History and Mission
Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, Pacific School of Religion (PSR) has supported gay and lesbian seminarians in many ways, not the least by opening its married student housing to gay couples. The school currently numbers many gay men and lesbians among its student body, faculty, and Board of Trustees, as well as a growing number of transgender students.
The establishment of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) marks another, very significant step in PSR's commitment to justice for all of God's children, straight, gay, bi, or transgendered alike. This commitment is stated in CLGS's mission statement:
To advance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community building and advocacy.
Discussions about the establishment of the Center began in 1996 and included the insights and assistance of many people at PSR, the Graduate Theological Union, and the broader religious community. The idea for the Center became a reality in part through the wonderful support of the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, which provided the Center a five-year start-up grant to cover basic operating expenses.
The Center is dedicated to the encouragement of new, creative scholarship on the interrelations of religion and sexuality / sexual orientation; to the production and dissemination of innovative resources for the academy, faith communities, activists, and the general public; to the development of enlightened leadership around issues of religion and sexuality through education; and to presenting a new public voice in the debate over sexual identity through media outreach and coalition building.