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!


Dr. M. Shawn Copeland to be 2012 Katie Geneva Cannon Lecturer

Dr. M. Shawn Copeland

Dr. M. Shawn Copeland

Dr. M. Shawn Copeland, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston College, will be the 7th annual Katie Geneva Cannon lecturer. Dr. Copeland is the author of  numerous articles focusing on the ethical and theological lessons of black women’s lives, experience, and spiritual struggles. Her early work on suffering in womanist perspective is now classic. (See the widely anthologized “‘Wading through Many Sorrows’: Toward a Theology of Suffering in Womanist Perspective” – in, among other collections, A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering, Emilie M. Townes, ed. (Maryknoll: Orbis, 1993) 109-129.) More recently she is the author of Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race, and Being (Fortress Press, 2010); The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille: The Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality (Paulist Press, 2009); and Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience. With LaReine-Marie Mosely and Albert Raboteau (Orbis Books, 2009).

The Women’s Center is grateful that Dr. Copeland is able to include the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture in her active scholarly and public speaking schedule, and we look forward to hearing from her in September.

The Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture is set for Sunday, September 23, 7:00 p.m., in Hundley Hall, Gardencourt, on the LPTS campus. Dr. Copeland will lead a workshop on Monday following the lecture at 10:30 a.m. in Laws Lodge. We are also looking forward to Monday worship, 9:00 a.m. in Caldwell Chapel, with Alumna preacher Kerri Allen. Monday’s events will be capped by a closing lunch and worship in the Women’s Center.

For additional information and pre-lecture registration, contact the Women’s Center, 502.894.2285. We hope to see many of our readers there!

Fast and Fabulous

The Women's Center is OPEN for Fall!

Fast and fabulous – is how time seems to be flying here at the Women’s Center as the plans for the Fall semester, its attendant activities, and the preparations for spring (no, it’s not EVEN too early for that) are falling into place. Folks who want to be involved in all the action can get ready for:

Helping to plan this year’s community Transgender Day of Remembrance service and Week of Awareness — the community group meets Thursday, September 8, 7:30 in the Women’s Center;

Getting in on the excitement of setting up V-Week 2012 and the 2012 Women’s Center production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, on Friday, September 9, 12:30 (after chapel), in the Women’s Center;

Planning to attend the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture, almost upon us, and registering for the Workshop with Rev. Dr. Traci C. West on Monday after Worship with Rev. Clemette Haskins in Caldwell Chapel;

Meeting Rev. Melissa DeRosia, author of A Girlfriend’s Guide to Ministry, just out from Alban Institute, in the Women’s Center for Light + Lunch on Friday, September 23, 12:30;

Joining the Team Women’s Center, Women at the Well, and More Light for the Louisville AIDS Walk by going to our team and donation site, raising money for services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Louisville Metro area, and then walking with us on Sunday, September 25.

Act fast! Because this Fall is shaping up to be Fabulous!

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

There is still time to fuel the Women’s Center’s fast and fabulous Fall effort by making a donation to the Women’s Center 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!

An Invitation

Join us for an informal celebration in the Women's Center Tuesday, August 16, 3:00 p.m.

The Women’s Center cordially invites all TSE students (and their friends, neighbors, and teachers) to a Study Break and Welcome Reception in the Women’s Center on Tuesday, August 16, 3:00 p.m. It will be an opportunity for folks new to the campus to FIND the Women’s Center (we know that’s a challenge sometimes: look for us on the ground floor of White Hall on the Seminary campus), and to FIND OUT about the place, the people, and the possibilities connected with the Women’s Center.

We hope everyone will take a break from their TSE studies to join us. Refreshments will be served!

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

There is still time to help fund this year’s Women’s Center programs by making a donation to the Women’s Center 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!

On the August Calendar

image of auspicious dates in Chinese calendrical format

Mark your calendar with Auspicious Dates

Much of what’s on the Women’s Center’s calendar for the month of August has to do with the preliminary beginnings of the new school year. We are looking forward to Wednesday, August 10 and the Seminary’s annual Ice Cream Social, the traditional beginning of it all for incoming students, and of the new round of the academic calendar for everyone else. After that, Saturday, August 13 begins Transforming Seminary Education (TSE), an in-depth academic orientation for incoming seminarians. We are eager to meet the members of this year’s incoming class, and wish each of them well as they take their first steps in theological education here.

