Our mission is to advance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and transgender people and to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion, gender identity, and sexuality through education, research, community building, and advocacy.
CLGS was established at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California and opened its doors in the fall of 2000. 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. Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, Pacific School of Religion (PSR) has supported LGBTQ seminarians in many ways. The school currently numbers many LGBTQ-identified people among its student body, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees. The establishment of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) marked another, very significant step in PSR’s commitment to justice for all of God’s children. Pacific School of Religion is a progressive, multidenominational seminary and center for social justice that prepares spiritually-rooted leaders to work for the well-being of all people.
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, gender identity 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, gender identity, and sexuality through education; and to presenting a new public voice in the discourse over sexual and gender identity through media outreach and coalition building.
By Mary Tolbert, PhD
CLGS Emerita Executive Director