A Lutheran pastor from California was elected a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ECLA) on Saturday, becoming the first transgender person to serve as bishop in a major Christian denomination in the U.S.
Rev. Megan Rohrer, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and community chaplain coordinator for the San Francisco Police Department, became the first transgender person to be ordained in the Lutheran church in 2006, according to an ECLA statement.
— ELCA Lutherans (@ELCA) May 10, 2021
Rohrer was elected to a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod, which includes 180 congregations in northern California and northern Nevada, and has more than 36,000 individual members and roughly 13,000 weekly worshippers, Religion News Service (RNS) reported.
“It’s an honor to be called to serve the Sierra Pacific Synod,” Rohrer told RNS in a statement. “During this time when some imagine trans people at their worst, Lutherans have once again declared that transgender people are beautiful children of God. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and my family as I accept this call.” (RELATED: Lutheran Church Goes Gender Neutral, Won’t Call God ‘He’)
Rohrer has been an outspoken LGBTQ activist, with multiple media profiles about being an LGBTQ Christian and coming to terms physically and spiritually with gender. Rohrer previously said in a 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan that supporters must be “as loud and as angry as the people who want to declare that there are types of people that God can’t love.”
According to documents obtained by RNS, Rohrer said priorities for the synod should include “a major evangelism effort” to support the homeless and promote low-income housing, and auditing the synod’s policies to review sources of bias.
The ECLA and other mainline Protestant denominations have debated the role of LGBTQ people in the church for years. A Public Religion Research Institute poll conducted in March found that 82% of white mainline Protestants support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.