Methodist Church Ordains First Transgender Minister

A University of Kent chaplain has become the Methodist Church in Britain’s first transgendered ordained minister.

Joy Everingham, who was ordained last summer, serves at St Peter’s Methodist Church in Canterbury, England, and revealed they were born a man whilst speaking to Kent Online to mark Transgender Awareness Week.

Father of two and still married to a woman, Everingham was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and whilst training to become a minister, the couple decided to tell their sons and church that the 46-year-old planned to transition from male to female.

Premier Christian Radio reports it is the first time a person has transitioned whilst training to be a minister in the UK with the church’s knowledge.

Everingham reportedly received the church’s ‘full support’ and informed the congregation in a notice handed out before a service.

The UK’s Methodist Church joins its U.S. cousins in the United Methodist Church which also allowed transgender Rev. David Weekley and the “non-binary transgender” Deacon M. Barclay to lead congregations as clergy.

Other churches in the UK have also taken more progressive approaches to Biblical teaching on gender and marriage in recent years, with the Scottish Episcopal Church being sanctioned in October by the Anglican communion on its decision to perform gay marriages in churches. Primus Mark Strange responded to the sanction with the pro-LGBT maxim: “Love is love.”

In July, the Church of England, whose seat of the worldwide Anglican community is in Canterbury, voted to ‘welcome transgender people’ by considering preparing a church service as a way to “mark a person’s gender transition” and banned conversion therapy for Christians struggling with their sexuality.

And in 2016, the Church of Scotland voted to allow its ministers to enter same-sex marriages and continue serving.

The liberalisation of Protestant churches has received criticism from conservative Christians, with Lorna Ashworth resigning from the Archbishops’ Council in early November over the Church of England’s “revisionist agenda” and  “heretical” teachings on gender – just days before the church advised its schools to let children experiment with gender identity.

“We have a liberal agenda because the church is not anchored in the Gospel. There is no more conversation about Heaven, Hell, sin, forgiveness, judgement,” Ms. Ashworth wrote in her resignation letter.

Afterwards, social commentator Melanie Phillips described the Church of England ‘sowing the seeds of its destruction’, and that by “embracing gender fluidity and gay rights, Anglican leaders are capitulating to secularism”.

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