Center for Sexuality, Gender and Religion


Established through a generous contribution from Jeanne Audrey Powers

The importance of issues related to gender and sexuality are underappreciated in institutions devoted to the study of religion and the training of religious leaders.[1] The goal of the Center for Sexuality, Gender and Religion is to foster intellectual inquiry, open dialogue, and informed praxis within religious communities on the complex issues of gender and sexuality. Recognizing and affirming the diversity of Southern California and today’s world, the Center seeks to provide education and encourage communication within and across religious affiliations, ideological bases, and cultural contexts.

The program was established in 1995 as "The Center for Sexuality and Christian Life." In 2011, the name was changed to reflect the broader context in which issues of sexuality and gender are currently explored by scholars affiliated with the Center and with Claremont School of Theology.

Religious Institute Sexually Healthy and Responsible SeminariesClaremont School of Theology was selected in 2012 as one of the twenty most sexually healthy and responsible seminaries by the Religious Institute.


LGBTQIA Resource Guide

This guide was put together by students Alex Stepansky, Sheri Kling, Sally Burton, and Dara Joy Daworowicz for a class project.


Beyond Inclusion: Sexual Diversity & CST


Ongoing and Forthcoming Activities

Recent Activities

2012-2013

  • CSGR announced on May 20 that Dara Jaworowicz, Alejandro Escoto, and Nina Fernando were the inaugural recipients of the Jeanne Audrey Powers Award - an award given to top graduates of Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Lincoln University on the basis of exceptional service to or leadership in the LGBTQIA community.
  • CSGR provided financial assistance to Pomona College Theatre Professor Betty Berhard and Indian actor/playwright/director Ms. Sushama Deshpande to produce a play and DVD about the LGBT community in Pune India.
  • CSGR wrote a letter to the Tet Parade Planning Committee in support of including LGBT groups in the parade. Read the letter. Read also Prof. Duane Bidwell's Op-Ed on the Tet Parade.
  • CSGR co-sponsored, with Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University and the Disciples Seminary Foundation, the 10th annual Pat A. Reif Memorial Lectureship featuring Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock. The lecture, entitled, “Saving Paradise: Moral Conscience, Beauty, and the Glory of Humanity” took place on October 23.
  • CSGR provided major financial support to host two women’s writing retreats in Summer 2012 for all contributors of a co-edited anthology by Rebecca Toddie Peters and Grace Yia-Hei Kao that is tentatively entitled Encountering the Sacred: A Theological Exploration of Women’s Lives.

2011-2012

  • CSGR met 100% of the financial need to allow five students and one faculty member to attend the 2012 annual meeting of the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM) conference in San Francisco, California (March 15-17).
  • CSGR provided financial assistance to student Thea L. Mateu (MDiv ‘14) to present her paper, “Hacia el Dios Queer: Una propuesta de liberación, celebración y sanación" (Toward the Queer God: A Proposal for Liberation, Celebration, and Healing) at the Fourth Coloquio del otro la'o: perspectivas sobre sexualidades queer in Puerto Rico (Feb 28-Mar 1). Thea also gave a version of this paper to the CST/CLU campus community on March 22.
  • CSGR co-sponsored a panel discussion on "Feminist Theologies: Past, Present, and Future" on February 7. The panel featured Karen Jo Torjesen, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Gina Messina-Dysert, Sheila Briggs, and Zayn Kassam and was moderated by Grace Yia-Hei Kao.
  • Women and Violence in Africa, the Plight of Widows and the Churches' ResponseCSGR co-sponsored, with the Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University, the 2011 Pat A. Reif Memorial Lecture featuring Mercy Amba Oduyoye. The lecture, entitled "Women and Violence in Africa, the Plight of Widows and the Churches' Response" was held on November 14.
  • CSGR's film, "Beyond Inclusion: Sexual Diversity and Claremont School of Theology" was featured in The Advocate on October 21. Read the story here.
  • Student and alumnus speak on 'Queering the Bible'CSGR sent CST seminarian Ruth Marston and CST alumnus Amanda Pumphrey to speak at San Gabriel Valley Pride's LGBT Community Unity Day on October 8. They delivered a well-received presentation on "Queering the Bible."

2010-2011

  • CSGR hired television producer and CST alumnus Brenda Bos to produce a film highlighting CST's inclusion policy and campus climate for LGBTQIA students, staff, and faculty.
  • CSGR sponsored The Vagina Monologues (February 10-12) to benefit the Faith Trust Institute and House of Ruth.
  • CSGR contributed around $2,000 to build CST's holdings in LGBTQI ministry, sexuality and theology/spirituality, queer theology, queer theory, and queer studies
  • CST Students with Jeanne Audrey Powers

    Photo: Nora Jacob, Jeanne Audrey Powers (Founding Donor), and Ruth Marston.

    CSGR financed two students (Nora Jacob and Ruth Marston) to represent CST at the August 25-28 Sing a New Song conference that was jointly sponsored by the Reconciling Ministries Network and Methodist Federation for Social Action.

Co-directors

Carleen Mandolfo

cmandolfo@cst.edu | (909) 447-2544

Grace Yia-Hei Kao

gkao@cst.edu | (909) 447-2530

Duane Bidwell

dbidwell@cst.edu | (909) 447-2528


[1] A 2009 study by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality found an “overwhelming need” for better education and preparation of religious leaders in the area of human sexuality, citing a lack of appropriate education, self-reflection, formation, and skills development to engage these issues effectively after graduation.