The North American Old Catholic Church, one of the largest Old Catholic bodies in the United States, will ordain Shannon T.L. Kearns to the priesthood on January 19, 2013. Kearns, who is a transgender man, will be tasked with starting a new Minneapolis parish, House of the Transfiguration, after his ordination.
The North American Old Catholic Church is a progressive Catholic tradition that welcomes all people. This church ordains women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, married and partnered people, and those who have been divorced. The North American Old Catholic Church focuses on social justice and developing new parishes. The church offers another avenue for Catholics who want ritual combined with progressive values.
Kearns has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. While in seminary he transitioned from female to male. Kearns says, “I am honored and humbled to have my calling to ministry affirmed by the North American Old Catholic Church. I look forward to many years serving as a priest.”
Kearns is also co-founder of Camp Osiris, a ministry of the North American Old Catholic Church, which is "dedicated to uncovering the revolutionary queer power of the bible and the Christian faith." Camp Osiris hosts a retreat experience each summer for queer and/or trans* people and allies who want a safe space to discuss their faith and their identities.
Kearns' ordination reflects the North American Old Catholic Church's commitment to LGBT inlcusion. The Church's statements of faith and belief affirm gender diversity as a "blessed part of life," and the Church advocates for the full inclusion of LGBT persons throughout society.
Photo via the House of the Transfiguration