Just Keep Going

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my latest book.just-keep-going-for-rc-web

Just Keep Going: Advice on Writing and Life
by Jeanette Stokes (RCWMS, 2016)
$20.00 (includes tax & shipping)

“In this book you’ll find a wise guide, a skilled writer and artist who will help you discover your most creative self. As she charts her path toward writing and creativity, Stokes encourages you to envision the outlines of your own path. She offers tips on how to start where you are, take things one step at a time, figure out what works for you, set and keep a writing schedule, confront blocks, let your creativity flow, and relax and enjoy the process. Most of all, she conveys the joy in opening to the raw material of your own truest and deepest inclinations.” —Liz Dowling-Sendor, writer and Episcopal priest

Jeanette Stokes is the founder and Director of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South and the author of five other books.

To order: Send $20.00 by mail to RCWMS, 1202 Watts St., Durham, NC 27701
Or order here: http://bit.ly/rcwmsbooks (for $20.00)
Or visit Amazon.com

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My father was arrest in 1972

NYT reports today: “The Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would effectively ban abortions by subjecting doctors who perform them to felony charges and revoking their medical licenses — the first legislation of its kind.”

This is why the following story about my father ran in the Daddy & Faye arrest last Sunday. He was and ObGyn who was arrested in 1972 for providing safe abortions at a time when they were still illegal in Oklahoma. Here’s the story about my dad: HERE

(Photo credit: Dr. E. Malcolm Stokes is shown with his wife, Faye, in Pawnee, OK, where he was arraigned on March 28, 1972, on abortion charges in connection with operation of an alleged “abortion mill” near Lake Keystone. Stokes was a prominent obstetrician in Tulsa. The photo is taken from microfilm. tulsa World archives)

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Following a Female Line

JANE pc FRONT w bleeds LIGHTERFollowing a Female Line by Jeanette Stokes
(Words & Spirit, 2015) Regular price $20.00
ISBN 978-0-9821848-7-5

Jeanette Stokes began to suspect that values she found wedged in her psyche were an unwitting inheritance from the women in her female line. How in the world did her Scots-Irish ancestors manage to leave her with their stubborn faith, their tenacious hold on land, and their deep attachment to family? Join her as she searches through archives, history, and family lore to find out.

Jeanette Stokes is the founder and Director of the Resource Center for Women & Ministry in the South and author of Hurricane Season, 25 Years in the Garden, 35 Years on the Path, and Flying Over Home. She lives in Durham, NC.

Order via PayPal:
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Or send $20.00 by mail to Words & Spirit, 1202 Watts St., Durham, NC 27701
Or order here: http://bit.ly/rcwmsbooks (for $20.00)
Or visit Amazon.com

For more details & help with orders: wordsandspirit@aol.com

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There is such great sadness in the wake of the murder of three beautiful young Muslim adults: Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, an3 shootingd Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19.

I had this thought:
If the gunman in Chapel Hill had had a baseball bat instead of a gun, he might have hurt one of the three young people, but he could not have killed them all. Guns + male violence + prejudice IS deadly. We’ve got lots of work to do, friends. Lots.

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Ferguson & Durham

I wish I could say I was surprised by the miserable decision from the grand jury in the murder of Michael Brown case. But I wasn’t. I read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow this fall, so I guessed what was coming. If you haven’t read her work, put it at the top of your list. She carefully explains how law enforcement, searches, arrest, indictments, and sentencing are tangled in a racist system that was supposed to be a “war on drugs” but functions as a war on black and brown people.

What I didn’t know was that 99.99% of the time federal grand juries offer an indictment. So what happened in the Michael Brown case was very unusual. You can read about it here.

Durham protest for Ferguson

Citizens gathered in downtown Durham for a protest on Tuesday night after the grand jury’s decision was announced on Monday. Here are a couple of  Durham pictures. You can read the N&O article about the local protest, here.

Durham Protest lizzie mcmanus

Folks in Durham have been working to address racist practices in law enforcement. They engaged the help of researchers at UNC who studied more than a decade of data on stops and searches. You guessed it. Black men are stopped and searched in Durham more than anyone else. Read The New York Times story here.

I’m grateful to Ta-Nehisi Coates for getting me started reading about the new Jim Crow. Read Coates’ latest here.  I suggest you check his page weekly.

(Photo credit: upper, J. Stokes; lower, lizzie mcmanus-dail)

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Marriages in Durham

Same-sex marriages became legal in NC on Friday, October 10, 2014. When the Durham County Register of Deeds Office opened on Monday morning, couples began getting marriage licenses. I went to the courthouse on Monday afternoon and had the privilege of marrying a few couples, including these friends, Cathy and Nancy.

Photos by Jenny Warburg.Marriages Durham courthouse1

Marriages Durham courthouse2

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Are LGBTQ students welcome at Duke Div.?

