Peace Lutheran Church welcomes history-making bishop-elect
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will celebrate its first openly transgender bishop with the historic installation of the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer as head of the regional Sierra Pacific Synod.
The synod includes nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and Northern Nevada. Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley will participate in celebrations throughout the synod by watching the live ceremony remotely at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the church at 828 W. Main St., near downtown. The public is invited. To join the viewing, email email@example.com. Masks will be required of all attendees, and the church will take other COVID-19 precautions.
Rohrer was elected at a synod assembly on May 8, and is the first openly transgender person elected to that post in any mainline Christian denomination.
Rohrer has a heart for community outreach and healing, having spent their first 12 years of ministry running a homeless church in San Francisco. Participating in a night ministry and delivering food to the hungry has given them a first-hand experience of hardcore hardship, Rohrer said. Since 2017, Rohrer also has served as a chaplain for the San Francisco Police Department, providing pastoral support to victims and their families.
During their next six years of leadership, Rohrer will also focus on racial justice. They envision the synod as a resource center for congregations, and will be thinking of more ways to interact and work together on topics such as homelessness, food insecurity and diversity.
Another of the bishop-elect’s goals is to work with congregations to improve building features to ease access for people with disabilities, noting that even such simple things as door knobs can be difficult for arthritic hands. “We need to be diverse, caring for all bodies and all kinds of families,” Rohrer said.
On Aug. 15, braving smoke and flames, Bishop-elect Rohrer visited the fire-impacted Lutheran congregations of Quincy, Paradise and Grass Valley.
During a gathering at Peace, Rohrer told of visiting Quincy, which has been ravaged by the on-going Dixie Fire. The bishop-elect found people hunkered down and living in tents in a literal ring of fire. Rohrer delivered gift cards from Lutheran Social Services and offered pastoral aid to those struggling. Some may never live in a home again, not knowing whether school will start, whether they will have a town or what to do next, Rohrer said. In their visit to Paradise, Rohrer found people still attempting to rebuild three years after the Camp Fire.
Fires such as these and other disasters inspired a vision, Rohrer said, for a corps of Lutheran chaplains, trained in advance, whom the synod can send to offer pastoral care in emergencies.
Rohrer grew up in a small town in South Dakota, is married and has two children, ages 7 and 8. The children, who are Black, are especially excited about the involvement of Peace and the Sierra Pacific Synod with the Lutheran Church in Rwanda. Their family plans to travel there when it is safe to do so, Rohrer said.
For more about Peace Lutheran Church and its service to the community, call 530-274-9631 or visit http://www.PeaceLutheranGV.org.
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