Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) is delighted to announce that Rev. Liam Hooper has joined the RMN staff in the newly created role of Transgender Community Organizer.
Hailing from North Carolina, Liam has been involved in mental health counseling, program development, and professional training. He is the founder of GRASP (Gender Revisioning and Sexuality Pathways), which aims to improve the lives of trans people in the community through public education, advocacy, activism, and general support activities. As an openly trans man, Liam takes seriously the call to freely tell his story, to be as authentically who he is as possible, to engage in responsible education and advocacy, and to hear and respect the stories of others.
As transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) people are being targeted more than ever by the religious right, RMN recognizes the crucial role progressive faith communities can play in offering an alternative Christian approach that reflects God’s expansive love. Matt Berryman, executive director of RMN stated, “All too often, welcoming movements have fallen short of true inclusion by marginalizing our trans and GNC siblings. RMN wants to change that. Hiring Liam signals our commitment to centering transgender ministry and advocacy in the core of our organizational priorities.”
C. Kristian Clauser, chair of the United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion, recognizes this position as a vital means of ensuring a welcoming place for trans people within and beyond the church. “Rev. Hooper will provide a year-round, consistent focus on transgender ministry for RMN in a way that the volunteers of UMATI haven’t been able to on their own. His skills as an organizer, trainer, and pastor will be invaluable as we collaborate to share the good news that trans people are beloved children of God who are equally deserving of abundant life and justice in our churches and in society.”
Liam expresses his own excitement about the abundant possibilities of the transgender community organizer position. “I am interested in finding ways to connect a theology of transgender welcome, ministry, and advocacy to United Methodist and Wesleyan theology in an active way–meeting people, making connections and building relationships that offer nurturing support and fellowship to transgender persons and their loved ones. I see this work as central to the goal of providing tools, resources, support and strategies for creating meaningful inclusion of transgender people in our churches, communities, and common world.”