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Perspective Matters: Preparing Leaders for a World on the Move

By | Main News, Migration, President | No Comments

by Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, President

“On January 19, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill. This event sparked the congregation of what the 1878 Historical Atlas of Alameda County described as ‘the most heterogeneous mass of humanity ever assembled since the confusion of tongues.’ From that moment on, nothing would ever be the same on the east shores of the San Francisco Bay.” ­

‑­Historical marker along the Ohlone Greenway, Berkeley, California

Pacific School of Religion was founded in 1866, just over a decade after California became a state. Those early years were shaped by the aftermath of the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad that connected east to west across the United States. Conflict and opportunity—the pull and push of migration—brought people to this region from everywhere in the country and around the globe, gathering this “most heterogeneous mass of humanity ever assembled since the confusion of tongues.” Read More

Multi-Faith Transgender Summit

By | Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Events, Main News | No Comments


The Eighth Annual Multi-Faith Transgender Summit, organized by PSR’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), will bring together religious activists, leaders, students, and practitioners from across a variety of faith traditions to explore intersectionalities of religion and trans* identities. This 3-day event will include workshops, discussion groups, and academic presentations.


Dr. Melissa Wilcox“A Sacred, Powerful Woman Housed in a Man’s Body”: Complexities of Gender and Religion in the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence 

On October 15, join CLGS for the free, public Sixth Annual Georgia Harkness Lecture, delivered by Dr. Melissa M Wilcox. Georgia Harkness (1891-1974) was a pioneering theologian, a leading figure in the ecumenical movement, and the first woman hired to teach theology at a Christian seminary. 

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a non-religious order of self-proclaimed “twenty-first century queer nuns” with active houses on four continents, have been unsettling both religion and gender since their first stroll through the Castro with retired nuns’ habits and a toy machine gun. Opened to women a few years after their 1979 founding, the Sisters have grappled with challenges to the focus and goals of their work from both cisgender women members and transgender members. They have aroused the ire of conservatives, straight and gay, by promoting a sex-positive message for queer communities through the image of the nun, and their explorations into gender and religious imagery reveal important insights about popular perceptions of religion, gender, and embodiment. This lecture will explore some of the ways in which the Sisters trouble religion and gender through their efforts to fulfill their mission of promulgating universal joy and expiating stigmatic guilt.

Melissa M. Wilcox is Associate Professor of Religion and Gender Studies at Whitman College. She has taught in the Gender Studies Program and the Religion Department at Whitman since 2003, and has spent several years as director or chair of each department. Professor Wilcox has spent her career investigating religious and spiritual beliefs, practices, and identities in LGBTQ communities, both in the U.S. and internationally. In addition to publishing numerous articles on gender, sexuality, and religion, she has written or edited several books including Queer Women and Religious Individualism, Sexuality and the World’s Religions and Coming Out in Christianity.

Standing at the Crossroads: Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy Shares His Story and Vision for the Future

By | A World on the Move, Main News, President | No Comments

The community of Pacific School of Religion joyfully welcomed David Vásquez-Levy to campus at the beginning of January to commence his service as President. Following a period of visioning and planning, prayerful discernment, and a comprehensive national search process conducted by a representative task force, Vásquez-Levy’s candidacy emerged as an ideal fit for PSR’s new direction. “PSR has adopted a bold new vision to prepare spiritually rooted and theologically formed leaders for social transformation,” said Julien Phillips, PSR Board Chair and co-founder of the non-profit education organization Partners in School Innovation. “David’s experience at the intersections of the church, the academy, and the broader world of social changemaking equips him uniquely well to lead PSR.”  Read More