Transgender clergy now serve openly in several mainline and progressive Christian denominations. Churches that espouse traditional Christian theology have not allowed transgender persons to be clergy as they do not accept transgender identity as a Biblical expression of personhood. Several of the transgender clergy below caused disorder in their churches and denominations when they insisted on recognition. Several of them have left diminished or destroyed churches in their paths. Below are brief biographies of the openly transgender clergy serving in the United States today.
The Episcopal Church (approved transgender ordination at its 2012 General Convention)
The Reverend Carolyn Woodall is a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, California. Formerly the Deputy Public Defender in Sonora, Woodall now has a small criminal defense practice in addition to serving as deacon for St. James Episcopal Church. Woodall serves as the Chair of the Stakeholders' Council of Integrity USA, "the leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church." more >>
"It is appropriate to ask whether there is much genuine, deep, heartfelt worship in our churches. In many evangelical churches people do not truly worship God...If genuine worship is lacking in our churches, we should ask how we can bring ourselves to experience much more of the depth and richness of worship, which is the natural response of the believing heart..." (Wayne Grudem).
Dr. Grudem is spot on—most who attend church are not worshiping God, they simply go through the motions. But what is genuine worship? Worship is a combination of attitude and acts focused on reverence to God. The Hebrew meaning denotes a "bowing down, or prostrating oneself"; it is a posture reflecting homage and reverence toward the one true and living God. If there is a problem with worshiping God, the problem isn't with God, the problem is with us. Worship serves as the thermometer of the heart by measuring our spiritual condition...are we hot, cold, or lukewarm? Granted, worship isn't necessarily measured by actions such as jumping up and down; it's measured by the condition (temperature) of our heart—is it rejoicing for joy and breaking and submitting to God?
Sadly, many confuse false worship with genuine worship. According to numerous theological resources, false worship is when an entity, person, or object is worshiped instead of God—our passion for "something" outweighs our passion for Him; it draws us away. more >>
E. Dewey Smith Jr., senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta (Greater Travelers Rest) in Decatur, Georgia, has become somewhat of a hero among gay rights advocates after a clip from one of his recent sermons on the hypocritical treatment of gays by some black churches went viral during the weekend. On Monday, however, he declared that his message should not be taken as support for LGBT advocacy.
"In the African-American church … you are guilty of condemning the Supreme Court system and preaching against something. But if you look at half of our choirs and a great number of our artists that we call abominations, we call demons, we demonize and dehumanize the same people that we use. We don't say nothing about the gay choir director because he's good for business," said Smith in the 5-minute clip from the controversial message that has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube since it was posted last Thursday.
"As long as the choir sound good, I ain't saying nothing about his sexuality. We have done what the slave master did to us. Dehumanize us, degrade us, demonize us, but then use them for our advantage," he added. Dewey's comments from the clip have sparked a frenzy of headlines and an ongoing discussion about his views on same-sex marriage. more >>
A major LGBT Methodist organization may reach a settlement with an ex-employee who's filing a complaint against them over allegations of "gender identity discrimination" and unlawful firing.
Reconciling Ministries Network, which boasts the support of hundreds of congregations throughout the United States, requested and was given an extension on its official response to the complaint filed by its former director of communications Andy Oliver.
The Christian Post obtained a copy of the RMN motion via a FOIA request submitted and granted last week. more >>
A congregation in Pennsylvania has voted overwhelmingly to leave the United Methodist Church over the growing debate that the mainline denomination is having regarding its position on homosexuality.
Wesley Church, a congregation in Quarryville that has an average weekly worship attendance of about 650, voted to leave the UMC after months of discernment.
Chris Lenhart, associate pastor at Wesley Church, told The Christian Post that leadership for the congregation saw a "considerable chasm forming between what Wesley believed and affirmed about the nature of God's word and what the denomination believed and affirmed about the nature of God's Word. more >>
A Maryland-based Christian fellowship will be hosting its 21st annual "Jesus at the Beach," multi-day event centered on worship, music, prayer, ministry and baptism on the beach in Ocean City staring on Monday.
"Basically, we gather in the Ocean City Convention Center Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 10 a.m. for praise, worship, drama, prayer, and Holy Spirit ministry," said Gary Steger, a leader at Son'Spot and one of the organizers for Jesus at the Beach, to The Christian Post.
"And Each night on the beach at North Division Street we gather from 7 to 10 p.m. for praise music, drama, and testimonies. On Wednesday, following the morning meeting, we will baptize people in the ocean, across from the convention center." more >>