Fort Washington Collegiate Church

New York, New York

To emulate Jesus’ love and concern by renewing worship in light of the gifts, needs and justice concerns of the transgender community and queer communities of color.

Provide a brief summary of the purpose and goal of your grant.

We sought to implement a programmatic transformation of our worship experience to be more inclusive
of and attentive to the needs, identities, and justice concerns of the queer community in the context of the
COVID-19 pandemic. Because we are a justice-oriented church following the example of Jesus, who taught us
concern for the most marginalized, our project's focus is specifically on centering the voices and concerns the
transgender community and queer communities of color.

What questions have you asked about worship in the past year? List at least two questions that have generated theological reflection and have helped shape your project.

What voices are not being centered in worship/what voices and theologies are missing, especially from
marginalized contexts? How does art and performance fit with worship and preaching?

In what ways has your project engaged your congregation so that it impacts the worship life and habits of the congregation?

Our congregation has been most impacted by hearing the voices of the transgender community. This was
most present through preaching and sermon talkbacks. These have been learning opportunities for the
congregation and have challenged the church overall to think about the ways that this community is inclusive
and to address the ways it can do better.

What criteria have you used to evaluate your plan to foster vital worship?

Participation in worship, member/visitor reception and attendance, diversity of voices centered, learning
and spiritual growth of the congregation.

What issues have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

One of the greatest challenges was streamlining our project. Our team decided that we would do many
things with grant funding, but we could have had a plan that was more simple in its approach. Between
bringing in guest speakers, organizing a panel, publishing a zine, and planning trans allyship training, a lot
was accomplished. We aimed high because we want Fort Washington Collegiate Church to become more
inclusive and justice-seeking congregation, particularly as it pertains to the queer and trans community.
However, we may have had more success with a "less is more" approach.

What would you like to share with other Project Directors?

Be open and flexible to your initial plans changing. Work closely as a team.