A transgender person who runs a ministry for the homeless was installed last weekend as the spiritual leader at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church of San Francisco, making them the first trans leader of a Lutheran congregation. The February 22 service for the Reverend Megan Rohrer at the Sunset district chapel was well-attended.
Congregants joyfully took part in the service, which included praise songs set to the music of the Beatles. Dubbed Beatles Mass, the lyrics were written by Rohrer, sung to the beat of well-known tunes like "Across the Universe" and "Let it Be." The congregation sang "The Meal" to the tune of "Hey Jude," in preparation for receiving communion. As the congregation sang and clapped, Rohrer held up the bread and wine for all to see.
The reverend, who prefers the pronoun they, has been opening doors for years. In 2006, Rohrer was the first transgender pastor to be ordained by the Lutheran church. Transgender pastors, Rohrer said, serve a very special need. "Many transgender pastors and faith leaders work in specialized ministry to support vulnerable populations," Rohrer said. "When it comes to faithfully serving LGBT individuals or the homeless, being transgender is often an asset. Very few openly transgender pastors are able to find work leading a congregation. I believe this will change as society becomes more welcoming and understanding of transgender issues."
Part of Rohrer's work at Grace Lutheran will be to continue opening doors.
"We take the name Grace seriously, so we will be doing outreach to people of all shapes and sizes," Rohrer said. "The congregation is enthusiastic about welcoming everyone, particularly those who have been lied to and told they are not good enough to be part of a faith community. We even want people who feel uncomfortable stepping into a church to join us for our weekly worship and "Bible Study That Doesn't Suck" livestreams."
Rohrer added that the Night Ministry visits LGBT bars throughout the city and provides care and support to the drag court system.
Rohrer is happy to be a part of history.
"I am honored to be Grace's pastor and to be part of this historic new opportunity for transgender pastors," Rohrer said. "For over a decade I have been advocating and working toward a time when LGBT individuals would be welcome in the pews and behind the pulpits. Despite all my prayers, I never expected to see this kind of change within my lifetime."
For more information on Grace Lutheran, visit www.gracesf.com. For Rohrer's website, visit
Members of Grace Episcopal Church in Pine Bluff, AR, received this letter from their priest inviting them to join him on his journey toward a sex change operation:
I am at a loss for words and simply reporting the news at this point. . .
The time has come for me to share something with you that is deeply personal. This is not easy, but important journeys never are, so let me just say what needs to be told and invite you to join me in this journey.
My entire life I have known that there was something different about me and the way I felt inside. It has been like my inner self was out of sync with my outer self and so I have always experienced (to use a technical term) dysphoria. As a child I prayed that I would wake up some day the whole person that I felt myself to be on the inside. I need to tell you that after years of self-searching and therapy I have come to accept in myself that I am transgender. And now I need to be honest with myself and all those I care about which includes you. I am going to begin the final stages of transitioning and I would like you to invite you to join me in this journey.
There will be plenty of time for talking this out and for education but for today…. I am the same person you have always known. I will continue to be that person you know and, if possible, I hope to grow and become even a better and more whole person and priest.
Do not pretend to have all the answers because I certainly don’t have them all either.
My hope and my prayer is that you accept my sincere invitation to make the journey with me.
- To accept the challenge to grow as an individual and parish
- To discover what transformations and transitions in your life are occurring and happening before our eyes
- To learn more about what transgender means and is, for many people
- To walk with me as I complete (finalize) the transformation that has been working on me from the day I was born.
I hope that you will walk with me in faith, so that together we can discover and witness to that Love we are called to be, and bring into the world.
I am at a loss for words and simply reporting the news at this point. . .
I think that Canon 1 of the Council of Nicaea is applicable here.
If any one in sickness has been subjected by physicians to a surgical operation, or if he has been castrated by barbarians, let him remain among the clergy; but, if any one in sound health has castrated himself, it behooves that such an one, if [already] enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who wilfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men the Canon admits to the clergy.
Thank you for digging deep and finding the text in Canon 1 of the Council of Nicaea. Many Lutherans will not go back in time beyond Martin Luther to find support for a position. It is time that we go back to the early church for answers.
There is no justification for allowing homosexual or openly transgendered individuals in the clergy, however, those intent on twisting scripture or church teachings will find a way.....but to do so one must cancel out God's righteousness and imply He would bless or celebrate such blasphemy.
If a clergy man assumes the gender of a woman, she is no longer eligible for the office of the clergy (public ministry) and should cease the office. That's simple enough.
Is the confusion a ramification of female ordination? False doctrine is always a doorway to a path that leads away to more false doctrine. I'm quite certain that a great deal more confusion lies down this path.
He who is faithless in small matters, will be faithless in great matters.
It's comforting to read the Nicean father's sensitive words on sickness and how that can affect us. No Procrusteans here.
Gender confusion is a sickness, most likely of the brain. The result of "The Fall" is that anything that can go wrong with us, will go wrong. It's the medical treatment of removing the organs of generation that gets our attention and puts this within the purview of the Nicean Fathers.
Is this medical treatment the right one, and if it is, is it willfully sought (i.e., unnecessary) or suffered against the will, as it would be as a treatment of testicular cancer (the Fathers are right on top of this).
Diseases that affect gender have devastating effects on those who suffer them. We argue over the treatments and in this particular case, over treatments that prescribe the removal of genitalia.
And that's as it should be. Currently, orchiectomy is a treatment that cannot be undone. Surgical results are written in blood and resist easy manipulation.
"The reverend, who prefers the pronoun they ..."
For we are many?
If you're interested in learning more, feel free to check out this resource from the Human Right's Campaign: http://www.umass.edu/stonewall/uploads/listWidget/25139/gender%20id%20and%20faith.pdf
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