Oral history interview with Ann Kansfield, 2017


Kansfield, Ann (Interviewee)
Beckenstein, Jamie (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Ann Kansfield, 2017
In this wide-ranging interview, Ann Kansfield discusses many facets of her life, her career, and her identity. These include: her decision to come to Columbia; the impact of the attacks of September 11, 2001 on her decision to enter the ministry of the Reformed Church; her ADHD diagnosis; and her childhood in Holland, Michigan and Rochester, New York. She recounts coming out to friends and her pare nts, and analyzes her parents' reaction. She discusses gender theory, the influence of Judith Butler, and how being a parent has further informed her understanding of gender. She describes at length her experiences as a pastor in Greenpoint, including extended descriptions of characteristics of her congregation, the Brooklyn Classis of the Reformed Church, the views of the Classis on gay clergy, and the neighborhood of Greenpoint. She also gives a detailed analysis of her experiences as New York City Fire Department chaplain. The interview closes with description of the role of chaplains at Columbia University and a description of LGBTQ culture in the 1990s-2000s, on Columbia's campus and in broader New York City
Collection Name
LGBTQ+ Columbia University oral history collection
Clergy; Fire chaplains; Lesbian clergy; Greenpoint (New York, N.Y.); Kansfield, Ann; Reformed Church in America; Columbia University Alumni and alumnae; New York (N.Y.). Fire Department
oral histories
Physical Description
81 pages
Note (Biographical)
Ann Kansfield was born in Holland, Michigan and grew up in Rochester, New York, and New Brunswick, New Jersey. She attended Columbia University, majoring in Women's Studies and History. She initially worked in finance, but following the attacks of Sep tember 11, 2001, decided to enter the ministry. She obtained a Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and became a minister in the Reformed Church. She became known for revitalizing churches, first in the Flatlands and then in Greenpoint in Brooklyn. In 2015, she also became a chaplain of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). Kansfield is married to fellow minister Jennifer Aull. Kansfield's father, also a minister, performed the ceremony and was tried by the Reformed Church for doing so. Kansfield and Aull have two children
Interviewed by Jamie Beckenstein on November 29, 2016 and February 28, 2017
Note (Provenance)
Ann Kansfield, Gift, transferred from Columbia Center for Oral History Research 2018
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.