California

California church’s first openly transgender bishop resigns amid accusations of racism

America first openly transgender bishop fired last week amid accusations of racism following the dismissal of the Puerto Rican pastor of a predominantly Latino congregation during a major Hispanic holiday.

Pastor Megan Rohrer, 42, who uses the pronouns “she”, said the “constant misinformation, bullying and harassment” led to her dismissal from the Sierra Pacific Synod, overseeing 200 congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Netherlands California and northern Nevada. Rohrer was elected in May 2021 to serve a six-year term.

The former bishop was found by a ‘hearing panel’ of the church to engage in racist behavior by threatening to call the police on a church member and her children, which church investigators called a “scary action, especially when dealing with the vulnerable communities of Blacks, natives and people of color. ‘

Pastor Nelson Rabell-Gonzales was fired as head of the Latina Luterana Mission after being accused of bullying

Pastor Nelson Rabell-Gonzales was fired as head of the Latina Luterana Mission after being accused of bullying

Bishop Megan Rohrer, left, the first transgender bishop of America, dismissed under investigation for abuse of the termination of pastor Nelson Rabell-Gonzales, who was expelled for bullying

Rohrer was also accused of wearing a bulletproof vest when announcing the dismissal of a popular priest, Pastor Nelson Rabell-Gonzales, whom she removed from the Mission Guadalupe on December 11, 2021, the day before the Feast of the Virgin. Latina had dismissed Luterana. large religious holiday for Stockton, California church congregation. Rohrer had said they wore the vest out of fear for their lives.

The accusation of racism is at odds with Rohrer’s progressive policies.

Rohrer is known for advocating for LGBTQ rights in street activism, preaching and writing and is also recognized for her work with the homeless

Congregations of the Mission Latina Luterana were so overwhelmed that their pastor was fired that they walked out of the church with a statue of the Virgin Guadalupe

Congregations of the Mission Latina Luterana were so overwhelmed that their pastor was fired that they walked out of the church with a statue of the Virgin Guadalupe

Congregations of the Mission Latina Luterana were so overwhelmed that their pastor was fired that they walked out of the church with a statue of the Virgin Guadalupe

Congregants of the church accused Rohrer of smirking during the disturbance in the service, but church leaders attributed it to the autism of the former bishop

Congregants of the church accused Rohrer of smirking during the disturbance in the service, but church leaders attributed it to the autism of the former bishop

Congregants of the church accused Rohrer of smirking during the disturbance in the service, but church leaders attributed it to the autism of the former bishop

Ex-bishop Megan Rohrer, pictured here, threatened to call police on two church members after they refused to leave

Ex-bishop Megan Rohrer, pictured here, threatened to call police on two church members after they refused to leave

Ex-bishop Megan Rohrer, pictured here, threatened to call police on two church members after they refused to leave

An Evangelical Lutheran Church hearing panel found that Rohrer was wearing a bulletproof vest to the service because they feared for their lives.

An Evangelical Lutheran Church hearing panel found that Rohrer was wearing a bulletproof vest to the service because they feared for their lives.

An Evangelical Lutheran Church hearing panel found that Rohrer was wearing a bulletproof vest to the service because they feared for their lives.

The former bishop fired Rabell-Gonzales after an investigation by the church into verbal harassment and retaliation charges against the pastor, who has denied everything.

The synod council voted on December 11 to abandon Rabell-Gonzales’ call as a mission developer and terminate his employment after saying he refused to meet certain mandatory requirements.

A report on the pastor’s dismissal, released on June 1, made several recommendations to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, including publicly apologizing to the Latino church community for the damage done, plotting anti-racism -training for church staff and leaders, paying a “healing visit” to the community and creating a task force to review church policies and procedures.

The church council was in the process of chastising Rohrer when she announced her dismissal from the synod.

“The constant misinformation, bullying and harassment has taken too heavy a toll on the Synod I love, my family and myself,” Rohrer said. ‘Although I’m probably strong enough to continue serving as your bishop, I believe I would be a bad role model for my black trans child if I continued in this position.’