August brings us towards the end of some planning cycles and the beginning of others. There is still time to get in on the planning for the Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture (Here’s more information about this event!) — the planning group will meet Wednesday, August 17 at 1:00 in the Women’s Center, over a light lunch. We’ll review the plans in place, check progress, and formulate steps for putting the finishing touches on the event plans.

August will also be the time to get in on the ground floor for planning for an encore Women’s Center production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. An initial organizational meeting is tentatively slated for Friday, August 19 at 1:00 in the Women’s Center. The production is planned for V-Week 2012, February 13-17. The Vagina Monologues expresses in dramatic form what is at stake for women, and for humanity, in the continuing epidemic of violence against women and girls, and presses for a re-orientation towards pleasure and away from pain.

The Women’s Center will be closed Monday, August 1 – Friday, August 5 for les vacances, and will re-open Tuesday, August 9 at 1:00.

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!

The Longest Day

A long day in the sun

Today is the Summer Solstice — the longest day of the year. From here on in the days get progressively shorter. It’s as if we’re poised at the peak of the annual solar rolar coaster, about to throw our hands in the air for the descent into the short days of fall and the dark tunnel of winter.

That’s the solar calendar. On the liturgical calendar, we’re already a week into the long, long stretch of ordinary time that runs from Trinity Sunday, this past Sunday, through November’s celebration of the Reign of Christ Sunday and the beginning of Advent on the last Sunday in November — November 27 this year. If it’s true that “when you’re green, you’re growing,” these months of ordinary time should be a stretch of growth for those of us tuned in to the rhythms of the church year.

On the academic calendar, the bass beat for the dances of seminarians, teachers, and mothers of school-age children, this is still the heat of summer in every way. It’s the brief, intense time for team sports and competitions, summer camp with its provisioning, packing, and packing-off-to, tending to gardens, getting in some afternoons at the county pool or some hours at the local library. For some it’s the time of packing, moving, re-organizing and re-structuring, taking a deep breath and taking the plunge into a new movement of the dance.

In the Women’s Center we notice all these rhythms, as each day brings us closer to the events of the Fall: Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture, September 18, and the Post-Lecture Events of Monday, September 19; the Louisville AIDS Walk the following week, Sunday, September 25; a series of lunch-hour talks with Louisville-area clergywomen, on the delights and demands of life in a religious profession; the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Sunday, November 20; 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (November 25 – December 10), for which we are hoping to do something . . . active; and of course, more fundraising, in the form of the Evening with the Stars Benefit, and the now-becoming-traditional Fall Arts and Crafts Sale.

We recognize that the days, even though they still seem long, sunny and warm, are growing shorter daily. We appreciate their tremendous potential for reflection, deliberation, learning, and growth. And we know that they are limited, and for that reason, precious: the summer doesn’t last forever. Nor would we want it to. One day in August, we know from experience, we will notice that leaning towards the fall that is anticipation and desire for its new beginning. For now, though, we are trying to make hay while the sun of this long day is shining, and to cultivate what is green and growing now, so that it will be fruitful, and nourishing, in the days to come.

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

Among the green and growing things we are cultivating this summer is our annual fund! You can help by making a contribution to the Women’s Center 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!

Save the Date: September 18 & 19

Rev. Dr. Traci C. West will be the 2011 Katie Geneva Cannon Lecturer

Save the Date . . .

2011 Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture
Sunday, September 18
6:00 p.m. Reception
7:30 p.m. Lecture (free and open to the public)

    The 2011 Katie Geneva Cannon Lecturer will be Rev. Dr. Traci C. West, Professor of Ethics and African American Studies at Drew University Theological School, and author of Disruptive Christian Ethics, among other works.

Monday, September 19
9:00 a.m. Worship with Rev. Clemette Haskins, Caldwell Chapel
10:30 a.m. Workshop with Rev. Dr. Traci C. West, Laws Lodge
12:30 p.m. Lunch followed by closing worship in the Women’s Center

More details as well as online registration for Monday’s workshop will be available online in the coming weeks.