Bringing to light the journeys of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals within faith traditions, The Shower of Stoles exhibition opening today at Iliff School of Theology lets sacred pieces illuminate the story.
"Some of the stoles tell a story of pain -- they may have been donated by a family member or friend or a prayer group. But they are also a symbol of support," says M. Celeste Jackson, associate director of Diversities and Community Relations at the school. "The stoles are beautiful and tell a great story -- of LGBTQ, color and culture. We are bringing them to Iliff as part of our commitment to celebrating diversity."
Brought to the school through the work of the FLAME student alliance, a GLBTQ-supportive group, the sacred works -- fifty stoles representing 32 denominations -- are making a second stop in a decade at Iliff. Sourced from the Religious Archives Network, the stoles on display are just a fraction of the organization's collective body of work that came into being more than fifteen years ago, and today includes thousands of pieces.
The Shower of Stoles exhibition invites all people of all faiths to explore the stories told through both the physical artistic works and the anecdotal information posted alongside -- stories of coming out, parent and child relationships, and the hardships of exclusion are just some of the many personal tales. The mission of both the traveling show and the massive, ongoing collection is to share these struggles and aid in ending discrimination, by giving a visual voice to the GLBTQ community within the realm of faith.
The collection will be on display through Friday, April 27, in the lobby of the Iliff School of Theology, 2201 South University Boulevard, during its normal office hours: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information on the location, visit the school's website. For more on the stoles themselves and a complete list of the faiths represented, go to the exhibition's website.
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