On Twitter, Rohrer also accused church leaders of publishing news about investigations and disciplinary action before her family could be informed.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer (pictured) was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Sierra Pacific Synod of America, and became the first transgender person to serve as a bishop in the denomination or in any of the great Christian belief in the US.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer (pictured) was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Sierra Pacific Synod of America, and became the first transgender person to serve as a bishop in the denomination or in any of the great Christian belief in the US.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer (pictured) was elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Sierra Pacific Synod of America, and became the first transgender person to serve as a bishop in the denomination or in any of the great Christian belief in the US.

Rohrer (pictured with her wife and two children), pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and municipal chaplain coordinator for the San Francisco Police Department, was the first transgender person to be ordained to the ELCA in 2006.

Rohrer (pictured with her wife and two children), pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and municipal chaplain coordinator for the San Francisco Police Department, was the first transgender person to be ordained to the ELCA in 2006.

Rohrer (pictured with her wife and two children), pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and municipal chaplain coordinator for the San Francisco Police Department, was the first transgender person to be ordained to the ELCA in 2006.

Most Mexican immigrants from the Mission Latina Luterana congregation had no idea their pastor was fired on December 12, according to the panel’s investigation. Churchgoers had planned an elaborate program that day featuring mariachi singers, traditional dancers and children’s performances, all led by Rabell-Gonzales.

A video, which one of the congregants recorded live, shows disgruntled congregations expressing their concerns. One woman said in Spanish, “Pastor Nelson has worked hard to make this day happen. He has done a lot for our community. He has fought for our rights.”

Others said the move to fire him was “dishonest” and “racist”. The report mentions other municipalities that were asked if the complaints against Rabell-Gonzales were sexual in nature and were further transmitted when they received no response from Rohrer or other leaders.

Pastor Elizabeth Eaton, the chief bishop of the denomination, announced in a May 27 report to the church that she had requested Rohrer’s dismissal from the synod.

“There are problems of broken trust at all levels, from individual members and communities to the wider church, that need work to repair,” she said in that report.

She said she intends to act on and examine various recommendations of the listening team, particularly the need for training for anti-racism and cultural sensitivity.

The church’s Latino Ministries Association had strong words for Eaton in a May 28 statement criticizing her for not bringing disciplinary charges against the bishop for “racist actions” against the congregation.

The association’s leaders called Eaton’s statement “weak and compassionate” and described racist actions as “unwise decisions” and “unfortunate events”. They also said that their message ignored the suffering of an entire community and “gave a white aggressor the opportunity to decide their own destiny – a decision deeply rooted in white supremacy and systemic racism.”

In an earlier statement, the synod council said it had decided to end Rabell-Gonzales’ employment following “continued communication of verbal harassment and retaliatory actions by more than a dozen victims from 2019 to date.” But church officials did not specify what the pastor’s transgressions were.

Rabell-Gonzales was one of the candidates in the election for bishop. Following Rohrer’s appointment, church officials identified mandatory steps for Rabell-Gonzales to take, which officials said he refused to comply with, on Dec. 9. The council’s action to abandon its call came two days later.

The decision to abandon the pastor’s call has also cut funding for the congregation, the report said, leaving the community without a pastor or a church building.

Rabell-Gonzales said he continues to lead the congregation under a new name, Iglesia Luterana Santa Maria Peregrina, at First Congregational Church in Stockton.

Rabell-Gonzales said he has never refused to follow the synod’s recommendations, and just wants the chance to make his case.

“I was removed from the list without due process, without disciplinary hearing and without being accused of anything,” he said.

Rohrer will now have the opportunity to assemble a defense as part of a disciplinary process – an opportunity that Rabell-Gonzales says he was denied. He also said he did not reject the synod’s mandate to see a therapist. When Rohrer became bishop, Rabell-Gonzales said he expected to get an ally.

“I got an oppressor instead,” he said.

California church’s first openly transgender bishop resigns amid accusations of racism Source link California church’s first openly transgender bishop resigns amid accusations of racism

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