This is how a transgender Baptist pastor bravely shared her ‘big, risky truth’ with her church
Canadian Baptist pastor Junia Joplin came out to her church as a transgender woman, and her sermon on embracing the truth will give you shivers.
Joplin, the lead pastor at Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario, came out as transgender to her congregation in a sermon delivered via Zoom this month.
The sermon focused on truth-telling, and she said it was a value that had been instilled in her by a professor in seminary school.
At the end, she shared her own truth: “I want you to hear me when I tell you I’m not just supposed to be just a pastor. I’m supposed to be a woman.
“Hi, friends. Hi, family. My name is Junia Joplin. You can call me June.
“I am a transgender woman and my pronouns are she and her. That’s the treasure, folks. That’s the truth that I can’t help but speak.”
She added: “I realise, of course, that I might be taking an enormous risk here… It’s scary, but I read some place that ‘love casts out fear’.”
The transgender pastor said that now she had come out, she specifically had a message for her queer siblings, in her “family of faith and beyond”.
I am sorry for the times that you have been lied to about who you are in the eyes of God.
Becoming tearful, Junia Joplin said: “I see you. You’re not alone. As an ordained minister of the gospel, as someone upon whom the church has laid hands and said ‘you can speak for us’, I want you to hear me say that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
“Beautifully made in God’s image. A perfect reflection of God’s matchless creativity, no matter your orientation or gender. And I want you to hear me say that God delights in you, and feels pure joy for you having discovered your treasured identity.
“I am sorry for the times that you have been lied to about who you are in the eyes of God.
“I’m sorry for the times that you have been told that who you are is sinful or broken, whether it’s some raving fundamentalist in a suit a tie or his kinder, gentler counterpart in jeans and sneakers at the hip church that meets in the movie theatre.
“Those words are not true. They are deceitful, and evil, and we have already lost too many siblings to that deadly theology.”
I believe in a God who calls you a beloved daughter, even when your parents insist that you’ll always be their son.
She added: “In particular, I want to proclaim to my transgender siblings that I believe in a God who knows your name, even if that name hasn’t been chosen yet.
“I believe in a God who calls you a beloved daughter, even when your parents insist that you’ll always be their son.
“I believe in a God who blesses you and gives you a home, even if you’re not welcome in the place that you used to call home.
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“A God whose relentless creativity invites you to become who you were created to be, even if you have to risk everything to do it.”
“Before [the sermon], that was probably the scariest thing that I’d ever done because saying that out loud to another human being for the first time ever is just, it’s scary,” she told told CBC Toronto.
Afterwards, she said, her eldest son hugged her while she cried. Joplin said: “It was such a tender moment. There’s a sense of release, there’s a sense of being kind of liberated from a burden that was so profound.”
Joplin said that most people, both her family and friends and her congregation, responded to her coming out with an outpouring of love and support.