One of the largest Christian dominations in the country installed its first openly transgender and non-binary bishop on September 11.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which serves approximately three million members nationwide and in parts of the Caribbean, has sworn in Reverend Megan Rohrer as the new leader of Sierra Pacific Synod, one of the church’s ministries and councils in California. In May, the Evangelical Lutheran Church announced that Rohrer would begin a six-year term in the role following the retirement of the current bishop. During the ceremony, Rohrer pledged to lead worshippers with love and support.
“My call is … to be up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before,” Rohrer told the church, according to the Associated Press. “But mostly, if you’ll let me, and I think you will, my hope is to love you and beyond that, to love what you love.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, Rohrer thanked the Lutheran Church community for “prayerfully and thoughtfully” voting for them as they sought the role. They added that their “installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”
The historic appointments continued on September 12 with the installation of Brenda Bos, a former television producer and an assistant to the bishop at Southwest California Synod, as the church’s first lesbian bishop. Both Bos and Rohrer were initially barred from the church due to anti-LGBTQ policies.
For the last seven years, Rohrer has served as a pastor at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco, California. According to a statement on the church’s website, they received a Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, and a Doctor of Ministry degree.
Earlier this year, Rohrer told Gay City News that their appointment is a testament to the resilience of the queer community.
“There is a long history, particularly queer history, of people who keep believing in themselves, who keep striving to work at jobs, even before others in that profession are ready for them,” Rohrer said. “I see myself as maybe one of the thousands of ways in history that we’ve been able to keep on past fear and just be people who try to be good at our jobs.”
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