The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America announced that Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer is the church’s first transgender bishop. Rev. Dr. Rohrer, who was the first openly transgender pastor, will serve a six-year term as bishop at Sierra Pacific Synod.
“It’s humbling. It’s inspiring,” Rev. Dr. Rohrer told CNN. “And I think I’m very aware that this call is bigger than me – that it’s about serving God, and it’s about… a place in history that means a lot to a lot of people.”
Rev. Dr. Rohrer was the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco for seven years.
The ELCA started letting LGBTQ pastors serve openly in 2009.
“Most people’s feeling about gay and lesbian and trans people aren’t rational, and maybe as I’ve matured as a pastor, I’ve figured out that it’s feelings. People have a feeling or a fear that is compelling them to want to say no to an entire group of people,” Rev. Dr. Rohrer said to Cosmopolitan in 2018. “The way to respond to that is by being our best self and by being louder than other people’s fear.”
Rev. Dr. Rohrer turned to religion after facing difficulties coming out as transgender while growing up in South Dakota.
“I think the most important thing I can say as a queer pastor is I’m sorry. Using faith to tear other people down is not good news,” Rev. Dr. Rohrer told Cosmopolitan. “We need to all be as loud and angry as the people who want to declare that there are types of people that God can’t love. People are literally dying because of it.”
According to CNN, the ELCA is the only Christian denomination that allows transgender people to serve as clergy. The ELCA has 3.3 million members.
Rev. Dr. Rohrer will be installed on September 11 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Walnut Creek, California.