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A trans pastor came out to her congregation in a beautiful sermon. Her congregation just voted to boot her out

Lily Wakefield July 23, 2020
trans pastor Junia Joplin

Junia Joplin was fired by her church from her role as lead pastor after she came out as trans. (CTV News)

Canadian Baptist pastor Junia Joplin came out to her church as a trans woman in an incredibly moving sermon. Shortly afterwards, they voted to fire her.

Joplin, the lead pastor at Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario, came out as transgender to her congregation in a beautiful sermon on truth-telling delivered via Zoom last month.

Sharing her own truth, she said: “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’.”

Sadly, on Tuesday, July 21, Joplin revealed that love had not been enough to cast out transphobia among her congregation.

She wrote on Twitter: “Hi friends. Yesterday the members of Lorne Park Baptist Church voted to fire me. The vote went 58-53 in favour of termination.” 

The trans pastor told CTV News: “I believed that the vote would be close. I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, I was nervous that that might be the result.

“A wonderful friend took me out to dinner just to keep my mind off what might be going on.

“I had a cry but I tried to almost immediately start thinking about what comes next.”

She added: “There are people that I love a lot, who haven’t come along with me on this journey, who I’m afraid I’ll actually never hear from again. That is kind of heartbreaking.

“I wish that some of those people were more eager to at least say, ‘Hey, let’s talk about this, even if I didn’t vote the way you wanted [me] to, let’s talk anyway.'”

Junia Joplin said on Twitter that the night after the vote she “only slept about 90 minutes”, but that it was “not for dread or anxiety, but out of eager anticipation over entering the next chapter of my life”.

“I don’t know where I’ll land next, but I know I’ll land as my authentic self,” she wrote.

“I don’t what else to say at the moment, other than thank you for the overwhelming support, love, and grace so many of you have shown.

“I’m not keeping a tally, but I know there are far, far more of you out there than 58. And there will be more of us tomorrow.”

In her coming out sermon, the newly out trans pastor specifically sent a message for her queer siblings, in her “family of faith and beyond”.

She tearfully told them: “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.”

More: coming out, Junia Joplin, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, ontario, Trans, trans pastor

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