Project:Surviving the Plague
Surviving the Plague looks at trauma, memory and identity formation in an urban church. The Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco (MCCSF) is a self-described queer church located in the heart of the Castro, the city's gay enclave. From the early 1980s through 1995 the church weathered a crisis that took more than 500 of its members and put the church in center of medical, political and theological storms: the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Today, more than 15 years after the development of protease inhibitors, the church still grapples with how to integrate this trauma into the church's history and identity without become overwhelmed by its legacy. The project draws on oral history, archival materials and participant observation to understand how the community makes religious sense of the losses they faced and how trauma impacts the development of congregational life.
Lynne Gerber is an independent scholar of American religious life. Her work focuses on questions of the body, health, and sexuality in contemporary Christianity. She is the author of Seeking the Straight and Narrow: Weight Loss and Sexual Reorientation in Evangelical America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).