By Mitch Kellaway, The Advocate.
Colorado pastor Asher O’Callaghan, the first out trans person ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s standard ordination process, says members of the church have been living examples of Christlike love and acceptance.
Though a liberal-leaning Protestant sect, the ELCA had previously only ordained openly trans ministers outside of the regular process, according the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Web site.
O’Callaghan, 28, who has been named pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Idaho Springs, Colo., told the site that he was “thrilled to be getting ordained to be a pastor and leader within the church I love.”
“The Church is changing,” O’Callaghan added. “There’s no need to choose between living life as your fullest self and belonging to a community of faith. For transgender people, this means that there are congregations who will affirm, respect, and celebrate our faith and our gender identities.”
O’Callaghan’s new congregation, Zion Lutheran, is representative of some of the “revitalization” the ELCA has been going through, and has been an intentionally LGBT-friendly “Reconciling in Christ” congregation for several years, notes Extraodinary Lutheran Ministries.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church, like many other denominations, has faced shrinking membership rolls for over a decade, and has tried more recently to cast a wider net to draw in younger congregants, single people, and families.