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Spring 2023 Lecture Series: Helen Barrett Montgomery Lecture - “Queer Intimacies and Art as the Necessary Work of the Soul”
Originally designed as an Institute on Women in Church and Society, the first institute was in November 1995 and brought leaders of national and international renown to lead in a dialogue around the theme "Women Re-imagining a Violent World". Helen Barrett Montgomery who died in 1934, was a prominent Rochesterian, church leader, and tireless worker for the advancement of women in education and society. With Susan B. Anthony and Mary Gannett, she formed the Women's Educational and Industrial Union and was its first president. She chaired the committee to raise funds to force the University of Rochester to accept women as students. She was the first woman to be elected to public office in the community, and as president of Northern Baptist Convention now ABC USA, first woman to head a major Protestant denomination. Her husband was a trustee of CRDS and was a strong supporter of the school.

This years lecture topic:
“Queer Intimacies and Art as the Necessary Work of the Soul”

Katie Cannon famously declared “Do the work your soul must have.” This talk will explore art as the work that our souls must have. Drawing on our shared and singular social locations of interstitial reality (Rita Nakashima Brock) and the practice of cultivating playful vulnerability and queer intimacy through art, this talk identifies the relational, communal, embodied, experiential and dialogical as markers of the artistic process. We will explore the following as feminist praxis: art as pilgrimage, art as relationship, art as communal radical praxis and art as political warfare (Audre Lorde/Sara Ahmed).


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Dr. Su Yon Pak
Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean and Associate Professor of Integrative and Field-Based Education @Union Theological Seminary
Dr. Su Yon Pak is the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at Union Theological Seminary. Prior to her current position, she was the Dean and Associate Professor of Integrative and Field-Based Education and was responsible for the curricular and co-curricular work field education, chaplaincy concentration, clinical pastoral education, life-long learning, ministerial formation, and combined courses inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. She also held the positions of Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and the Associate Dean for Student Life/ Director of Recruitment at Union. She is a spiritual director grounded in contemplative traditions. A native of South Korea, Dr. Pak immigrated to NYC at the age of 10. She has since lived in Scotland where she worked at Shakti Women’s Aid in Edinburgh, a women’s shelter and center for women of color.
Rev. Alicia Forde
International Office Director @Unitarian Universalist Association
The Reverend Alicia Roxanne Forde serves with the Unitarian Universalist Association as the Director of the International Office. She is a graduate of The Iliff School of Theology and currently lives in Longmont, Colorado. Alicia was born and spent her formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. She identifies as an African descent queer, cis-gender female with deep roots in Tobago. She considers herself bi-cultural and is grateful that her formative years enabled her to cultivate a global perspective. Alicia is a certified Spiritual Director and has a strong interest in health and wellness. When she's not hiking, you can find her reading, working-out, or podcast-walking.