Kathleen Buckley



(click to enlarge)

Stole Narrative


was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in 1986 and served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Watervliet, New York, until February, 1993.  After a long struggle she came out to the session and congregation and resigned her position.

Kathleen continues to use her remarkable gifts for ministry everywhere in her life.  She says "I am more than ever convinced that God is wild - and the Spirit will not be tamed by any human effort."

The Seeking God's Wisdom group at First United Presbyterian Church, Troy, New York, made this stole to honor Kathleen's courage, honesty, friendship, and faith.  Kathleen's story, One Step at a Time, appears in the book Called Out:  The Voices and Gifts of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Presbyterians.

(second panel)


On March 24, 2001, Kathleen announced to the Presbytery of Albany her decision to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA).  These are her words:

It's become clear that I need to continue to be faithful to God's call I don't need others to agree with me - but I do need to have enough space to respond in obedience to God's call.  Recent actions in this presbytery and beyond indicate that space for me to serve is tenuous these days and so, after much prayer, I realized I needed to leave the PC(USA)

Leaving violates my theology of covenant, but deeper than that is being faithful to God

Kathleen is now a member of the United Church of Christ denomination, and serves as chaplain at St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY.

Godspeed, Kathleen!!

Historical Commentary

This is one of my favorite stoles.  It's proof that, despite all the pain and loss we've known, this movement still has a sense of humor.

At about eleven feet in total length and one foot wide, this is the largest stole in the collection.  Kathleen, herself, is just a bit over five feet tall.  A member of the Troy church told me that they chose to make a stole that would "reflect her personality and her preaching style, not her stature!"  On the Sunday that her stole was to be dedicated, Kathleen was invited to preach and preside over communion.  Undaunted, she wore the stole throughout the service, proudly pinning it to her shoulders and hoisting it up when necessary.

Big letters running the full length of one panel read, "GOD IS WILD!"  Indeed, Kathleen embodies the spirit of our wildly inclusive God.  A bright, inspiring, shaker-and-mover, Kathleen eventually felt stifled by the Presbyterian Church's seemingly endless bickering and debate over her place, and the place of her LGBT sisters and brothers, in the church.  In 2001 she finally left the denomination and was received as a pastor in the United Church of Christ.  Clearly it was the Presbyterian Church's loss and the UCC's gain.  On the day of the presbytery meeting at which she formally took leave for the UCC, her many friends and allies from the Troy church once again showed their support by standing with her and celebrating the renewal of her call to a more welcoming denomination.  To mark this transition, they sent a second story to be added alongside the original one on her stole.

Martha Juillerat
Founder, Shower of Stoles Project

Archival Record

Stole Number: 301

Honoree(s): Kathleen Buckley

Donor(s): First United Presbyterian Church

Geographical Designation: Troy, NY / USA

Faith Tradition: Presbyterian Church (USA)

Donation Date: 1996