September 04, 2009

Methodist Minister Reveals to Congregation That He Is Transgender

From The Oregonian:

The Rev. David Weekley told the congregation of Epworth United Methodist Church a secret Sunday that he'd kept for 27 years: Almost a decade before his ordination journey began in 1982, he'd undergone counseling and several surgeries and became a transgender man.

"I am a man in some ways different from other men," he said. "But most people are different from other people in some way. And God still loves us."

After his sermon, the Rev. Bonnie Parr Philipson, metropolitan district superintendent of the United Methodist Church, affirmed to the congregation that Weekley's status within the church did not change with his revelation. She read a statement from Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata, leader of the Oregon-Idaho Methodist conference.

Weekley "is choosing now to share this earlier part of his life journey honestly and openly," Hoshibata wrote. "This decision does not, in any way, change his faith or his commitment to the ministry to which he was ordained, nor does it change his status as an elder in good standing. I prayerfully ask that his congregation, his colleagues and the United Methodist Church continue to uphold him and his family at this time."

"The United Methodist book of discipline does not speak to transgender as an impediment to ordination," said Greg Nelson, director of communications for the United Methodist Church in Oregon and Idaho.

Weekley has served congregations in Idaho and Oregon, including Salem, Corvallis, Forest Grove, Montavilla and Epworth. He has been married twice to women who knew his story. His wife of 13 years, Deborah, and he have a blended family of five adult children, all of whom know their father's history.

Before the service, Deborah Weekley said she was nervous for her husband, but she supported his decision, adding that she hopes someday such declarations won't be necessary.

Amen to that last statement. May God continue to bless Rev. Weekley's ministry efforts.

Click here to read the rest of The Oregonian story.

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