Progressive Catholic Group to Ordain Transgender Man

shannon KearnsThe 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. This will be a pioneering parish in Minnesota; one that combines the traditions of the church with progressive perspectives and embraces all people.

The ordination will take place at 3 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis. Bishop Benjamin Evans of the diocese of New Jersey will preside.

Evans said, “The North American Old Catholic Church looks forward to establishing a presence in Minneapolis with the ordination of Father 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. 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.

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.”

The North American Old Catholic church offers another avenue for Catholics who want ritual combined with progressive values.