This blog originally was posted on “We Talk. We Listen,” a blog project of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago’s Diversity Committee, edited by Dr. Linda Thomas, Professor of Theology and Anthropology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Re-posted with permission.
The Rev. Megan Rohrer
Every Sunday during communion, pastors around the world invite angels and archangels, saints and mentors from other times and spaces to join with us in the Eucharistic feast. For the mystically minded, this moment invites a Transfiguration into our sacrament, syncs us to the rhythms of the faithful who have come before us and allows us to acknowledge our ancestors.
For those living on the margins, with few opportunities to hear about how people “like them” are a part of God’s sacred stories, this is an opportunity for us to imagine those with similar skin tone, disabilities, backgrounds, classes and struggles to be present at the altar and expand our imagined representation of who is worthy to not only receive communion, but to serve it.
My first book, Queerly Lutheran, is a collection of essays published by Wilgefortis Press in 2009 (a few months before the ELCA changed its policies to allow openly LGBT clergy stand on both sides of the communion altar). Queerly Lutheran’s appendix includes a 42 page prayer calendar of extraordinary LGBT faith leaders, bible characters, officially recognized saints and contemporary saint/sinner Lutherans who worked within the church to ensure a full inclusion of LGBTQ pastors and worshipers.
Within the prayer calendar are the stories of brave congregations and 18 openly LGBTQ pastors who ritualized the Medieval accounting of disobedient ordinations held by Martin Luther and recorded in the Smalcald Articles.
Before the rebellious ordination of a gay man and two lesbians in 1990, the late Bishop of Stockholm Krister Stendahl, sent his blessings and dubbed the ordinations “extraordinem” or extraordinary. During the following two decades it would take for the ELCA to change its policies, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries supported and credentialed the pastors serving in Exodus.
In 2010, when I was one of the first seven openly LGBTQ pastors (five extraordinarily ordained, one transferred from the Missouri Synod and one expelled from the ELCA by trial), we and all the clergy assembled wore green stoles, embodying the shift in our ministries to Ordinary Time.
Five years have passed since that Service of Reconciliation was held in San Francisco. Since then, countless Lutheran sinner/saint pastors have been able to live into their full fabulousness, come out and a new generation of pastors have been ordained Ordinarily.
Click here to read the full post and brief profiles of LGBTQ rostered leaders including Rev. Tita Valeriano, Rev. Bea Chun, Rev. Matthew James, Rev. Angel D. Marrero-Roe, Rev. Andrew Nelson, Rev. Asher O’Callaghan, Bishop Kevin Kanouse, Rev. Bill Kenezovich, Bishop Guy Erwin, and Bishop-Elect Daniel Harms.
Pastor Megan Rohrer is the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church, is currently pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran in San Francisco, and is a contributing blogger of the ELCA’s Living Lutheran. Pastor Megan is a member of Proclaim. Pastor Megan was a 2014 honorable mention as an Unsung Hero of Compassion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, received an Honorary Doctorate from Palo Alto University, a Distinguished Alum award from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in transgender nonfiction is an award winning filmmaker and historian. You can learn more about Pastor Megan’s online “Bible Study that Doesn’t Suck”* and other creative ministry projects at www.progressivelutheran.com.
*Bible Study that Doesn’t Suck – is the name of a personal Bible study that Rev. Rohrer leads online.