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The “Showers of Stoles Project” comes to Atlanta

The “Showers of Stoles Project” comes to Atlanta

“The Showers of Stoles Project” is a travelling exhibit which highlights discrimination against LGBTQI+ ministers in Christianity and Judaism. The exhibit features stoles, each with a story attached, hanging in a beautiful array. Each is from a leader who had to find a home in another denomination, or remain in the closet, because of their orientation or gender identity. The exhibit is on display in Atlanta, before it will travel to New York. “The Showers of Stoles” has been going on for twenty years, but Rev. Kim Jackson of All Saints Episcopal Church, who runs the exhibit, is hoping that there will be fewer and fewer stoles to display as understanding spreads and discrimination decreases. “It’s not just a tale of sad stories, but it really is a tale of triumph, resistance and struggle,” she said. Jackson grew up Baptist in South Carolina, and though she loved her congregation there, when she came out, she couldn’t become a minister. She moved to Atlanta for graduate school and eventually found the Episcopal Church. One of the stoles in the exhibit reads, “When I got in touch with my sexual orientation, I was no longer allowed to serve as minister in sharing the gifts and graces with God, which God has given me.” Jackson hopes that denominations will realize the strong leadership they are losing by driving out LGBTQI+ ministers, because, through their unique struggles of coming out, they have a lot to offer congregations. “We are really clear about God loving us because we’ve had to work through, and so we’re able to share that gift in really powerful ways to our entire congregation,” says Jackson.

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Rob Michaels

Nice story about a worthwhile ministry project. Unfortunately, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida is proud to stand on the side of discrimination and exclusion, regarding both its clergy and its lay members.

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