An ordination inside a Methodist church in Illinois was nothing but ordinary aside from the fact that a Transgender is being commissioned as a deacon. Rev. M Barclay becomes the first non-binary trans pastor of the United Methodist Church on June 4 after 12 years of leading a religious life.

'I understand the rules of the church'

The newly-appointed deacon, who uses the pronoun "they," was raised by a conservative family in Florida. Barclay entered the ministry as a straight woman before she initially outed as a lesbian woman. They admitted it was a struggle to decide whether to stay in the church, considering the church's view of the minorities.

The transperson admitted they were hesitant to join a community that treats the LGBT and marginalized people unfairly. Despite the uncertainty, Barclay completed the seminary and led a Methodist church in Austin where they served as the youth director. Over the course of giving sermons and attending worship services, they realized that they wanted to be ordained. Although they acknowledged the rules of the Church, Barclay also recognized the calling to pursue ordination.

Barclay was initially approved for the ordination despite being in a relationship with another woman at that time. However, the next board reportedly refused to meet the candidate for the second phase of the process. They added there was even a discussion among 400 clergy on "whether or not they could prove [they were] having sex."

The transgender person eventually did not get the approval and decided to move to Chicago where they earned a position at the Reconciling Ministries Network under the United Methodist Church.

Barclay got approved as a candidate for clergy and finally ordained this month.

UMC on homosexuality

According to the denomination's "Homosexuality: Full book of Discipline statements," all persons regardless of their status, race, and origin are welcome to join the community. It, however, emphasized that the denomination does not condone the practice of homosexuality.

Hence, "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" will not be ordained nor appointed to serve any United Methodist church.

Despite their take on homosexuality, some leaders of the denomination questioned the ordination of Rev. M Barclay, stating that it was untimely for the Northern Illinois Annual Conference to commission a non-binary trans person without taking into consideration the "present state of knowledge" of UMC members.

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