Accolades are pouring in for the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, the Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who has announced her departure from the Task Force as of September. Leaders from across the spectrum of national and ecumenical LGBTQ advocacy organizations hail Voelkel as “an embodiment of Grace, a cultivator of intersectional leaders, dedicated, smart-as-a-whip, the humble and authentic glue that held leaders in the welcoming church movement together,” and many other descriptors of admiration and gratitude.
Rev. Rob Williams, a founding co-president of Room for All, refers to Voelkel as a “guiding star,” recalling that she met with the Board to shape and nurture RfA’s launch in 2006, and again in 2009 when our first national conference generated strong momentum for expansion. RfA director Marilyn Paarlberg credit’s Voelkel’s “Spirited wisdom” with helping RfA to thrive organizationally, and expresses personal gratitude for her generosity as a trusted mentor and friend.
In announcing her departure to ecumenical colleagues, Voelkel reflects that she feels “a sense of awe—in the best use of that word. So much has moved and changed and transformed in the last decade. And so much has shifted in our religious worlds and in the secular-religious collaboration around LGBTQ work. Much of the goodness and faithfulness that has emerged can be traced to the work of these circles of visionary and faithful folk—you. “
Those who have been privileged to know and work with Rebecca Voelkel are quick to turn that remark around, crediting her extraordinary model of goodness, faithfulness, and vision for a future of full welcome and affirmation of all God’s people.
Voelkel plans to take several months of sabbatical to discern her next call and to spend well-deserved recreation with her partner and their 6-year old daughter. The Room for All board of directors honors her and prays God’s blessings for this remarkable woman of faith.