B2 300x225 Progressive Catholic Group to ordain transgender man to the PriesthoodAlong with covering Christian carnage, I have the privilege of sharing the good news when religious folks truly welcome all. Following is a press release that filled me with hope when it hit my inbox.

The North American Old Catholic Church, one of the largest Old Catholic bodies in the United States, announces the ordination of Shannon T.L. Kearns to the priesthood on January 19, 2013. Shannon will be tasked with starting a new parish (House of the Transfiguration) in Minneapolis after his ordination. He also works with Camp Osiris which according to Shannon helps folks uncover the revolutionary, queer power of the Bible and equips them to be change makers in their own communities. For so long the Bible has been a tool of oppression instead of power for queer folks. We want to see that change. At Camp you’ll experience new ways to read the Bible, be in community with other queer Christians, and be equipped to make the changes you want to see in your homes, churches, and communities.

Shannon has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and transitioned while he was in seminary. He says, “I am honored and humbled to have my calling to ministry affirmed by the NAOCC. I look forward to many years serving as a priest.”

The ordination will take place at 3:00pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis, MN, 55403. Bishop Benjamin Evans of the diocese of New Jersey will be presiding. He says, “The North American Old Catholic Church looks forward to establishing a presence in Minneapolis with the ordination of Fr Kearns. God’s Holy Spirit continues to bless us with growth!” The North American Old Catholic Church is a progressive Catholic tradition that welcomes all people. They ordain women, LGBTQ folks, married and partnered people, and those who have been divorced. They are focused on social justice and developing new parishes.

Minnesota has seen much vitriol come from the office of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic church around gay and lesbian issues. The North American Old Catholic church offers another avenue for Catholics who want ritual combined with progressive values.

The photo of the Shannon T.L. Kearns and Archbishop Michael V. Seneco, SPSA during Kearn’s ordination to the diaconate which was held as part of the 2012 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference.