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Courageous Conversations: Spiritual Violence

Live Broadcast: September 23 & 30 6pm ET / 3pm PT

Spiritual violence against queer people is so pervasive it is almost hard to see. These sessions will explore:

What is Spiritual Violence?
Why does it hit queer souls so hard?
What can faith communities do about it?

As part of AVP’s 40th anniversary Courageous Conversations series, this will be a two-part live broadcast addressing spiritual violence. Community experts from AVP, Trinity Church Wall Street, and our partners, will discuss spiritual violence against LGBTQ people, what can be done to address these wounds, and how faith communities and anti-violence organizations can work together to stem this damaging rhetoric.

Register for Courageous Conversations: Spiritual Violence

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September 23 : Naming Spiritual Violence and its Impact
Panel Conversation with Rev. Liz Edman, J. Mase III, Lisa Stuart, and Darlene Torres
Q & A

September 30: Stopping the Violence, Healing the Wounds
Panel Conversation with Rev. Liz Edman, Rev. Kyndra Frazier, Rabbi Marisa James, Rev. Clint Schneckloth, and Rev. Matt Welsch
Q & A


Rev. Liz Edmanis an Episcopal priest and political strategist. She is the author of Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity (Beacon Press, 2016). Liz has lived and worked on the front lines of some of the most pressing issues where religion and sexuality meet, serving as an inner-city hospital chaplain to people with HIV/AIDS from 1989 to 1995 and helping craft political and communications strategies for marriage equality efforts. In 2017, she partnered with Parity to create Glitter+Ash Wednesday, a project to increase the visibility of progressive, queer-positive Christians and to explore Christian liturgy through a queer lens.

Rev. Kyndra Frazier is an ordained Baptist clergywoman, licensed clinician, and the Founder and CEO of KYND (Knowing Yourself In Need of Devotion) Consulting, Inc. KYND offers trauma-informed care through a variety of services from clinical therapy for individuals, families, and couples to trauma-informed training for corporate entities and ecclesial communities, and spiritual direction. KYND also offers Executive Listening Sessions and Coaching for organizations. Kyndra was most recently the Founding Executive Director of The HOPE Center, a free mental health facility located in Central Harlem of NYC, and formally served as the Associate Pastor of Congregational Care and Wellness at First Corinthian Baptist Church. Known for her work in removing barriers to mental health access for communities of color. She was recently featured on the 2020 Root 100 list of Most Influential African Americans. She has also been featured in multiple print and digital publications including Vice Magazine, New York Times, and Sojourners Magazine. She holds a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology Emory University, a Master of Social Work from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from North Carolina A&T State University.

Rabbi Marisa Elana James (she/her) is Director of Social Justice Programming at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi James has also been a college English teacher, a competitive ballroom dancer, an insurance broker, a student pilot, a bookstore manager, and a professional Torah reader. As a teenager growing up in Connecticut, she was a co-founder of her high school’s GSA, the second to be founded in the state. While living in Jerusalem for more than five years, Rabbi James worked for Encounter Programs, taught Introduction to Judaism classes in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, studied at a wide variety of schools (including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, secular, and non-Jewish settings), and helped create and lead the rabbinical student program for T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. She has also taught at the University of Connecticut and Rutgers and has served as cantor for communities in Israel and America. Rabbi James and her wife, contrabassoonist and translator Barbara Ann Schmutzler, live in New York City.

J Mase III is a Black/Trans/queer poet & educator based in Seattle by way of Philly. As an educator, Mase has worked with community members in the US, UK, and Canada on the needs of LGBTQIA+ folks and racial justice in spaces such as K-12 schools, universities, faith communities and restricted care facilities. He is founder of awQward, the first trans and queer people of color talent agency. J Mase is author of And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death as well as White Folks Be Trippin’: An Ethnography Through Poetry & Prose.His work has been featured on MSNBC, Essence Live, Everyday Feminism, Black Girl Dangerous, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Blavity, the Root, the Huffington Post, TEDx and more. Currently, he is head writer for the theatrical production Black Bois and is co-editor of the Black Trans Prayer Book.

Rev. Clint Schnekloth is the pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His church recently hosted Queer Camp, featured on NPR, the first of its kind in Arkansas and the south. Clint is the founder and chairman of the board of Canopy NWA, Arkansas’s refugee resettlement center. A regular
contributor to The Christian Century, Clint is the author of Mediating Faith: Faith Formation in a Transmedia Era. He blogs at Patheos, and when not causing good trouble in NWA, can be found running the trails or DMing sessions of Dungeons and Dragons with the kids.

Lisa Stuart is a 38 year old Christian trans woman who came to northwest Arkansas from south Mississippi ten years ago seeking a safe place to begin her transition. Here, she has found a home and a community. Lisa currently works as a Sous Chef for River Grille Steakhouse in Bentonville. Outside of the kitchen, she has been very involved in advocacy and education for the transgender community. She has served as a volunteer Facilitator for a transgender support group at NWA Equality, as well as helping to found Transgender Equality Network, the first trans-centric non-profit organization in northwest Arkansas. In the past few years, Lisa has occasionally served as a model for Interform Fashion and other local projects. In this, and all things, Lisa hopes to spread a message of love, positivity, and the beauty of being true to oneself.

Darlene S. Torres, (she/her/ella), LMSW, is the Director of Client Services at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. Darlene identifies as a Queer LatinX activist, social worker and educator, with over 20 years in the intersecting fields of anti-violence, economic and disability justice work. Darlene has extensive experience working with survivors of all forms of violence who identify as queer, trans, non-binary, and HIV affected, providing trauma-informed, survivor-centered services that address and challenge intersecting issues of power, privilege, and oppression, and promote social justice and equity.

Rev. Matt Welsch serves as Priest for Youth & Family at Trinity Church Wall Street, where he uplifts the voices of congregational youth and walks with them in their journey of faith. His ministry is rooted in Jesus’s call to “make disciples,” specializing in the intersection of LGBTQ+ identity, youth development, and pop culture with the Gospel. With a decade of experience in community engagement and advancing social justice, he seeks to support the next generation in changemaking for good. Pronouns: he/him/his.