Reconciling Ministries Network
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PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

June 3, 2019

First Openly LGBTQ United Methodist Elder in the South Ordained

Rev. Jane Graner Ordained by Bishop Mike McKee in North Texas

CHICAGO, IL – This evening, Rev. Jane Graner became the first out LGBTQ clergy-person to be ordained as a full Elder of The United Methodist Church from the South: the Southeast and South Central Jurisdictions. Recommended by the Board of Ordained Ministry for ordination on March 25, 2019, Rev. Graner was then recommended by the clergy session on May 13, 2019. Her ordination is especially meaningful given the existing discriminatory language of The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, which forbids the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life and ministry of the Church and bars LGBTQ persons from ordination.

For the past six years, Rev. Graner has served Oak Haven UMC in Irving, TX whose English Speaking Worship Service was the 1,001st Reconciling Community to affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network. Beginning July 1, 2019, Rev. Graner will begin her appointment as the senior pastor of Trinity UMC in Duncanville, TX.

Rev. Graner knows Bishop McKee not only as her Bishop but also as her former youth director. As a seminary student, Mike McKee served as Jane’s junior high youth director at Richland Hills UMC in Fort Worth (since renamed). She has fond memories of her youth ministry experiences.  

Rev. Graner received her call to ministry while in high school. “It coincided with my realization that I was gay. I felt that God could use my struggle to help others in their spiritual journeys. In other words, I felt called to pastoral ministry not in spite of being gay, but precisely because I was gay. I received my call in 1979 and graduated from seminary in 1996. It is now 2019. This is how long it has taken for this dream to materialize, but in all this time God has never abandoned me.”

In the midst of turmoil in The UMC, Rev. Graner has “high hopes for the future of the people called Methodist.” She says, “What I am learning to do is to let go of what I think that future should look like. I was devastated when the One Church Plan failed at General Conference, but since then, I have seen the Holy Spirit at work in this church like I have never seen before. We hit rock bottom, and then the Holy Spirit woke us up! I see now that I am being ordained at the exact right moment in history. ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes (Ps. 118:23).’”

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Living into its shared baptismal covenant, Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression as we seek justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. RMN envisions a renewed and vibrant  Wesleyan movement that is biblically and theologically centered. As committed disciples of Jesus Christ, RMN strives to transform the world by living out the Gospel’s teachings of grace, love, justice, and inclusion for all of God’s children.

For more information, contact:

Ophelia Hu Kinney, Communications Specialist
Reconciling Ministries Network
Email: ophelia@rmnetwork.org

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