Kathryn Linn Zeh ’08 M.Div.
B.A. Davidson College 2005
This summer I will begin serving as the Scholar in Residence at the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing in Westport, CT. Since Westport is only a short train ride from New Haven, I had the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with this organization during my time at YDS. Last summer I served as an intern there, working mainly on issues related to the intersections of economic and sexual justice. This winter I was invited back to work part-time during the spring semester, focusing on sexuality education in faith communities. One of the highlights from this spring was my participation with the Religious Institute in a groundbreaking event on Capitol Hill as clergy and other religious leaders joined for a congressional briefing on religious support for comprehensive sexuality education. As many of my friends and colleagues have commented, I could not have found a more fitting place to work!
Some of the most profound educational experiences I had while at YDS occurred outside the classroom, mainly in the course of my involvement with organizations devoted to promoting sexual and reproductive health. I was fortunate to spend several months volunteering in the local Planned Parenthood clinic, and throughout the school year I worked with several other YDS students to provide a pastoral counseling service for Planned Parenthood patients from around the state. My experience there led me to join efforts with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice of Connecticut, where I have been invited to serve on the board. I am encouraged by the number of activists who are people of faith and also stand in support of sexual and reproductive justice.
My time at YDS gave me the opportunity to explore and cultivate my passion for women’s concerns, reproductive rights, and sexual justice. As coordinator for the Women’s Center, I organized two productions of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues on campus to raise awareness about sexual violence. I also helped organize pastoral counseling training for students on how, as religious professionals, we can speak to women and men who are suffering from various forms of reproductive loss. In every effort, I was amazed by the community’s response, particularly the commitment of my fellow students to discussing these important topics and their recognition that these are, in fact, issues of faith.