Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel is our 14th Annual CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecturer!

17 October 2024 4pm (Pacific Time)
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Sacred Reckonings with the Doctrine of Discovery’s Betrayal: What Queerness Teaches Us About Strategies of Resistance, Embodied Joy, and Acts of Reparation

with Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel

The 14th Annual CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture

Tuesday, 17 October 2024 at 4pm (Pacific Time)

This will be an ONLINE Lecture

Join the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) for our 14th annual Georgia Harkness Lecture!

Rev. Dr. Voelkel has spent the last seven years working at the intersection of queer movements and BIPOC-led reparations efforts. In 2022, she interviewed dozens of Indigenous, Black, and White leaders (many of them queer) about their theological and movement-building work around congregationally-based reparations. Using the knowledge she heard and received, she co-authored Sacred Reckonings: White Settler-Colonizer Churches Doing the Work of Reparations (Center for Sustainable Justice: 2023).

In this online lecture, Rev. Dr. Voelkel will reflect on this work, the betrayals wrought by the Doctrine of Discovery and its triplet offspring of White Supremacy, Christian Supremacy, and Extractive Capitalism, and how queerness, particularly queer theology, can be a source of luscious resistance, embodied joy, and palpable acts of reparation.

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel (she/her), an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, is the Pastor for Justice Ministries and Director of the Center for Sustainable Justice at Lyndale UCC, is a theologian, pastor, trainer, and movement-builder who specializes in coalition and collaborative partnerships across movements for justice.

Rev. Dr. Voelkel is the author of Carnal Knowledge of God: Embodied Love and the Movement for Justice (Fortress Press, 2017); To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations; A Time to Build Up: Analysis of the No on Proposition 8 Campaign and Its Implications for Future Pro-LGBTQQIA Religious Organizing; and Preventing Sexual Abuse: A Course of Study for Teenagers (Pilgrim Press: 1996).

She is also the co-editor of The New Queer Desire: An Anthology of Intersectional Writing by LGBTQ+ Faith Leaders (Center for Sustainable Justice: 2022) and has also contributed to several recent books including: Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization (Orbis: 2019); Unlocking Orthodoxies for Inclusive Theologies: Queer Alternatives (Routledge: 2020); and Claiming God: Essays in Honor Marilyn McCord Adams (Pickwick Publications: 2022).

For a free download of Sacred Reckonings: White Settler-Colonizer Churches Doing the Work of Reparations guide, click here!

Check out Rev. Dr. Voelkel’s website at

The CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture

gharknessIn the fall of 2010 CLGS inaugurated The CLGS Georgia Harkness Lecture, the second of the Center’s two named lectures which is presented every October.  (The CLGS John E. Boswell Lecture, offered every April, was launched in 2008.)

Georgia Harkness (1891-1974) was a pioneering theologian in the Methodist tradition, a leading figure in the ecumenical movement, and the first woman hired to teach theology at a Christian seminary. Harkness focused her teaching and writing (more than thirty books and many articles) on the practical application of theology to the pressing social issues of her day, ranging from women’s rights to racism, war and peace, international relations, and, later in her life, full civil rights for gay and lesbian people. Harkness retired from teaching after serving on the faculty at Pacific School of Religion from 1949 to 1960.

The passion Harkness brought to her work of making vital theological connections among wider cultural and political issues, her keen interest in employing poetry and the arts to her theological work, and her firm commitment to civil rights and social justice — all of this contributed to PSR’s “tradition of boldness” — a tradition that shapes the ongoing work of PSR’s Center for LGBTQ & Gender Studies in Religion.