A year ago, the Rev. Ann Gordon received her routine reappointment as minister of a Charles Village Methodist congregation.
Yesterday – after undergoing a sex-change operation and taking on a new symbolic name – the Rev. Drew Phoenix received another one-year contract to head St. John’s United Methodist Church.
“This is about more than me,” Phoenix said after the decision by the bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. “This is about people who come after me, about young people in particular who are struggling with their gender identity. I’m doing this for them.”
The decision came after a 2 1/2 -hour closed meeting with Methodist clergy, as well an emotional open session with about 1,600 clergy and laypeople gathered in Washington. While Methodists do not permit non-celibate gay clergy, no rules deal with transgendered ministers.
“I am here to say today that as of July 1 Reverend Phoenix will be reappointed to the St. John’s congregation,” Bishop John R. Schol told the conference, which represents nearly 700 churches in Washington, central and eastern Maryland, and parts of West Virginia.