A California pastor became the first openly transgender person chosen for the post of bishop in a major American Christian denomination in an election last Saturday (8) to lead part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Rev. Megan Rohrer, 41, will serve a six-year term as bishop of the Synod of the Sierra Pacific, a Sacramento-based congregation that includes some 200 congregations in northern and central California and northern Nevada.
In an email from Monday (10), Rohrer – who will take up his new post on July 1 – said he was very proud of his religion. “I pray that my election by the faithful of the Sierra Pacific Synod will constantly remind people that the fabulous love of God is not limited by the opinions or laws of others.”
Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, who presides over the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said in a statement on Monday that the Sierra Pacific Synod recognizes Rohrer’s gift of leadership.
“When we say everyone is welcome, we mean it,” Eaton said. “We believe that the Spirit has given each of us gifts to build together the body of Christ.”
Rohrer, who uses the pronouns “they” and “them” (which, in English, do not distinguish between the sexes and, in Portuguese, can be translated as “they” or “they”), serves the Evangelical Church Lutheran Church of Grace in San Francisco. Rohrer holds a master’s degree in divinity and a graduate degree in Christian education, degrees from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., According to his profile on the church’s website.
“I want to be the kind of bishop who removes any obstacles that may have been placed in front of you, who cheers you and prays with you,” Rohrer said ahead of Saturday’s election.
After the vote, he expressed his humility and gratitude for the deference bestowed upon him
“I hope that your grandchildren will look for you, that your children will seek you, that your friends will seek you and ask you about your faith,” Rohrer said. “And when they do, tell them how much you love Jesus and why your faith in Jesus has made you trust me.”
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said on Monday that Rohrer’s election was revolutionary and would give inspiration and hope to many.
“Transgender people are often rejected by their congregations and suffer as a result,” he explained. “The election of Reverend Rohrer shows that progress is possible. She confirms that the more ordinary Americans get to know their next transgender person, the more they will realize that we share many of the same dreams and values. Everyone, including transgender people, deserves to be welcomed into their faith. “
According to Rohrer’s biography posted on Grace Lutheran’s Evangelical Church website, years before his election as bishop, Rohrer was expelled from the church due to “anti-gay, lesbian, bisexual” policies. , transgender and queer “.
Rohrer was ordained in 2006 thanks to the extraordinary candidacy project of the time, now known as the Lutheran Extraordinary Ministries. This action arose in the early 1990s as a form of resistance to a standard of the Evangelical Lutheran Church that required its homosexual clergy to be celibate.
“Megan has always walked in solidarity with those who raise their voices for justice and has always sought to give them security,” the project said in a statement on Saturday. “Today history has been made in our church! The Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries project celebrates a church that today recognizes the gifts of queer leaders as Bishop-elect Rohrer and looks forward to the day when queer pastoral leaders are included in unhindered or impeded ministry and affirmed in their vocations received from God.
As of July 2010, Rohrer was one of seven openly gay pastors who were previously banned from ministering and who have been recognized as clergy by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has 3.3 million followers. .
At a press conference after recognizing the pastors, Rohrer spoke about the challenges he faced as a teenager in South Dakota state and the discrimination he suffered, such as when they poured holy water in an alleged attempt at exhortation.
“Darkness can never defeat light,” Rohrer said at the time. “Even if it’s just a spark.”