The LGBT Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark

Scholarship & Grant Programs

THE LOUIE CREW CLAY SCHOLARSHIP

In recognition of Dr. Louie Crew Clay’s many years of prophetic witness in and beyond the Diocese, The OASIS – a justice ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark – is pleased to announce a fund to support scholarly work that shares our mission “to make the church safe for ALL people, and to challenge the church when its interest is self-preservation and not prophetic witness.”

The OASIS will award up to two annual scholarships. Scholarship applications will be vetted by a special Scholarship Committee which will include Dr. Louie Crew Clay and winners will be announced at our anniversary in June.

We welcome applications from writers, students, and researchers. To apply:

Describe specifically in no more than 500 words how you will use the money to support ongoing scholarly work which shares the Oasis’ mission “to make the church safe for ALL people, and to challenge the church when its interest is self-preservation and not prophetic witness.”

At the top of the sheet include your name and contact information. Attach a résumé no longer than one sheet. On a third sheet, provide a name, postal address, phone number and any electronic address for two references who know you and your scholarship. Please note that if a scholarship is awarded a full accounting of the expenditure will be required.

THE OASIS GRANT

We will also entertain applications for grants for specific projects within a congregation or ministry which are in keeping with our mission and goals.

To be considered please supply the following information.

  • What is the purpose of the grant?
  • How will the grant be used that’s aligned with The Oasis’ mission?
  • What’s the expected outcome as a result of the grant?

Please answer in as much detail as necessary and send your application to us at the contact below. Please note that if a grant is awarded a full accounting of the expenditure will be required.

HOW TO APPLY

If you would like to be considered for this year’s scholarship or grant awards, please submit your application by April 1, 2016 to:

The Oasis

Attention: John Simonelli, Chair

Address: 451 East 39th Street, Paterson, NJ 07504

Email: chair@oasisnewark.org

Report on The Oasis Louie (Crew) Clay Grant & Scholarship Program

Working with the Engaging the World Action Team and as part of its strategic plan – and with the strong encouragement of Bishop Beckwith – The Oasis created the annual Louie Crew (Clay) Grant and Scholarship program in 2011, which is funded with proceeds from its investments, which include its endowment fund and contributions from sponsoring congregations. This program honors Dr. (Crew) Clay, the founder in 1974 of Integity, the national organization for LGBT Episcopalians.

The types of grants and scholarships include: congregational grants given to congregations for such purposes as starting a LGBTQ youth program or designing a more inclusive website; educational grants given to college chaplains to combat homophobia on compuses; to promising ‘at risk’ LGBT students who have been abandoned or abused by their families; to writers or journalists researching LGBT issues; or to ongoing scholarly work which shares The Oasis’ mission to make the world safe for ALL people, and to challenge the church when its interest is self-preservation and not prophetic witness. Awarded

In 2012

The first Louie (Crew) Clay Grant of $5,000 was awarded to the Montclair Protestant Foundation that served the spiritual needs of students, faculty and staff at Montclair State University.  It was used to fund the chaplaincy program, which includes the salary and expenses of the chaplain and program materials for education, mission and worship.  This enabled the ministry to continue reaching students and enabling them to claim their own identity as beloved children of God.

The first Louie (Crew) Clay Scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Darnell L. Moore, writer, activist and Christian, who attended the Harvard Divinity School’s Seminars on Debates on Religion and Sexuality in June, 2012.  The award permitted Mr. Moore to continue writing over the duration of two independent writing retreats and to complete his first book, To Be Black, Queer, and Christian: Essays on the Black Church and Sexuality.

In 2013

A $2,500 scholarship was awarded to Mary O’Shan Overton, MDiv, MA, who used the funds to continue to learn about the needs and dreams of the women of east Africa on a mission trip to Uganda and Rwanda. Her key interest was to hear the voices of rural East African women who live in societies that have been torn by war and genocide, political corruption, patriarchy and sexism, homophobia, and preventable disease.

