Sunday, June 9:
God and Gender Identity

Sunday, April 7
“Gender, God and Resistance” with Jenny Boylan

Sunday, May 5
“Transgender & Families” with Joan Rater
“On Faith & the Criminalization of the Black Trans Body” with J Mase III

Sunday, June 9
“The Bible and the Life of Transgender Christians” with Austen Hartke

Join us on Sunday April 7, May 5, and June 9 at 12:30 pm in Assembly Hall a conversation series about God and gender identity featuring Jenny Boylan, Joan Rater, J Mase III, and Austen Hartke. Each conversation includes an interactive discussion with the presenters, suggested resources for further study, and free lunch. Childcare will available for students in grades K-6. Students in grades 7 and up are encouraged to attend with their families. Contact Rev. Bruce Lamb at for more information.

Professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of fifteen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her column “Men & Women” appears on the op/ed page of the New York Times on alternate Wednesdays.

She serves on the Board of Trustees of PEN America, the nonprofit advocating for authors, readers, and freedom of expression.  From 2011 to 2018 she served on the Board of Directors of GLAAD; she was co-chair of GLAAD’s board of directors from 2013-17.

She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, and also provided counsel for the TV series Transparent and I Am Cait.

Her most recent book is the novel Long Black Veil, published by Penguin Random House in April 2017.  Two other current projects are Falcon Quinn and the Bullies of Greenblud, an anti-bullying YA project; and the anthology of women writing about home, This is the Place.

Her 2003 memoir, She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders(Broadway/Doubleday/Random House) was the first bestselling work by a transgender American. A novelist, memoirist, and short story writer, she is also a nationally known advocate for civil rights. Jenny has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show on four occasions; Live with Larry King twice; the Today Show,the Barbara Walters Special, NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation; she has also been the subject of documentaries on CBS News’ 48 Hours and The History Channel.

She lives in New York City, and in Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie. They have a son, Sean and a daughter, Zai.

After joining “Grey’s Anatomy” as a writing team at the start of season 2, Joan Rater and husband Tony Phelan rose through the ranks and co-ran the show alongside creator Shonda Rhimes for seasons 7 through 10. For their work on “Grey’s Anatomy” they earned a WGA Award for Best New Series in Television in 2005 and were nominated for two Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007, both for “Outstanding Drama Series.”

Other television writing credits include “Law & Order: Trial By Jury,” “Push, Nevada,” “Threat Matrix,” “MDs,” “Haunting Sarah,” “Fling” and “Cover Me.” In 2014, Joan and Tony signed an overall deal with CBS Television Studios and served as consulting producers on “Madam Secretary.” In 2016, they created “Doubt,” which premiered on CBS Wednesday, February 15th. 2017 and ran thirteen episodes.

In 2018, they signed an overall deal with Universal Television Studios and currently are in pre-production on their new picked up pilot, “Council of Dads” for NBC.

The husband and wife team enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run with their stage play GOOD WILL at The Director’s Company in 1998, and The New York Times gave it a rave review, hailing it as “touching and thought-provoking.”

Rater also writes and performs short pieces about being a parent, one of which, The Long Hug, was published in a collection called Afterbirth, Stories You Won’t Read in a Parenting Magazine.

Joan is an alum of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. She lives in Pasadena with Tony, daughter Sally, and their dogs, Reggie and Lola.

J Mase III is a Black/trans/queer poet & educator based in Seattle, by way of Philly. He is the author of “If I Should Die Under the Knife, Tell my Kidney I was the Fiercest Poet Around”, as well as “And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment, and Inappropriate Jokes about Death”.

As an educator, J Mase has worked with thousands of community members in the US, the UK, and Canada on the needs of LGBTQIA youth and adults in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities, and restricted care facilities among others.

He is the founder of awQward, the first ever trans and queer people of color specific talent agency. Currently, he is co-editing The #BlackTransPrayerBook with awQward artist Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi.

As a performer, he has shared stages with world renowned artists like Chuck D and the Indigo Girls. His work and musings have been featured on MSNBC, NBC OUT, Essence Live, Atlanta Black Star, GO Magazine, Believe Out Loud, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, Upworthy, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, the Root, the Huffington Post and more.

Austen Hartke is the author of Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, a new book on theology and personal narratives, published by Westminster John Knox Press in 2018. He is also the creator of the YouTube series Transgender and Christian, which seeks to understand, interpret, and share parts of the Bible that relate to gender identity and the lives of transgender individuals. Austen is a graduate of Luther Seminary’s Master of Arts program in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies, and is the winner of the 2014 John Milton Prize in Old Testament Writing from the same institution. As a transgender person of faith, Austen’s greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-non-conforming people see themselves in scripture.