LGBTQIA+ Christian Leaders
In this episode of Christian Mythbusters, Father Jared tries to break the myths surrounding LGBTQIA+ Christians by sharing the stories of three leaders in the Christian church. You can hear Christian Mythbusters in the Grand Haven area on 92.1 WGHN, on Wednesdays at 10:30am and Sundays at 8:50am. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple here.
The transcript of the episode is below, or you can listen to the audio at the bottom of the post.
This is Father Jared Cramer from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven, Michigan, here with today’s edition of Christian Mythbusters, a regular segment I offer to counter some common misconceptions about the Christian faith.
In last week’s episode, I talked about the history of PRIDE month and how the church should be an ally in pride, exploring the question from the standpoint of Scripture. To continue our engagement with Christians and PRIDE, this week I want to exit the theoretical and enter the lived world of LGBTQIA+ Christians by sharing with you a few people in the church who have been tremendous leaders and role models for the gay Christian movement.
I’m using a great resource put out by Stonewall, an LGBTQIA rights organization in the United Kingdom that is named for the 1969 Stonewall uprising which marked the start of the PRIDE movement. Their motto is “acceptance without exception” and you can find out more about these and other individuals by Googling their 48-page booklet “Christian Role Models for LGBT Equality.”
Rachel Mann’s given name at birth was Nick because she was assigned male at birth. However, from the age of four, she always felt like she was a girl. She prayed every night growing up that she would wake up as a girl the next morning. Eventually, she rejected God because she couldn’t understand how a loving God could create someone like her, with such a deep internal struggle over her gender identity.
Rachel began to transition when she was 22, and it wasn’t until she was 26 that she had a strong enough sense of who she was to try once more to offer herself to God, to a God who, in her words “wouldn’t let me go.” She finally prayed to God, afraid of what God might say back to her, and what she heard instead of condemnation was this: “Actually, I love you, Rachel, in your deepest being and I accept you completely.’
Rachel returned to the Church of England and found a spiritual home there . Seven years later, she discerned a calling to the priesthood, went to seminary, and was ordained a priest in 2006, ten years after she had returned to faith in God. Now the Reverend Rachel Mann is a Canon and Poet-in-Residence at Manchester Cathedral in England.
Judith Kotzé is an identical twin who was raised in the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, in a family that had generations of ministers. She didn’t know she was a lesbian growing up because she was focused on her sense of calling to ministry, eventually being ordained as one of the very first women clergy in the Dutch Reformed Church. While in university, she began to realize she was attracted to women, and she prayed for God to take it away , to give her the gift of celibacy. She was ordained and, after four years of ministry, she fell in love with a woman, making it clear that celibacy was not her calling. Eventually, Judith came to the belief that love is love and in 2000 met the woman who is now her partner. They married in 2007. She didn’t think her parents would come to the wedding and when she did it was a milestone for the entire famil...