The Festival Center Welcomes New Board Member

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The Festival Center is thrilled to welcome new board member, Sharon Groves.

Dr. Sharon Groves joined the Auburn Seminary staff in August 2015 as Vice-President for Partner Engagement. In this role she regularly engages with hundreds of movement and faith leaders, organizers, policy makers, and philanthropists who work at the intersection of faith and justice. Sharon leads projects at Auburn that address community thriving; national and state level collaborations on inclusive democracy; reproductive health, rights and justice; reparations; and LGBTQ equity. She serves as a key liaison with major policy and movement partners, including the Women’s March, the Center for American Progress, and national faith denominations, as well as regional and local congregations.

Prior to joining Auburn’s staff, Sharon was a Senior Fellow for Auburn Seminary. She is the former Director of the Religion and Faith (RFP) Program at the Human Rights Campaign, where she worked from 2005-2014. Under her leadership, Sharon doubled the RFP staff, built a scholarship and mentorship program for LGBTQ religious scholars, and oversaw statewide faith organizing efforts in Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maine, Maryland, and Washington State. She also supported the creation of multiple theologically grounded resources, including the lectionary-based preaching guide, Out in Scripture, and the Latinx curriculum and film, A La Familia.

Sharon received her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Maryland in 2000 and has furthered her theological education through extensive coursework at Chicago Theological Seminary, Wesley Theological Seminary, and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. She is an active lay member at her local congregation, All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the board for the Beckner Foundation, a city-based foundation that supports justice work in DC in keeping with the values of All Souls church. An active and longtime resident of Washington, DC, Sharon connects and mobilizes with many different organizations, including Standing Up for Racial Justice and Ward 4 Mutual Aid. She lives in DC’s 4th Ward with her spouse Ann and can often be found cooking for friends, gardening in her community lot, jogging in rock creek park, and watching “bad” TV.

Reflecting on why she decided to answer the call to join the Festival Center Board of Directors, Groves writes “The Festival Center offers something so critically needed in this city that I couldn’t say no when asked to join the board.  In a word it is ‘space.’  In an overly priced, gentrified city and neighborhood, we need affordable, mission-driven spaces where faith rooted organizers at the local, regional and national level can engage.  We are a polarized country and the only way to change that is to build warm, welcoming spaces where people can strategize, brainstorm, and recenter our spiritual orientation toward justice.”

Join us in welcoming Sharon to the Festival Center community.

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