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First Person Plural: EI & Beyond

Karen Ziegler - Conflict and Leadership


At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Karen Ziegler was senior pastor of an LGBTQ church in Greenwich Village. In this interview she shares how she led her congregation through a period of intense conflict.

Karen led the church from 1978-1988 and then was a full-time organizer for several years in the AIDS community before becoming a nurse. Since retiring from work as a Nurse Practitioner 6 years ago she has been as a volunteer activist, serving as lead organizer for Democracy Out Loud Indivisible. She also works with the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and several other organizations. Having meditated on her own since 1979, she finally found a teacher in 1989 and since then has studied with teachers of vedic trantra, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Insight Meditation, plant medicine, and Tibetan Buddhism. She holds an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary, DMin from New York Theological Seminary, and an MSN from Duke University. Since 1917 Lama Rod Owens has been her primary teacher.

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