Home Christian News ELCA Presiding Bishop Requests Resignation of First Transgender Bishop

ELCA Presiding Bishop Requests Resignation of First Transgender Bishop

The three-person listening team also released a statement over the weekend saying Eaton’s decisions “totally disregard the heart and intent of our report.”

“We do not want it to be supposed that our work is aligned with or supports the proposed actions,” it said.

The listening team criticized Eaton for never once mentioning racism in her report. It urged the presiding bishop to make its findings public, saying it concluded “racist words and actions caused trauma and great pain to many people of color” in the Sierra Pacific Synod.

“To characterize racist actions as simply ‘insensitive’ or ‘misguided’ is to validate the charge against the ELCA that we are blind to the pain we cause our siblings of color. When we do not name and confess the sin of racism in our institutions, we are doomed to continue in its power,” according to the listening team’s statement.

Rohrer directed RNS to a spokesperson for the Sierra Pacific Synod for comment late Friday afternoon. The spokesperson did not immediately respond.

During the 2021 synod assembly, where he was nominated for bishop, Rabell-González acknowledged allegations against him, saying he was accused of “verbally mistreating a pastoral intern and members of the church staff” in a previous position at a different church. The pastor, who is Afro-Caribbean, said he had been asked to resign from that church and sign a nondisclosure agreement, which he declined, after members complained about his support for Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights.

He welcomed an investigation into the allegations, he told the synod assembly.

“I am not perfect. I’m just a sinner in need of God’s grace. But these allegations are a character assassination brought up exactly one day before this assembly,” he said.

In the end, Rohrer was elected bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod. The synod council created an advisory council to look into the allegations against Rabell-González and identified “compassionate steps” for him to take, which became part of the terms and requirements of his call, according to the council’s statement on the Sierra Pacific Synod blog.

Rabell-González informed Rohrer on Dec. 9 he would not fulfill those terms and requirements, according to the council, which took action Dec. 11 at its regular meeting.

The pastor was told the next morning, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that his call had been vacated, it said. His congregation at Misión Latina Luterana was informed afterward and offered care by synod staff.

The synod council statement said the timing of its decision was necessary because synod staff continued to receive “communications of concern” regarding the pastor.