Personal Statement Concerning Bishop Megan Rohrer 

I celebrated the election of Pastor Megan Rohrer as the first openly Transgendered bishop within the Church-at-Large, even though I had not voted for them. As the pastor of an open and affirming congregation that acted 25 years ago to stand alongside of brothers and sisters who were members of what was called the LGBT community at that time, I joyfully announced their election to my congregation on the Sunday following the Synod Assembly.

            Over the past year, however, many of the actions taken by Bishop Rohrer have caused me to assess what was taking place within the SPS. Something just wasn’t right. Admittedly, I was bothered by the (seemingly constant) seeking of personal publicity by Bishop Rohrer. I found nothing of value in their insipid Weekly Prayers or their banal Book Studies or their trite reports of where they worshipped on a weekly basis. But this was all stylistic and I realized that every SPS Bishop has brought a distinctive character to the office.

            Of more concern were the things I began hearing about actions taken by Bishop Rohrer during their tenure at Grace Lutheran Church and with regard to their current interactions with their staff and congregations (Mision Latina Luterana and others), as well as their handling of the allegations concerning Pastor Nelson Rabell-Gonzales.

            I must question why the actions of Pastor Rohrer, while at Grace Lutheran Church, were not disclosed to the Synod Assembly in 2021. I believe that if the actions and the subsequent court cases had been revealed it would have changed the outcome of the election for bishop. I think it highly possible, if not probable, that at least one member of the assembly would have switched their vote and we would have had another result.

            Beyond that, however, I think that the actions of Pastor Rohrer during their tenure at Grace Lutheran Church rise to a level that certainly calls for disciplinary action to be taken.

            As I have read increasingly about the actions taken against Pastor Rabell-Gonzales, as a result of allegations that do not appear to have ever been subjected to a proper disciplinary process, I have come to realize that there is an issue beyond Pastor Rabell-Gonzales’ guilt or innocence. The issue is the manner in which Bishop Rohrer managed this situation. Their actions disregarded staff advise, violated the sanctity of the Mision Latina Luterana congregation, and exhibited an attitude of white supremacy and racism which is unbelievable.

            I know that some will try to drag “red herrings” across this concern and that moot questions will be asked, but this situation is not about anything but the actions of Bishop Megan Rohrer. I passionately believe that the matter of Grace Lutheran Church should have been revealed at the previous Synod Assembly and that the actions of Megan Rohrer since being installed as SPS Bishop rise to the level of demanding disciplinary action.

            For the good of the church they must either resign or be removed from office, so that we can move beyond this situation and begin to wrestle with the systemic racism that affects our entire denomination.

 

Reverend John L. Freesemann

Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church

May 23, 2022

           

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