A $2,500 grant was awarded to Ada Calhoun to fund research for a book (published in 2015) how liberation theology was implemented in the 60s and 70s at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, and how it affected the gay rights movement that eventually flourished in the neighborhood.

A 2,500 grant was awarded to Eric Thomas to design and execute WOHSOEVER Workshops in partnership with NJ-based LGBT organizations to promote dialogue, to listen to the stories of participants about their experiences of welcome and/or rejection from the church, and to collect dated on how they selected biblical texts, including John 3:16, Psalm 119:71, 1 Corinthians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 4: 7-14 and Revelation 21: 3-4.

A $2,500 grant was awarded to the Montclair Protestant Foundation to continue the much-needed work on the Montclair State University Campus

In 2014

A $2,500 grant was awarded to the Montclair Protestant Foundation to continue the much-needed work on the Montclair State University Campus

A $2,500 grant was awarded to The Rev. Elizabeth Edman to support work on her book “Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and Why Christians Should Care”- the first book which argues that the facts of queer life demand a lived response of high moral caliber, one that is deeply resonant with core tenants of the Christian Faith, and the first book to treat queer perspectives as authoritative on matters of faith that affect all believers.

In 2015

Three (3) $1,000 grants were awarded to Chris Harding of All Saints, Glen Rock, Meghan Johnson of St. Mary’s, St Paul, MN, and Kacei Conyers, a postulant in the Diocese of Northern California.  These grants funded Oasis/Integrity legislative aides at General Convention, and were used to cover the cost of airfare, hotel room, meals and other expenses associated with attending General Convention.

A $5,000 grant was awarded to The Rev. Elizabeth Edman to fund production costs on 5 short films related to her book “Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity.”

A $2,000 grant was awarded to NEWARK ACTS to assist in funding an intern case worker at the HBP RAIN Foundation Shelter in East Orange.

To summarize, in the four years since its inception The Oasis has awarded $5,000  in scholarships and $27,500 in grants, for a total of $32,500 – all within Diocesan Guidelines and the endorsement of the Standing Committee.

The ways in which I have used the scholarship awarded by The Oasis include the following:

  • Going to Uganda to meet with women and their nurses to learn about infant and maternal health care in their rural area.
  • Publishing a piece on the women and children of Uganda for the newsletter of Emmanuel Church in Boston.
  • Teaching an adult Sunday school class on the voices of women and children in Uganda.
  • Developing a presentation that was given at the Conference on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago
  • Preaching on the trip to Uganda and the relationship between Anglicans and the health care system in rural areas
  • Giving a paper at the Association of Practical Theology about women’s voices in Uganda.
  • Teaching in my courses at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry about Anglican theology and practice in the Ugandan context
  • Using the knowledge gained to help shape ideas for a Global Citizenship program at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, a pre-K through 12th grade parish day school in Atlanta

Mary O’Shan Overton, MDiv, MA – 2013 Louie Crew Clay Scholarship Recipient 

QUEER VIRTUE by The Rev. Elizabeth M. Edman

2014 Louie Crew Scholarship Project Report

In 2014, OASIS awarded a Louie Crew Scholarship to fund work on the book Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity.   Queer Virtue argues that the facts of queer experience demand a lived response of high moral caliber, one that is resonant with core Christian virtues.  Drawing on the discipline of queer theory—which ruptures the binary of male and female—the book argues that Christianity fundamentally challenges its adherents to rupture false categories of “us” and “them” that work to pit us against one another.  Thus the resonance between queerness and Christianity is not coincidental.  In fact, authentic Christianity is and must be queer.  The book argues that progressive Christianity has much to gain by paying attention to the queerness inherent in Christian faith and encourages the church to look to the LGBTQ community for models of how to live queer/Christian virtue.

At the time I received the grant, the book was already under contract with Beacon Press.  I had drafted the first four chapters of what I thought would be a five chapter book.  But I had hit a conceptual wall and found myself unable to envision how to bring the book to a close.  I was mentally and physically tired, now grappling with an acute case of writer’s block.

