The United Methodist Church has officially ordained its first transgender individual to the position of provisional deacon.
The Northern Illinois Conference on the evening of June 4 commissioned M Barclay, who serves as director of communications for the pro-LGBT advocacy group Reconciling Ministries Network.
“For so long, I’ve longed to be a pastoral presence in the world — and certainly you can do that without a collar — but we have ordination for a reason, and part of that is that I can publicly identify as a pastor now,” stated Barclay, according to the United Methodist News Service.
“I know it’s not particularly common in The United Methodist Church, but I intend to wear a collar every single day because for a person like me to navigate society in a collar provides some profound and urgently needed pastoral opportunities, particularly for queer and trans people.”
Barclay was among four individuals the Northern Illinois Conference commissioned as provisional deacon. The conference also commissioned eight individuals as provisional elders, ordained two as deacons and ordained six as elders. In addition, the conference commissioned 13 lay missioners.