LGBT Religious Archives Network News

Newsletter #57: December 20, 2008

This month's news:

  1. Accomplishments in 2007
  2. Looking Ahead to 2008

1.  Accomplishments in 2007

The LGBT Religious Archives Network (LGBT-RAN) made great strides in its work to preserve LGBT religious history over the past year.  Here are highlights of what we accomplished.

Adding Profiles to Gallery
Biographical profiles of 24 more leaders of LGBT religious movements were added to the Profiles Gallery.  There are now 194 profiles in the Gallery, making it the largest collection of biographical information on leaders of LGBT religious movements.

Innovating Online Exhibitions
LGBT-RAN built upon its ground-breaking work in designing and developing online exhibitions by continuing work on the Shower of Stoles Project exhibition.  LGBT-RAN also collaborated with the Congregation Beth Simchat Torah to launch an online exhibition on its early history as the world's largest LGBT synagoguge.  A major behind-the-scenes accomplishment was the completion of a database program that allows persons or groups to post artifacts and narratives to an online exhibition, thereby greatly reducing the cost. 

Collecting Oral Histories
An oral history interview with pioneering MCC leader Freda Smith was posted on the web site. An interview with The Rev. Robert Mary Clement, gay bishop in independent Catholic tradition, was completed and will be posted soon.  This Oral History Project is the only place where interviews with significant leaders of LGBT religious movements are easily accessile in digital format.

Strengthening Religious History Award
LGBT-RAN continues to be the sole source of formal recognition for outstanding academic scholarship in LGBT religious history. Its second annual LGBT Religious History Award was presented to Dr. Kathryn Lofton.  Eight papers were submitted for the 2007-08 award and are currently being reviewed by the jury.  The honoree will be announced early in 2008.

Recognizing Dissertations in LGBT Religious History
While not an accomplishment of LGBT-RAN, but linked through supporting relationships, three scholars completed Ph.D. dissertation research in LGBT religious history this past year: Dr. Julia Sheetz-Willard (Temple), Dr. Heather Rachelle White (Princeton), and Dr. Howell Williams (Florida State).  These dissertations mark a new level of academic recognition for research into LGBT religious history.

2.  Looking Ahead to 2008

Here are some priorities for LGBT-RAN's work in the coming year.

Expanding Oral History Project
LGBT-RAN is working to secure additional funding for collecting and posting additional oral history interviews--particularly with persons of color and other individuals or groups whose voices are more likely to be lost to the historical record.

Initiating Collaborations for Online Exhibitions
With the completion of software that allows groups to do most of the work in creating their own online exhibitions (see above), LGBT-RAN is in conversation with a number of groups about collaborating on online exhibitions about their histories.

Solidifying Administraton & Financial Stability
Cognizant of LGBT-RAN's invaluable role in the study of LGBT religious history the Advisory Committee and staff are studying ways to enhance administrative and fiscal support to ensure LGBT-RAN's long-term viability. 

Together with you and countless others who are committed to preserving LGBT religious history we can ensure that our voices and stories are preserved for future generations.

Mark Bowman, coordinator

P.S. Your generous gift will enable LGBT-RAN to continue its invaluable work.

The LGBT Religious Archives Network News is an occasional email newsletter for persons interested in supporting the preservation of the history of LGBT religious movements. Subscribe now.