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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America installed its first openly transgender bishop during a service celebrated Saturday at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Reverend Megan Rohrer will lead one of the church’s 65 synods, overseeing nearly 200 congregations in northern California and northern Nevada.

“My calling is… to live up to the same messy and loving things that I was before,” Rohrer told the faithful. “But most of all, if you allow me, and I think you will, my hope is to love you and beyond that, to love what you love.”

Rohrer was elected in May to a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod after its current bishop announced his retirement.

“I take on this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in northern California and Nevada voted in a spirit of prayer and reflection to do something historic,” Rohrer said in a statement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to guide us forward.”

Rohrer, who uses the pronoun “they,” was previously pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and chaplain coordinator for the city’s police department, and has also assisted homeless and LGTBQ + communities in the city. city. They studied religion at Augustana University in their hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, before moving to California to pursue masters and doctoral studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

Rohrer became one of seven LGBTQ + pastors accepted by the Evangelical Lutheran Progressive Church in 2010 after allowing pastors to be ordained in same-sex relationships. Rohrer is married and has two children.

The church is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with approximately 3.3 million members.

theguardian Gt