The Shower Stoles Project The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

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So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

The Shower of Stoles Project

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The Shower of Stoles is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. These religious leaders have served in thirty-two denominations and faith traditions, in six countries, and on three continents. Each stole contains the story of a GLBT person who is active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator, or active layperson.

This extraordinary collection celebrates the gifts of GLBT persons who serve God in countless ways, while also lifting up those who have been excluded from service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The collection bears witness to the huge loss of leadership that the church has brought upon itself because of its own unjust policies.

The vast majority of the stoles have been sent in by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people themselves. Some have been sent by family or friends to honor a GLBT loved one. About one third of all the stoles are donated anonymously; in fact over three-quarters of the stoles donated specifically by clergy and other full-time church professionals are done so anonymously.

In some cases, a church has sent a stole inscribed only with the church's name, or with the names of both gay and straight members, to honor those in that particular congregation who must remain anonymous. All of the stoles, named or anonymous, contain stories, prayers, or other messages.

With very few exceptions, the Project does not accept individual stoles from straight allies. Instead, straight allies are represented by "signature stoles," which are easily distinguished from the main body of the collection. Signature stoles are covered with the signatures of supportive members of congregations, regional governing bodies, or other organizations. The collection currently contains signature stoles with the signatures of over three thousand straight allies.

Shower of Stoles Project in the News!

The 32 Denominations & Faith Traditions represented in the collection:

  • African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Alliance of Baptists
  • American Baptist Church/USA
  • Assemblies of God
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Church of God
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
  • Church of Religious Science
  • Community of Christ
  • Episcopal Church
  • Evangelical Covenant Church
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Free Will Baptist
  • Independent Baptist Churches
  • Independent Christian Church
  • Messianic Judaism
  • Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
  • Mennonite Church (USA)
  • Non-Denominational Pentecostal
  • Orthodox-Catholic Church of America
  • Presbyterian Church (USA.)
  • Presbyterian Church of Cuba
  • Reform Judaism
  • Reformed Church in America
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • Unitarian Universalist Association
  • United Church of Canada
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Methodist Church
  • Unity Fellowship Church Movement
  • Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
  • …and many ecumenical groups

Upcoming Exhibits

APRIL 2014

  • First United Methodist Church – Appleton, WI
  • First United Methodist Church – Germantown, PA
  • Transcending Boundaries Conference – Hartford, CT
  • Methodist Theological School in Ohio – Delaware, OH

More upcoming exhibits


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Shower of Stoles Project

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Shower of Stoles Project
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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