Shower of Stoles Project celebrates LGBT inclusion in religious life

‘Berg partners with Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center for exhibit and community event

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:34:00 EDT

Muhlenberg College’s Office of the Chaplain, Hillel, Students for Queer Advocacy and Muhlenberg Trans* Advocacy Coalition are partnering with Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center to exhibit the Shower of Stoles Project, a collection of  liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith.  The exhibit opens October 27, 2014 and will be on display in Egner Memorial Chapel through October 31. 

A community celebration will be held on October 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Egner Memorial Chapel. Speakers will include: Rev. Callista Isabelle, Muhlenberg College Chaplain; Rabbi Melissa Simon, Muhlenberg College Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director; Adrian Shanker, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center; Rev. Joy Wyler, Unity of the Lehigh Valley; and Bishop Sam Zeiser, ELCA NEPA synod.

Both the exhibit and the community event are free and open to the public.

“Each stole on display in this exhibit has a powerful story connected to it,” said Isabelle. “For example, we are honored to display the stole of Frank Schaefer as part of this exhibit. Rev. Schaefer, from Eastern Pennsylvania, who was defrocked by the United Methodist church for officiating his son’s same-sex marriage, was later reinstated, but is now on trial again. This exhibit celebrates the long strides that religious communities have made in welcoming LGBT individuals and allies into leadership, and we recognize that there is still work to be done.”

The Shower of Stoles Project, on loan from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith. These religious leaders have served in 32 denominations and faith traditions, in six countries and on three continents. Each stole contains the story of a LGBT person who is active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator or active layperson.

"This exhibit presents an exciting opportunity for people of faith in the Lehigh Valley to reflect on LGBT inclusion within their congregations,” said Shanker.  “I hope many clergy and lay leaders from the region attend this event."

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, planned for downtown Allentown, will be the Lehigh Valley's only LGBT community center and will provide direct services and cultural programming for the Lehigh Valley's LGBT community. Learn more at