The Shower of Stoles Project, an extraordinary collection of liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of faith will be on display at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Troy on May 19 and June 2 from 1 to 4 PM.
The Shower of Stoles Project originated in 1996 when founder Martha Juillerat, who had worked for years as a closeted Presbyterian minister in Missouri, chose to set aside her ordination when faced with the threat of being defrocked by the church in 1995. She had asked her LGBT friends and colleagues to send a stole to hang at the presbytery meeting on the days she set aside her ordination.
The Shower of Stoles was first displayed in full at the 1996 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since that time, over 1,000 stoles and other sacred items have been collected from numerous denominations from around the world. The collection tours constantly around the country and is exhibited in local congregations, universities and denominational gatherings.
Northminster Presbyterian Church will display a selection of 50 of those stoles and other sacred items. A short video, “So Great a Cloud of Witnesses: The Story of the Shower of Stoles” will be shown at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 on May 19th and June 2. Refreshments will also be served.
“We are honored that our church can host the Shower of Stoles Project because it enables the greater community to contemplate the unfortunate loss of leadership that faith communities have brought upon themselves because of unjust policies,” said Charlotte Sommers, the pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church. “Attached to each stole is a story about a closeted desire to serve, the loss of ordination, or the honoring of someone serving but not openly,” said Sommers.