIDS Walk 2010

The Louisville AIDS Walk is coming up, and the Women’s Center is looking forward to once again joining hands and fund raising forces with More Light at LPTS and with Women at the Well to make a contribution to the funds available for helping people with HIV/AIDS here in the Louisville area, raising awareness about the preventability of HIV/AIDS and its circuitous links to oppressive gender- and race-based structures, and building community and solidarity by getting out in the fresh September air and doing something good together.

If you will be in the Louisville area on Sunday, September 25, join us at 2:00 p.m. at the Belvedere to get together for our team picture, and to be ready to start out with the other walkers at 3:00 p.m.

Whether or not you can join us for the walk, please consider sponsoring our team or one of the walkers, and make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Louisville area.



Looking Forward to Hearing

Rev. Clemette Haskins will preach on September 19 as part of the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture events

Several things have made the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture uppermost on the Women’s Center’s mind this week.

First, this morning we read Debra Mumford on Traci West’s Wounds of the Spirit, over at “Thinking Out Loud.” Dr. Mumford’s appreciation of that work reminds us how illuminating it is going to be to hear Dr. West in person on Sunday, September 18 for her lecture, “What Does Anti-racist Christian Exsual Ethics Look Like?” and also on Monday, September 19 for her workshop “U.S. Christianity and Violence Against Women.”

Then, as we work to put the finishing touches on the brochure for the event, we re-read some of the materials Rev. Clemette Haskins has sent us, and experienced a fresh thrill of anticipation. Clemette will be the Alumna preacher at worship on Monday, September 19, 9:00 a.m. in Caldwell Chapel, and we are especially proud and delighted to welcome her once again to the pulpit at Caldwell Chapel and the events of the 6th annual Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture. Clemette is a past Presidential Scholar, recipient of the Burton Z. Cooper prize for excellence in constructive, theological scholarship, and of the Fielding Lewis Walker Fellowship in Doctrinal Theology. Since graduation she has served the church in interim and pastoral associate ministries, and in 2010 was named one of 12 New Clergy Fellows for Ethical Leadership and Sacred Spaces by New York’s Chautauqua Institute. Her ministry draws on her rich experience as a chef, three-time All-American basketball player for Western Kentucky University (B.A., 1987), and coach of Division I women’s basketball.

During and since her time at LPTS, she has been a true friend of the Women’s Center. We know from personal experience that the worship she organizes is profound and moving, too; for example from our memories of her service as liturgist at the 3rd annual Katie Geneva Cannon lecture, and as preacher and worship leader for a service during the inaugural V-Week in 2009. So we are eager to hear her preach on “When Silence is Violence,” which promises to focus on the discrepancy between models of pastoral leadership that “call for leaders to bring voice to those long silenced” and that “rooted in ‘compassion, goodness, humility, sense of humor, integrity, acceptance and justice can transform us individually and collectively from fear and violence to lives of hope and promise,’” and the suffering that women in congregations experience as “violence from the muted, at best, muffled, voice of the church.”

Since the brochure also contains a nod of recognition to the Planning Group, it reminds us that we are looking forward to next week’s Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture Planning Group meeting, Wednesday, July 27, 12:30, in the Women’s Center. We will have some light lunch available, as hear one another’s reviews of the tasks completed so far, and the tasks still to be done to prepare for September’s lecture and events. All interested members of the Seminary community are cordially invited to participate!

More Information on the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture

Register Online for the Workshop

Click here to help fill the Women's Center's cup.

Help fund the upcoming Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture and other Women’s Center programs during our Summer Donation Days!

You can go to OUR ONLINE DONATION SITE, the LPTS Online Donation Site (designate your gift to the Women’s Center), or send your check payable to LPTS – WOMEN’S CENTER FUND to The Women’s Center at Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205.

Thank you!

New Flyer for Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture

Click here to help fill the Women's Center's cup.

Help fund the upcoming Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture and other Women’s Center programs during our Summer Donation Days!

You can go to OUR ONLINE DONATION SITE, the LPTS Online Donation Site (designate your gift to the Women’s Center), or send your check payable to LPTS – WOMEN’S CENTER FUND to The Women’s Center at Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205.

Thank you!

Seeking Nominations for the Butterfly Award

Butterfly logo

Now seeking nominations for the Butterfly Award

The Women’s Center at LPTS will continue to seek nominations for the 2011 Butterfly Award through September 1, 2011.

The Butterfly Award is an annual award given to recognize an individual in the Louisville-Jefferson metropolitan area “for advocacy and activism in working for transgender concerns, specifically justice and equality.” A recipient of the award must be a resident of the Louisville-Jefferson metropolitan area, and active in transgender advocacy, activism, or both in concert with a community organization. The award is presented following the community observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.

The Butterfly Award celebrates gifts and achievements that are often ignored by the larger community, and brings visibility and recognition to work on behalf of a community that is frequently marginalized in public discourse. Transgender persons struggle daily with a particularly complex set of issues that stem from cultural norms around gender, structures of privilege and power built on masculinity and femininity, and widespread ignorance and prejudice about transgender specifically.

Nominations should be made in writing, and should include: the nominee’s name and contact information, the nominator’s name and contact information, and a narrative description of the nominee’s work on behalf of the transgender community that merits consideration for the award. Nominations should be sent to: The Butterfly Award, c/o the Women’s Center at LPTS, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205.

Please feel free to contact the Women’s Center at (502) 894-2285 or Heather Thiessen, Director, at (502) 992-9376 for additional information.

Click here to help fill the Women's Center's cup.

The Women’s Center continues to accept with gratitude contributions to the Women’s Center made during our Summer Donation Days!

You can go to OUR ONLINE DONATION SITE, the LPTS Online Donation Site (designate your gift to the Women’s Center), or send your check payable to LPTS – WOMEN’S CENTER FUND to The Women’s Center at Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205.

Thank you!