A pastor in California became the first openly transgender person to be elevated to the role of bishop in a major American Christian denomination when they were elected on Saturday to lead a synod in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The Rev. Megan Rohrer was elected to a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific synod, an assembly based in Sacramento that includes about 200 congregations across Northern and Central California and northern Nevada.
“I am so proud to be a Lutheran,” Pastor Rohrer, 41, who will be installed as bishop on July 1, said in an email on Monday. “I pray that my election by the faithful people of the Sierra Pacific Synod will become a constant reminder that God’s fabulous love is never limited by the opinions or legislation of others.”
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said in a statement on Monday that the Sierra Pacific Synod recognized Pastor Rohrer’s gifts as a leader.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco. They earned a Master of Divinity and completed postgraduate course work in Christian education at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., according to their profile on the church’s website.
“I want to be the kind of bishop that moves whatever stumbling blocks might have been placed before you, who roots for you, and worships with you,” Pastor Rohrer said before the vote on Saturday.
After the vote, Pastor Rohrer said they were humbled and honored.
“My hope is that your grandkids will call you, and your kids will call you, and your friends will call you, and ask you about your faith,” they said. “And when they call, tell them how much you love Jesus and why Jesus’s faith in you meant why you could have faith in me.”
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said on Monday that Pastor Rohrer’s election was groundbreaking and would be a source of inspiration and hope for many.
almost 3.3 million members, Pastor Rohrer had been barred from the church because of its “policies against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals,” according to Pastor Rohrer’s biography on the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church website.