- A church welcomed their transgender pastor with open arms on Sunday
- Where the reverend underwent a renaming ceremony
- Congregants called the renaming service beautiful and called on others to stop the hate
On Sunday congregants at St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoboken witnessed the renaming of their pastor, who was renamed to Peter.
It was the church’s way to acknowledge and bless their pastor, who underwent gender transition since summer last year.
Rev. Peter R. Beeson told HuffPost it was important for congregants to demonstrate the “expansiveness of God’s compassion.”
Beeson said the renaming ceremony was a way to show there were faithful Christians who supported the LGBTQ+ community.
He added they wanted to show people, who may be pondering their gender identity or sexual orientation, that God loves them and all people were created in the image of God.
Briefly.co.za gathered halfway through the Church’s service on Sunday, Beeson and the New Jersey Synod’s bishop, Tracie Bartholomew moved over to the baptismal font, where the renaming ceremony took place.
Bartholomew pointed out how God changed people’s names in the Bible, which was then followed by a church leader asking the congregation questions about backing Beeson in his transition.
After successfully answering all questions, the congregation welcomed Beeson into the Christian community.
According to a church council member, Daniel Stoll, there was three times more people attending the service. Stoll continued by calling the renaming ceremony beautiful.
However, Stoll said not everyone was as accepting as the congregants. He said churchgoers received a lot of backlash online.
Stoll then called on all Christians to stop judging for God, adding that “Jesus teaches us to love every individual. The hate has to stop.”
Beeson said he grew up in a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian home, where his parents often had missionaries stay over at the family home.
But, after coming out as queer in high school, Beeson struggled with his faith. He said after breaking away from his Christian upbringing for a couple of years, he was drawn back by the Holy Spirit.
He joined an inclusive ELCA congregation in Phoenix, a domination known to support the LGBTQ+ community.
“With time, I fell in love with the Lutheran emphasis on grace and divine action ― that means God finds us, rather than the fundamentalist interpretation that we have to find or earn God’s forgiveness by being holy,” Beeson said.
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