20 September 2011


—by Muna Killingback
The T.O.P. Women’s Forum, the region’s only lecture series devoted to the concerns of women, from the personal to the global, launched its 10 week fall program on Thursday September 15th on the theme “Lifting the Mask: The Courage to Live My Truth,” designed to guide women to live more authentically according to their own values and aspirations.
The series opening was entitled, “Curtain Up: Women’s Stories, the Power of Sharing Our Experiences” with a two-hour performance by True Story Theatre. The troupe played back stories from audience members’ lives with compassion and insight.
Whenever True Story Theater performs, we laugh and cry and there is a palpable electricity in the room that runs through us all,” explains Charlene Brotman, longstanding member of TOP’s advisory committee, “We feel our common humanity.”
On Sept. 22nd, Abby Seixas psychotherapist and author of Finding the Deep River Within explores, “The Continuing Dilemma of Taking Care of Ourselves: Why is it Still So Hard?” She will delve into the reasons women find it hard to prioritize their own needs and explain why nonetheless it is important to put ourselves first at times.
What Does Feminism Mean to Me?” will be the topic of a panel discussion on Sept. 29th moderated by Harvard Divinity School professor Leila Ahmed. Panelists include Prof. Elora Chowdhury of UMass Boston, Prof. Sally Haslinger of M.I.T., and Gina Helfrich, Director of the Harvard Women’s Center. The panelists will also respond to questions and engage the audience in a participatory dialogue.
On Oct. 6th, Brown University’s chaplain Rev. Janet Cooper Nelson will speak on, “Discerning and Validating my Inner Truth,” offering spiritual insights into rediscovering what is most meaningful and rewarding to each individual in their lives.
Other lectures in the series focus on fostering personal relationships in a technological age, strategies for women dealing with conflict, challenging the verbal abuse dynamic, and the impact of patriarchal language on security issues.
For the final lecture on Thursday November 17th renowned international fashion designer, artist, and retreat leader Sigrid Olsen will address the topic, “Composing Our Lives, Being True to Ourselves.”
The 10-lecture series meets weekly on Thursday mornings from 10 am to 12.30 pm at the University Lutheran Church at 66 Winthrop Street, just off of Harvard Square in Cambridge, a short walk from the Harvard Square T station. The cost of an individual lecture is $15 ($5 for students); a series subscription is $120. Group discounts are available. For more information, see www.theologicalopportunitiesprogram.org or call 617-285-7408.
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The Theological Opportunities Program of lectures and conversations on issues of concern to women began as a program of the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, MA in 1973. It evolved to address any and all issues of concern to women from the personal to the global and became an independent non-profit organization in 2003. It has no religious or other affiliations.
For more information: Muna Killingback, Executive Director, 617 285 7408