The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has installed its first openly transgender bishop – the first mainstream US Christian denomination to do so.
The Reverend Megan Rohrer was elected in May to serve a six-year term with the Sierra Pacific Synod after its current bishop announced his retirement.
They were installed in a service at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on 11 September.
The bishop told worshippers they would be “up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before”.
“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,” they added.
Bishop Rohrer will lead one of the church’s 65 synods, overseeing nearly 200 congregations in northern California and northern Nevada.
They previously served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and a chaplain coordinator for the city’s police department.
Bishop Rohrer also helped the city’s homeless and LGBTQ+ communities, such as through the creation of programmes to provide groceries to HIV+ people.
In a statement, the bishop said: “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.
“My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”
The church is one of the largest Christian denominations in the US, with about 3.3 million members.
Bishop Rohrer, who is married and has two children, became one of seven LGBTQ+ pastors accepted by the Evangelical Lutheran church in 2010 after it allowed the ordination of pastors in same-sex relationships.
They studied religion at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, before moving to California to pursue master and doctoral degrees at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.
Among the attendees at the service was Pastor Noah Hepler who starred in the opening episode of Queer Eye’s season five, Preaching Out Loud.
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