November 19, 2015

Wesley Seminary Students Commemorate “Transgender Day of Remembrance”

Students at United Methodist-affiliated Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC gathered Thursday for a special service to commemorate the lives of persons who identify as transgender.

The noontime “Transgender Day of Remembrance” service held November 19 at Wesley’s Oxnam chapel was sponsored by Of Sacred Worth, a student organization established to promote understanding of LGBTQ people in the church.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance is more than just a memorial. It raises public awareness of hatred and violence against those in our transgender community, which often the media suppresses,” a speaker introduced. “It publicly mourns and honors the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten, giving their silent lives new voices. It is an opportunity to meet hatred and indifference with love and respect. It offers us all an opportunity to stand together and say ‘no more.’”

During the time of communion, the approximately 40 participants were invited to light a candle “as a visible expression of prayer and memorial for those who have died”.

“Today, we remember our siblings lost at the hands of hatred, evil and violence because of their gender identity and expression,” read a student prayer leader. “Today we restore anew our commitment to protect, support and remember our transgender siblings.”

The scripture reading for the service came from Isaiah Chapter 56: “Preserve justice and do righteousness, for liberation is about to come and justice will be revealed. How blessed is the one who does this and the one that takes hold of it.” The reading continues with God’s promises to eunuchs, which LGBTQ activists conflate with persons who identify as transgender.

“God of transformations, set us free to change and grow,” read the prayer leader. “We rejoice in the lives of our transgender siblings: different, strong, dynamic and loved.”

During the communion liturgy, Wesley Professor and Episcopal Priest Sathianathan Clarke proclaimed: “It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, O Father and Mother, creator of all things old, new and in transition.”

“Even though we proclaim that Christ was sacrificed once for all, we seem to need and want victims of sacrifice,” Clarke lamented. “We ‘other’ people so that in some way they are dishonored and then we kill them so that in some way the logic of sacrifice will prevail.”

Clarke invited the congregation into a time of mourning the deaths of “those who wish to pursue the calling of sexuality that God has called them to” and to repent of “a refusal to accept difference, knowing that in the end, all difference is honored by God.”

Reciting the names of transgender persons lost to violence over the past year, Clarke named them “living beacons” of God’s “unending love here on earth.” During the administration of communion, a slideshow projected the images of persons who had died in the United States and Latin America, believed to have been killed for their transgender identity.

As the service concluded, participants prayed “God, we thank you that you have given us all a place to call home and that you have been with us on our journeys. Bring us even closer to you,” before departing in silence.


23 Responses to Wesley Seminary Students Commemorate “Transgender Day of Remembrance”

  1. Namyriah says:

    “O Father and Mother.”
    I’m tolerant of someone whose religion is not Christianity, but isn’t this person getting paid a salary as a Christian professor.

    • Mike Ward says:

      He should have said, “O Parent.” He’s discriminating against all of those of don’t identify as male or female. He should be sent to a reeducation camp.

      • Paul Zesewitz says:

        I am offended by prayers to a Father/ Mother God. Nowhere in the Bible is God addressed as ‘Mother’. But I have no problems with gender-neutral ones. He should have simply rendered it, “…….give thanks to You, O God, Creator of all things old, new and in transition….”

  2. Dan says:

    Coming soon to a UMC church near you, maybe your church, one of these batty seminary graduates. What say do you have in this? Why none, you’re a UMC congregation so you get what the bishop gives you. Now shut up and pay all your apportionments so stuff like this can continue to be fully funded.

  3. S.Garland says:

    So very sad that they have departed so much from traditional orthodoxy. Who will be the salt when it has lost its savor and the so called people of faith are as worldly as the world.

  4. That Guy says:

    Sounds like an inspired service, wish I could have attended to mourn for our lost brothers and sisters.

  5. Mike Ward says:

    “those who wish to pursue the calling of sexuality that God has called them to”

    From the whatever you desire it is God calling you to do it school of theology.

    • AndRebecca says:

      You sound like an Islamist hearing Allah calling him to cut off a head or rape the nearest woman. The God of the Bible is way more picky in His callings.

  6. Melissa Windom says:

    Honestly, this man’s statements are just slanderous. He claims that “we” Christians are killing transgendered people? How can a chapel full of people who claim to be Christian sit still while someone proclaims such a blatant lie? Have we reached a point in our culture where Christians have become the scapegoats for every crime?

  7. HarrisonWellsII says:

    Huh. From the sounds of it a moving service that mourns the lives lost to senseless violence, if only we could do things like this more often.

  8. Marla Hughes says:

    One problem with that is that there is no differentiation between men dressing as women because they hate women. Those types of ‘transgenders’ rape and even kill women due to their hatred. It is a group w/in the transgendered movement and we, as Christians, at least should recognize and differentiate between the victim and the perpetrator.

    • Erin Swenson says:

      As a Presbyterian minister and a longtime member of the transgender community I take issue with your claim that there are people in the transgender community “dressing as women because they hate women.” I have moved within the transgender community across our country and in the UK for over two decades, and I have not once met someone in our community who could even remotely be described in this way. Please check facts before making assertions like this.

      • Marla Hughes says:

        You should check with some of the leaders in the feminist movement. Or, just check the most recent headlines. 52 year old man claiming to be a 6 year old girl, being adopted by a couple, his new ‘daddy’ having anal sex with him and still letting him play with their little granddaughter. He’s supposed to be a leader in the transsexual community. That’s just one. There’s plenty more.

      • Semp says:

        Your actual name is Eric, not Erin. Lying about one’s identity is very dishonest, and is very unbefitting a Christian minister. Christians are to be people of truth, not falsehood. We are not called to play along with people’s peculiar delusions. A man who dresses as a woman and insists that we refer to him as a woman is asking Christians to do something that is not right. Having surgery and getting shot full of hormones does not change a man into a woman, any more than botox and facelifts turn an old person into a young one. It is very wrong – downright evil, in fact – to use the Christian church as a tool in one’s fantasy world.

  9. Pastorsmate says:

    God help us all.

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