The Scholarship arrived at exactly the moment I needed it.  The funds allowed me to take unpaid leave from my job and go on a self-directed writer’s retreat.  First, I rested for a few days.  Then, I got back to work.  The rest helped re-ignite both my imagination and my sense of purpose.  I returned home having turned a corner.  By the end of that month, I had completed the final chapter.  But there was more:  I also began to see that the theological ideas in those first five chapters had ethical implications both for queer people and for Christians.  Another chapter emerged, exploring these ethical dimensions.  Eventually, that “additional chapter” became what is now Part II to the book: an exhortation and guidebook for how churches might apply the lessons of queer virtue to Christian practice, entitled “A Priestly People.”

The Louie Crew Scholarship played a vital role at a critical moment in this book’s development.  I am immensely grateful to OASIS for your support, encouragement, and tangible assistance in bringing it to completion!  I hope to see you all at the book launch party/event, being held at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division bookstore on May 18, 2016.

QUEER VIRTUE FILM SHORTS

2015 OASIS Grant Project Report

In the spring of 2015, I was completing edits to the book Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity.  The book asks people to think in a new way, both about queerness and about Christianity, and I had encountered an interesting phenomenon:  the people who found it easiest to grasp the book’s premise were without exception people who had heard me preach.  It became clear that the book would have a broader reach if more people could hear it “in my voice.”  I also needed to build a public platform, getting the word out about the book in advance of its launch.  To address both of these concerns, I began to conceive a series of very short films presenting the core messages of Queer Virtue.

Markie Hancock, award-winning director of the documentary Queers in the Kingdom, enthusiastically signed on to direct the films.  We scoped out the project: a series of five short films—“micro-sermons”—running approximately 2 minutes in length.   Each of the films would be keyed to one of the primary chapters of the book: Identity, Risk, Touch, Scandal, and Adoption.  Each would use an engaging homiletic format and a documentary-style approach, presenting the queer virtue covered in that chapter and showing how that virtue comes alive in Christian faith. Markie’s involvement ensured that the films would be of professional caliber, but it also meant I needed to raise money to produce them.

OASIS expressed immediate interest in the project, ultimately providing a grant of $5,000 that fully funded our production costs.  The funds covered studio and equipment rental, a cinematographer, a stagehand, editing, music, and audio mixing.

We shot the films in a single day in August 2015 and completed post-production in January 2016.  The films will launch on April 13, 2016.  We will release one per week for five weeks leading up to the book launch on May 18.   The films will be posted on the Queer Virtue website and the OASIS website, and links will be disseminated via various social media.  Each film ends with the website address www.QueerVirtue.com, driving viewers to the Queer Virtue website to sign up for information about the book and other queer/Christian conversations, trajectories, and events.

It is my hope that the films themselves will move the needle on public conversations about faith and sexuality.  And just as importantly, I hope that they will offer balm to queer people who are relentlessly subjected to spiritual violence by the faux-pious.   The films witness to the existence of a robust, theologically-grounded, queer-positive Christianity.   Refuting the notion that Christianity is intrinsically hostile to queer sexuality, these films attempt to provide what queer people and the progressive church badly need: an authentic, scripturally-based Christian perspective that lifts up queer experience as inherently valuable and that invites the church to re-envision how it proclaims the Gospel of Christ.  The films thus advance the mission of OASIS: making the church safe for all people, and challenging the church to set a higher goal for itself than mere self-preservation, and to live instead into a truly prophetic witness.  I am immensely grateful for the partnership with OASIS that brought these films to fruition.

We will celebrate the film launch with a party on April 13 at St. Lydia’s Church, 304 Bond Street, in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn.  All are welcome, and people engaged with Oasis are not just invited but hoped for and expected!  I look forward to celebrating with you all.  Thank you again!

LOOK FOR THE FILMS ON THE OASIS WEBSITE AFTER THE FILM LAUNCH PARTY

The Oasis Commission

The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton
The Rev. Dr. Karen Rezach
Mr. Peter Madison, Esq.
Mr. John Simonelli, Chair