Visionary Local Lesbian Leaders Celebrated

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Two local, forward thinking, lesbian, religious leaders will be honored by The Shalom Center at The Third Annual Prophetic Voices Celebration Sunday, April 6, 2008.

Rabbi Rebecca Alpert and Beth Stroud were chosen by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center Founder and Executive Director along with the Center’s board of Directors.

Respected for their progressive contributions in religious genres both have aided to society in their own way.

Alpert was involved with the center when it started and was delighted to have been chosen for the Prophetic Voices Celebration, “It’s an important organization and Arthur does amazing work in the world, I’m thrilled to be honored.”

Alpert is an Associate Professor in the Religion and Women Studies Departments and chairs the Department of Religion at Temple University. She has a book due out in June 2008 published by the New Press, “Whose Torah?: A Concise Guide to Progressive Judaism.”
In addition Alpert sits on the board of Faith in Public Life which is a group that, “Brings progressive leaders of all major religions together to make it clear that there is such a thing as progressive and religious groups,” Alpert said.

Religion has always enthralled Alpert which is why she majored in it in college with her rabbinical training having been completed at the Reconstructions Rabbinical College in Wyncote. “I was fascinated in studying all religions and felt that I needed a grounding in my own religion. I was really moved by everything I found and studied.”

The Rabbi Alpert will be attending the celebration on Sunday with her partner, her two adult children and her partner’s parents.
Beth Stroud is a Christian lesbian, preacher/speaker and religious educator. She currently has a case against the United Methodist Church of Germantown for being defrocked on the grounds of acknowledging a committed relationship with another woman.

In a recent sermon in January at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, Stroud could be heard saying, “It’s possible to hear the same message in two different contexts and miss the fact that the context makes all the difference. We’ve probably all been in churches where every word that was said or sung was hopeful, positive, and simple. I guarantee you that in some of those church those simple words were shallow, and in others the same words were very, very powerful, and it all depends on the context.”

Stroud and Alpert are being recognized with six others chosen for The Prophetic Voices Celebration. The privilege of this acknowledgement has everything to do with each individual’s ability to demonstrate tolerance and equality. Rabbi Waskow put it best, “God told Jeremiah to ‘Uproot and tear down, build and play!’ Rebecca and Beth are doing just that with grace and authenticity; challenging destructive religious doctrine, building bridges through leading by example and nurturing acceptance and equality for LGBT people into religious life.”

INFO: Honoring New Prophetic Voices on April 6

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