The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.
When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. 

His book is Boy Erased: A Memoir.

  After a series of childhood misfortunes her father’s death, her mother’s ill-advised love affair, her disabled sister wrecking the family GTO, self-avowed church-geek Jo Page decided it was her job to figure out how to stay on God’s good side and maybe spare the family any more tragedy.

But she was a girl. And a Lutheran. Though women were ordained in the larger branch of the Lutheran church, when Page’s own pastor handed her a brochure enumerating all the ways in which she, as a female, was to be silent and submissive, she gave up on the church and went off in search of sex and drugs and rock-and-roll like any rejected adolescent Lutheran girl would.

Eventually Page found her way back into the church and ultimately into ordained ministry, spending twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches, presiding over life’s rituals and preaching compulsory weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.

Her new book is Preaching in My Yes Dress.

The new play Holy Laughter follows an Episcopal priest who finds that the reality of leading a church is radically and hilariously different than what she learned in seminary. As she wrestles with church finances, eccentric parishioners, changing sexual mores and her own doubting human heart, Abigail struggles to make peace with the realities of contemporary church life.

WAM did a reading of Catherine Trieschmann’s play How the World Began as part of the inaugural 2014 Fresh Takes series, and it was very well received. Earlier this year, WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven saw the first staged reading of her new play Holy Laughter at the Denver Center New Play Summit, where it had been commissioned.

Catherine Trieschmann’s plays include The Bridegroom of Blowing Rock, Crooked, How the World Began, Hot Georgia Sunday, and The Most Deserving. We welcome her to The Roundtable this morning along with Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre.

10/14/14 Panel

Oct 14, 2014


  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain & Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Ebola Review
Global Warming Security
Deadly Guardrails
Church on Marriage
Ferguson Arrests

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to create a new state Office of Faith-Based Community Services.  Cuomo announced his plan Thursday night in Harlem during remarks to a convention of the United Missionary Baptist Association.

The agency would help religious organizations and houses of worship find grant funding. It would also help religious groups work with government agencies to coordinate social services, and work with state economic development officials to "encourage the development of faith-based businesses."

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Some 400 teens and young adults are in Albany this week, attending a work camp that has taken on repair and painting projects throughout the city.   First Presbyterian Church is sponsoring a work camp in Albany through July 5th to provide small repairs and painting at 70 sites in the South End. 

2/20/14 Panel

Feb 20, 2014


  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Executive Editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal, Stu Shinske and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Ukraine Update
Drone report
NYS Solitary
Ex-Guard to Prison
Poor Church

    In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors.

According to cherished church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction.

Clearstory Collective

        The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts recently launched a new initiative to reach out to people of faith who have become disaffected by the institutional church. It’s called  Clearstory Collective and it promotes opportunities for people seeking faith based communities and  alternative worship.  It is the brainchild of Rev. Christopher Carlisle, the diocesan missioner to higher education.  He spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.