Activism through the Slow Arts – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Activism through the Slow Arts

Along with four colleagues, Chaplain Lesley Adams has been awarded a $10,000 cohort group grant from the College of Pastoral Leaders at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

With this grant, Adams and her cohorts, Episcopal priests like Adams, will spend two years “exploring the theme of Sustaining Lives of Activism and Spirituality through the Slow Arts.” 

“Following the idea of the slow food movement, we are looking at not only cooking and eating, but also gardening, canning, knitting and other handwork, writing, meditation, yoga, etc. as ways to live in the present moment, reflect, and create community,” Adams says.  “We are quite excited!”

The group will meet for the first time in early March, in anticipation of their first conference as a group in Austin, Texas, in mid-April, sponsored by the College of Pastoral Leaders.

When submitting the application for the grant, Adams and her colleagues were required, as the College of Pastoral Leaders stipulates, to “define pastoral excellence and describe what they need to hone, inspire, invigorate, and rejuvenate pastoral excellence, as they describe it, in their lives and ministries.”

Through this grant, with this call to “inspire, invigorate, and rejuvenate,” Adams says that she is hoping “to look at ways I might use this exploration to interpret the work I do as Chaplain here, not only ‘in the chapel’ but in our CloseKnit Group, the Sustainable Saturdays project, Pasta Night and other campus activities.”

When the group was first introduced at an Episcopal CREDO Conference in North Carolina last fall, Adams says that “Beth Sherman had the idea of applying for this grant after we realized how much each of us was interested in the links between food, handwork, spirituality and activism.”  

Sherman is the Priest-in-Charge at St. David’s Cranston, R.I. and does Episcopal campus ministry at Brown University.  The other members of the group include Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, rector of Grace Church in Syracuse, Episcopal campus minister at Syracuse University and food blogger; Lise Hildebrandt, 1986 graduate of Yale Divinity School, musician and applied food scientist, who has been doing interim work in the diocese of Massachusetts; Allison Moore, who has a Ph.D. in social ethics from Boston University, is rector of Good Shepherd Church in Fort Lee, N.J., and is the author of “Clergy Moms: A Survival Guide to Balancing Family and Congregation.”

Chaplain Adams was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1988, having earned her B.A. from Smith College, and her M.Div. from Harvard University.  She joined the faculty at Hobart and William Smith in 1995 and serves as Chaplain for the Colleges’ community.  She recently completed her term as Episcopal Province II coordinator for ministry in higher education is currently a member of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of Rochester, and is an affiliate of the Center for Progressive Christianity.

Prior to coming to HWS, Adams was the dean of students and director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y., and held various other positions there, including director of women’s studies.