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UPDATE: Trans Pastor Seeks $200K in Damages for Being Fired After Coming Out

The pastor spoke from Matthew 13—specifically focusing on the parable of the pearl of great price. She used this parable to say that Jesus told us the truth is costly. Then she went on to say that at a certain point not telling one’s truth becomes more of a burden than staying silent is. Her truth, she said, was that not only is she called to be a pastor, but also a woman:

Friends, with divine joy, of one finally getting her hands on a most precious pearl, I want you to hear me when I tell you that I’m not just supposed to be a pastor. I’m supposed to be a woman. Hi friends, hi family, my name is Junia, you can call me June. I’m a transgender woman and my pronouns are she and her.

She also explained that one of the reasons it took so long to come out to the congregation was that for a long time she thought her identity was sinful and that it would be too costly to speak the truth about herself. But eventually she came to the conclusion that “the only thing that costs us more than buying the treasure God creates for us to find is not buying it.” 

Addressing those who feel marginalized by the church, Joplin went on to say:

I am sorry for the times that you have been lied to about who you are in the eyes of God. I’m sorry for the times that you have been told that who you are is sinful or broken—whether it’s some raving fundamentalist in a suit and tie or his kinder, gentler counterpart in jeans and sneakers at the hip church that meets in the movie theater. Those words are not true. They are deceitful and evil and we have already lost too many siblings to that deadly theology.

Lorne Park Baptist Church’s Response to Joplin’s Transition

CTV received a statement from Lorne Park Baptist Church, which indicated they believe it God’s will for Joplin to move on from their church: 

The Church has journeyed for the past month through a process of attempting to discern God’s will resulting from June’s announcement of June 14, 2020 that she is a transgender woman…After a month of prayerful discernment and discussions between June and the congregation, it was determined, for theological reasons, that it is not in God’s will that June remain as our pastor. We wish June God’s grace and peace as she departs from us.

Again speaking to CTV, Joplin said “folks are kind of all over the place” in their response to her announcement. However, she hasn’t preached since that fateful sermon. Joplin said she feels disconnected from the church and missing the fellowship she once enjoyed. There are people, she says, she’s afraid “I’ll never hear from again.” She went on to say, “I wish some of those people were at least more eager to say ‘Hey, let’s talk about this, even if I didn’t vote the way you wanted to.’”

Some in the church have supported Joplin and her decision to transition. A lot of people from the broader community and world, Joplin says on her Twitter account, have been very supportive.

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Megan Briggs is a writer and editor for churchleaders.com. Her experience in ministry, an extensive amount of which was garnered overseas, gives her a unique perspective on the global church. She has the longsuffering and altruistic nature of foreign friends and missionaries to humbly thank for this experience. Megan is passionate about seeking and proclaiming the truth. When she’s not writing, Megan likes to explore God’s magnificent creation.