Kansfield, Ann Oral History

Span Dates: 2017
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 1 transcript, 81 pages; audio file


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 parents, 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.

Hist/Bio Note

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 September 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

Finding Aid

An online finding aid is available.


Forms part of: LGBTQ+ Columbia University oral history collection. Digital sound recording available by contacting Oral History Archives at Columbia, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries. 535 West 114th Street 801 Butler Library, Box 20 MC1129 New York, NY 10027


Reformed Church in America (RCA) | Women and Religion | Gay Liberation Movement