Swope Lecture: "The Struggle for Rites: Invoking the Sacred through LGBTQ Liberation"

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Pamela Lightsey, Ph.D., has a stellar history as a senior administrator and scholar in higher education. She currently serves as vice president for academic affairs at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Before her appointment at Meadville, she was associate dean at Boston University School of Theology. She is also an ordained elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Lightsey is a womanist theologian using the methodology of constructive theology. She has served as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group. She is currently a member of the Workgroup on Constructive Theology. Lightsey is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army and served as a member of the original executive committee for the Soul Repair Project, which studies the role of moral injury in military veterans.

As an activist, Lightsey has worked within the LGBTQ community to end "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" military policy and to ensure marriage equality, and she continues to critique churches for homophobic polity, liturgy, and homiletics. Lightsey was on the ground protesting against excessive police force during the first 21 days of unrest in Ferguson and was one of several live streamers providing ongoing broadcasts across a one-year period. Lightsey has consistently collaborated with activist-colleagues in the movement for the liberation of Black lives, those addressing violence against Black trans women, and those who address institutional racism on college campuses.

Pamela’s several publications include the full manuscript “Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology” (Wipf and Stock), “He Is Black and We are Queer” in Albert Cleage Jr and the Black Madonna and Child (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), “Reconciliation,” in Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), “If There Should Come a Word” in Black United Methodists Preach! (Abingdon Press) and a work in progress, “Blinking Red: The Escalation of a Militarized Police Force and its Challenges to Black Communities."

Pamela is the mother of two adult children, has one adult goddaughter whom she helped raise, and has two grandsons.

This event is free but requires tickets. Tickets are available online or at the Wheelock Info Center.

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Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values


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