The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has appointed a transgender bishop. Rev. Megan Rohrer was installed during a ceremony at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on Saturday.
Rohrer is the first transgender bishop in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a denomination with about 3.3 million members. Rohrer will lead one of the church’s 65 synods, overseeing nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and northern Nevada. “My call is ….. to be up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before,” Rohrer told worshipers. “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.”
Rohrer, who uses the pronouns “they”, was elected to the position this past May. Rohrer serve a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod after the previous bishop announced his retirement. “I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer said in a statement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”
Rohrer previously served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and a chaplain coordinator for the city’s police department. The new bishop became one of seven LGBTQ pastors accepted by the church in 2010 after it allowed ordination of pastors in same-sex relationships. Rohrer has two children and is married.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America stands in sharp contrast to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a conservative denomination that worked against COVID-19 lockdowns in Minnesota and Illinois, with its president, Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, writing a letter to the Trump administration’s Department of Justice seeking their help to protect religious liberties.