First Openly LGBTQ Pastor Ordained in Southern Conferences

Rev. Jane Graner Seeks to Bring 'Meaningful Change' to UMC



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"self-avowed but not practicing"

The following is not intended to impugn the integrity, spiritual wisdom, leadership, or decision-making of any persons mentioned in this article, including the author.
Rev. Tom Lambrecht wrote elsewhere: “Healing for LGBT persons involves seeking to live a holy life by the grace of God, which precludes same-sex sexual relationships.”
By which he clearly means enjoying genital sexual pleasure with a sexual partner of the same sex.
Cynthia Astle failed to mention that, according to UMNS, “[Rev.] Graner, while outspoken about being gay, has been single since her 28-year-partnership with another woman ended some years back.”
Some UMNS readers may feel compelled to insert their own theological narrative that Rev. Graner must have “repented” after 28 years of her sexual “sinning” with another woman. Or at least that she must have given up her right to the “pursuit of [sexual] happiness” with another woman in order to achieve her ordination. AND remain a member in good standing in her annual conference.
Modeling how to “live a holy life by the grace of God” is a significant public witness that clergy can make. Bishop Francis Asbury did so as an unmarried man for his whole life.
But must we require the ideal of virginity in our “self-avowed” lesbian Elders? Or at least that they renounce the possibility of marital sexual pleasure with another woman? Must we do our utmost to control how they are allowed to have orgasms?
I think not. At least not in the twenty-first century, after eons of sexual abuse and persecution.
Following the example of Bishop Karen Oliveto and her wife Deaconess Robin Ridenour, let us ordain lesbian Elders who can model in their own marital lives the personal radiance that comes from uniting the spiritual and the sexual dimensions of embodied grace.
To prohibit married lesbians from being ordained is to declare that “holy matrimony” for lesbians is less than holy. That women are less than fully human if they are not exclusively heterosexual. And, therefore, that lesbians are not fully capable of living “a holy life by the grace of God” unless they renounce “the pleasures of the flesh.”
Celibacy may be a deeply personal choice for a few. But Rev. Graner may be walking a very fine line by allowing herself to be ordained by a denomination that requires it of her if she has not chosen that condition.
What that is saying to the female half of humanity is that you’re totally out of luck and forever unfulfilled sexually if you are not currently happily married to a man. Enforcing that standard condemns a growing number of human beings to lives of loneliness and frustration.

Wayne more than 2 years ago

I find it disturbing...

...that there is a need to clarify about this newly ordained pastor's sex life. It is nobody's business. It reminds me of the small town gossips in Lake Woebegone speculating about Lutheran Pastor Liz's dates. I've tried and tried and tried and tried to understand where the right-wing hatemongers are coming from with their fatwa against gay clergy and the best I can come up with is the whole bunch is a lot of prudes, pecksniffs, comstocks, and Mrs. Grundys. And, no, whatever the bible says don't mean bupkis because they violate every other rule leviticusly and deuteronomously.

George Nixon Shuler more than 2 years ago

Excellent assessment of the UMC

“What General Conference 2019 [revealed] is that our form is impacting our function! Our division is impacting our ability to accomplish our task! It seems like we are spending more time arguing with one another, trying to convince one another to change than we are trying to convince the world to see Jesus! Our hearts are increasingly at war at the very moment we need hearts of peace."

...Bishop Webb used the account of Peter walking on water as an example of stepping outside of our comfort zone. He expressed how so many people focus on the negative – the fact that Peter sunk. Bishop Webb expressed how our focus should instead be on the fact that Peter took a leap of faith – and that this is what those who are part of The United Methodist Church need to do now.

Bishop Webb used the analogy of a little girl he saw recently in the grocery store, arms crossed, scowl on her face, exclaiming to her mother, “I’m not moving! I’m staying right here!” Bishop Webb expressed that so many people in The UMC are acting the same way amidst this season of uncertainty, when in fact we need to do the exact opposite.

...“We will only become the person God desires us to become when each one of us makes our own relationship with Jesus Christ the most important thing. That’s the only way you and I will find the courage to step out of our boats. And when we start to sink, Jesus will be there to pull us up, hold us close and continue the journey with us.”

It is time to break the cycle of what has been going on in the UMC since 1972! It is time to move into something new!

betsy more than 2 years ago

Irving location

Cynthia, just a clarification...Irving is WEST of Dallas.

Forrest Oliver more than 2 years ago


Good catch! Would you like a job as a proof reader? That has been corrected in the story.

John Astle (United Methodist Insight) more than 2 years ago

Very happy for her.

I'm sure she will do a great job.

Anonymous more than 2 years ago