The foundation established by Madeleine L’Engle, the late National Book Award-winning author of books such as A Wrinkle in Time, has awarded a $5,000 grant to OneWheaton, a community of LGBTQ students and alumni from Wheaton College. Because OneWheaton is committed to the full affirmation of LGBTQ persons, they are not officially recognized by the college, which can expel students caught in homosexual erotic behaviors. The group plans to use the money to fund public discussions and forums about LGBTQ issues and evangelical culture.
“We couldn’t be happier to receive this grant from L’Engle’s Crosswicks Foundation,” says Paul Canaday-Elliot, a OneWheaton board member. “Wheaton tells a very one-sided narrative about LGBT persons without making room for dialogue. So this will help us continue to supply something that the college isn’t.”
OneWheaton’s formation in 2011 was followed by a public response from Wheaton’s president reaffirming the college’s belief that homosexual erotic behavior is immoral. This spawned a wave of news stories catapulting OneWheaton into the national spotlight. Since then, dozens of similar LGBTQ groups have formed on Christian college campuses around the country, many adopting the “One-” prefix. OneWheaton has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter and hosts unofficial homecoming events near the college.
Many see the success of OneWheaton as further proof of increasing openness on matters related to homosexuality among America’s young faithful. This significant donation from the legacy foundation of such a prominent Christian may further bolster such claims.
Canaday-Elliot said the Crosswicks’ grant was unsolicited. Charlotte Jones Voiklis, L’Engle’s granddaughter and Crosswalks director, was researching Wheaton College online in January and “began wondering whether the college reflected her grandmother’s intellectual legacy.” As a result, she stumbled upon the OneWheaton website, which led her to contact the organization and eventually award the grant.
The Crosswicks Foundation has never publicly announced a grant award, making their gift to OneWheaton even more significant. Attempts to reach Crosswicks via telephone and email were not immediately returned, but the following quote from Voiklis was posted on OneWheaton’s private Facebook page: “My grandmother had a long and deep relationship with Wheaton College and its English Department, and she was enriched by some of the vigorous debates she had with faculty and students there. I believe that the kinds of conversations OneWheaton is seeking to have reflect where she would be if she were still here.”