LGBT Lutheran pastors reinstated

Seven Lutheran pastors who were reinstated by the church. Photo from
Seven LGBT Lutheran pastors from the Bay Area were reinstated on Sunday after being banned from serving in the church for two decades. The “Bay Area Seven” were welcomed back into the church about a year after it decided to allow gay and lesbian pastors.

In 1990 two San Francisco Lutheran churches, First United and St. Francis, ordained gay and lesbian pastors and were expelled from the denomination. On Sunday St. Francis also voted to rejoin the national Lutheran church.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

It was a day of mixed feelings for the “Bay Area Seven” – the Revs. Jeff Johnson, Megan Rohrer, Paul Brenner, Craig Minich, Dawn Roginski Sharon Stalkfleet and Ross Merkel – who saw the event as an act of reconciliation with the church that once shunned them.

“We finally got to the direction we knew the Lutheran church was heading. It just took it longer to get there,” Johnson said…

“It’s like an individual who was separated from his family after his mother kicked him out,” said the Rev. Robert Johnson, head pastor at St. Francis. “The mother church has come around and said ‘you were right.’ “

It’s worth noting that the San Francisco Chronicle mentioned in their headline to this story that the group of pastors include gay and transgender folks. Other media publications, including the New York Times, only talk about gay pastors. This is exactly the sort of media exclusion trans folks don’t need, having our existence removed from a positive and uplifting story.

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Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • dark_morgaine_le_fey

    This is a good day for Civil Rights. I hope my own denomination: United Methodism, is soon to follow. There would be precedent, since United Methodists and Lutherans recognize each other’s clergy (basically, a Methodist pastor could bless and then serve the sacraments in a Lutheran church and a Lutheran pastor could do the same in a Methodist church).

    Also glad to see that the San Francisco Chronicle at least is presenting a more complete coverage of the situation. Transgendered people need to be recognized as productive, and more importantly, NORMAL members of society by the media, who so clearly shape policy in this country nowadays.

  • kearstyn

    Just a note about the Lutheran church and a correction to this article: There is actually no “national” Lutheran church. In America, Lutherans are divided into two synods – ELCA, which is the more liberal of the two, and the Missouri Synod, which is the more conservative one. This particular event had to do with ELCA, not the Missouri Synod, as the Missouri Synod has yet to allow GLBTQ persons to be pastors. ELCA has actually allowed LGBTQ persons to be pastors since 1993; the decision that reordained these particular pastors was a decision to allow partnered LGBTQ pastors (previous to this, LGBTQ pastors had to take a vow of celibacy), as was clearly stated in the article from the San Francisco Chronicle. I’m surprised that the author of this article did not fact check before publishing it, and as a result of this, the article makes the Lutheran church look much less progressive than ELCA actually is.