The Shower Stoles Project The National LGBTQ Task Force

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So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Shower of Stoles Project

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November 2005

Dear Friends,

For everything there is a season
and a time for every matter under heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I write to you from Minnesota, where the leaves have turned their brilliant colors and let go to become part of the cycle of birth and death and re-birth. For the Shower of Stoles Project, it is also a time of letting go so that the witness might be made new.

For the past decade, I have had the great privilege of holding the sacred in my hands and in my heart - the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith inscribed on the Shower of Stoles collection. From the original eighty stoles that were hung in the church where I lost my ordination ten years ago, the collection has now grown to include about eleven hundred stoles and other treasured items - neckties, foot washing towels, scarves, monk's rope and chain - from LGBT people of faith in twenty-five denominations on three continents. Over the years, I have driven more than a quarter million miles to share these stories at hundreds of churches, colleges, seminaries and denominational gatherings across the United States and Canada.

As many of you know, it has become almost impossible for this tiny non-profit project to run up to two hundred displays each year and keep up th the enormous amount of work that must be done to grow and maintain the stoles collection. This year our board has actively sought ways to collaborate with other groups that might be able to share this work. And late this year I decided it was time to step away from this work and concentrate on something I have wanted to do for ten years: carve out significant nine to capture all these stories I have in my head but have never had the time to write down, and t them together in a way that can be shared universally, I am pleased to tell you that the way has been made clear for all of these things to happen!

Let me share with you three important changes that will happen during the next couple of months:

  • I will be leaving the Shower of Stoles Project, but all of our work will continue
    On Januaiy 31, 2006 I will end my tenure as National Program Director, and will begin working on an exciting new project (described below). In the meantime, our staff and volunteers will continue providing you with displays of the stoles and resources.
  • The Shower of Stoles Project will become a program of the Institute for Welcoming Resources
    The Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR) is a national, ecumenical collaboration of the Welcoming Church Movement. Sponsored by seven denominational welcoming and affirming programs (Presbyterian, United Church of Christ; Disciples of Christ, Baptist, Lutheran, Community of Christ and United Methodist), IWR is deeply committed to the values for which the Shower of Stoles has worked. I am thrilled with this new development? IWR has the resources to help the Shower of Stoles grow in ways that I can hardly begin to imagine? To learn more about IWR, visit their website at
  • The Shower of Stoles Project is undertaking a Documentary Project
    (Here is the good news for all of you who have been encouraging me to write a book!) In collaboration with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Religious Archive NEtwork (LGBTRAN) and IWR, we are embarking on a four month Documentary Project (February-May, 2006) in which I will dictate the stories of everystole in the collection, catalogue the stoles, and create resources including a DVD and book. Ultimately we hope to have all the stoles and stories saved digitally on-line to broaden the reach of the collection itself. For example, a church group with only a small budget could have a display of one or two dozen stoles, and supplement this with a whole series of photos and stories downloaded from a web site. And with this technology, these remarkable stories can be shared with people all over the world!

Please give generously today!  Our witness to the church continues; we already have dozens of displays scheduled for 2006. Along with this work, we must raise an additional $50,000  to make our dream of documenting all the stoles a reality.

I am grateful for your support over the years, my dear friends, and I leave confident that your support for this work will continue. May we rededicate ourselves to work for justice without ceasing, until that day when all of God's people are welcomed, embraced, affirmed and celebrated in our churches!

Peace with justice,

Martha Juillerat
National Program Director

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Shower of Stoles Project
Online Exhibition!

Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Open and Affirming Ministries of the Gay, Lesbian & Affirming Disciples (GLAD) Integrity Reconciling Works
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