Campus News

Memoirist to speak on gender, sexuality, culture and mission

By Noah Kruis

Throughout my childhood, we were close with a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. There was one mysterious aunt for whom I had a special affinity, but who was enigmatically distanced from the family. I recall our precious time together with great fondness. As the years went along, I learned more of her story, and the fact that this woman whom I loved and who cared so deeply for me was a lesbian complicated my understanding of my church’s teaching about same-gender loving persons.

It wasn’t until the past year when I read her recent memoir, “To Drink from the Silver Cup: From Faith, Through Exile, and Beyond,” that I understood the fuller story.

Anna Redsand grew up as a missionary kid on the Navajo Reservation in the 1950s and 60s. Inspired by her parents’ devotion to bring the gospel to the Navajo people, she too wanted to serve the Lord as a missionary. As a teenager, she recognized that she was doubly disqualified from this vocation. Her tradition maintained a glass ceiling for women in ministry, but perhps more devastatingly, it excluded lesbians from communion with the church. So, she left before she could be excommunicated.

Redsand’s memoir chronicles her exile from the church, rejection by her family, and her decades long search for a way to reconnect with what was most dear to her faith experience: the Bible, hymns, and communion.

I am honored that the McCormick Theological Seminary Student Council, in partnership with the Center for Inclusion, has agreed to host Anna Redsand for a reading, Q&A, and signing of her memoir on Tuesday, April 4th beginning at 4:15pm in the Buchanan Lounge. Refreshments will be served. I hope that you’ll join us, as her story has much to say about the role of the church in embracing the LGBT community.