Non-binary person becomes Methodist Church deacon

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On Sunday (4 June) M Barclay was commissioned by Bishop Sally Dyck at the Northern Illinois Conference. It was the goal of their life and they worked for 12 years to be appointed. They are the first non-binary trans member of the United Methodist Church to become a member of the clergy. Barclay grew up in a conservative community in Pensacola, Florida, and told the Washington Post they identified as a straight woman when they made the decision to enter ministry. In 2005, they started at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas.After about a year of reading theology, including feminist and queer theology, Barclay came out as a lesbian woman and was afraid it might affect their further theological career. Following seminary Barclay worked as the youth director at a United Methodist church in Austin, where they gave sermons and continued to participate in worship. And they realized they still wanted to be ordained. In 2012, they decided to pursue ordination in Texas.They left Austin for Chicago, where they worked for Reconciling Ministries Network who work for the inclusion of trans and gender-nonconforming people in the church. There, Barclay came out as trans. But something else happened, too: their candidacy for the clergy was approved. Now that they have been officially commissioned, Barclay enters a two-year provisional period. If they pass, they will be ordained in 2019. And although United Methodist Church clergy are not required to wear their collar at all times, Barclay intends to do so.

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