The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America installed its first openly transgender bishop in a service held in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Saturday, according to US media reports.

As the Reverend Megan Rohrer is set to lead one of the church’s 65 synods and will be overseeing nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and northern Nevada. While the world still grapples with innumerable prejudices surrounding the LGBTQ community, the decision will come as a welcome change.

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“My call is … to be up to the same messy, loving things I was up to before,” Rohrer told worshippers, according to Associated Press inputs. “But mostly, if you’ll let me, and I think you will, my hope is to love you and beyond that, to love what you love.”

Rohrer, who uses the pronoun “they,” was elected in May to serve a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod after its current bishop announced his retirement.

“I step into this role because a diverse community of Lutherans in Northern California and Nevada prayerfully and thoughtfully voted to do a historic thing,” Rohrer said in a statement. “My installation will celebrate all that is possible when we trust God to shepherd us forward.”

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The Rev. Nicole Garcia, the first Latinx transgender pastor in the ELCA, will lead a listening session on Friday and Saturday, as well as a roller-skating event to raise funds for a youth camp and an ecumenical memorial service honouring the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

“The diverse events surrounding my installation point to a God who joins us in worship, on the streets, at our jobs, and when we roller-skate,” Rohrer said. “During all the difficulties we have encountered through the pandemic, it is more important than ever to celebrate joy, hope, and love everywhere that we find it.”

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Rohrer formerly served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco and as a chaplain coordinator for the police department, as well as ministering to the city’s homeless and LGBT communities. They earned bachelor’s degrees in religion from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, before relocating to Berkeley, California, to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees at the Pacific School of Religion.

After allowing pastors in same-sex partnerships to be ordained, Rohrer was one of seven LGBTQ pastors welcomed by the progressive Evangelical Lutheran church in 2010. Rohrer is a father of two children.

With about 3.3 million members, the church is one of the largest Christian groups in the United States.

With inputs from the Associated Press