Some background and links.photo-13 photo-12 photo-14

Duke Divinity School orientation this month included a panel on Friday, Aug. 22, focused on diversity and inclusion. During Q&A, a student stood to ask a question something like, “What resources at the Divinity School are available to LGBTQ students and our allies? And what do you do as professors to combat heteronormativity in your classrooms?” Two professors answered the question well and then the dean, who was not on the panel, stood up, took a microphone, and said something like, “As a United Methodist minister and the dean of this divinity school he felt the need to say that the United Methodist Book of Discipline says (304.3) ‘The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.’”

Students organized a “show for support” for the LGBTQ community before convocation on Tuesday morning, Aug. 26. Over 70 people showed up, wore rainbow ribbons and stoles, stood in a big circle, and prayed together. They then went into convocation along with hundreds of others. (Pictures from event are posted on this page.)

Herald Sun coverage of “show of support:” http://www.heraldsun.com/news/localnews/x1145201763/LGBTQ-allies-gather-at-Duke-Divinity-Convocation

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite wrote a letter in response to reports:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/237964837/Brooks-Letter

The dean issued a letter on Tuesday, Aug. 26, saying he was misinterpreted, that Duke Div. really is welcoming. You can see it: https://divinity.duke.edu/sites/divinity.duke.edu/files/documents/news/DiversityDivinitySchool82614.pdf

Meghan Florian wrote a fabulous blog about the Dean’s letter, “When an Apology is Not an Apology,” here: http://www.femmonite.com/2014/08/when-apology-is-not-apology.html

Duke Chronicle article, Thursday, Aug. 28: http://www.dukechronicle.com/articles/2014/08/28/divinity-deans-remarks-contested-following-demonstration

Duke UNIVERSITY has a non-discrimination policy (emphasis added ): http://law.duke.edu/admis/nondiscrimination/

Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment. The university prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, genetic information, or age in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, employment, or any other university program or activity. The university also makes good faith efforts to recruit, employ and promote qualified minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. It admits qualified students to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students.

The university also does not tolerate harassment of any kind. Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are forms of sex discrimination and prohibited by the university. Duke University has designated Dr. Benjamin D. Reese, Vice-President of the Office for Institutional Equity, as the individual responsible for the coordination and administration of its nondiscrimination and harassment policies. The Office for Institutional Equity is located in Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Bay 8, Durham, North Carolina 27708. Dr. Reese’s office telephone number is (919) 684-8222 and his email address is ben.reese@duke.edu.

Finally, I wrote an email to the Provost: sally.kornbluth@duke.edu

Aug. 27, 2014
Subject: Treatment of LGBTQ students at Duke Divinity School
Dr. Sally Kornbluth, Provost, Duke University

Dear Dr. Kornbluth,

I’m writing to express my concern over reports coming out about Divinity School and about whether LGBTQ students are welcome there.

I am a Presbyterian minister, the Executive Director of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, and a 1977 graduate of Duke Divinity School. I was a member of one of the first Duke Div. classes with a large number of women (about 35 women in a class of about 125), and served as the second coordinator of the Duke Divinity School Women’s Center (which was opened Fall 1974). I remember what it was like to be a female student at Duke Divinity School and to have to wonder whether I was entirely welcome.

I am concerned about the mixed messages coming from Duke Divinity School at present. The dean, a respected New Testament scholar, has widely published his opinion that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. That alone might caution LGBTQ students and their allies from applying to Duke Divinity School, but the school also has a fine Gender, Theology, and Ministry Certificate Program and any number of welcoming and supportive faculty members. So the institutional message is confusing.

I am disturbed that the Duke Divinity dean, the chief administrative officer of a school within Duke University, would remind incoming divinity students that the United Methodist Book of Disciple says that “homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with Christian teaching.” His audience of incoming divinity students included LGBTQ students and students who are not United Methodist and therefore not bound by the UMC Book of Discipline.

His clear statement of his position creates a hostile environment for LGBTQ students. His statement fosters contempt for LGBTQ people and encourages others to think of them as less valuable than straight people. His statement opens the door for others to discount or disrespect LGBTQ students. When the leader says that the very lives of LGBTQ people are incompatible with Christian teaching, how can those students feel anything but demeaned?

The dean’s subsequent written statements that the divinity school really does welcome all students are not convincing.

I trust that Duke University is serious about its commitment to prohibit “discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, genetic information, or age in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, employment, or any other university program or activity.”

I cannot currently trust that LGBTQ students are safe and will be treated with all due respect at Duke Divinity School.

In the wake of the dean’s statements during orientation, steps need ensure that Duke Divinity School is a learning and working community that is free from discrimination and harassment. I understand that there is a conflict between the official position of the United Methodist Church about LGBTQ people and the official position of Duke University about LGBTQ students and employees. I hope that the university can make it clear that it will protect the dignity LGBTQ students even if the United Methodist Church and the dean of the divinity school question their very lives.


The Rev. Jeanette Stokes, Duke Div.’77



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