Praise the Lord!
Greenpoint Reformed Church pastor Ann Kansfield went outside her own denomination to become an ordained minister on Sunday after her church’s heirachy rejected her bid because she is gay.
More than 300 Greenpoint congregants and residents celebrated Kansfield’s ecclesiastical appointment at the Milton Street church where she and her partner, Jennifer Aull, have ministered since 2004.
Kansfeld said her ordination by the United Church of Christ after she was rejected by her own Reformed Church of America gave her a sense of “gravitas and confidence” in the work she had been doing.
“I am truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful community and it meant so much to have people from all corners of my life and my ministry participate in my ordination,” said Kansfield. “I will continue to welcome people into the life of the congregation, teach about the Scriptures and feed our hungry neighbors.”
But this was no ordinary ordination.
The Reformed Church of America denied Kansfield’s application to become a reverend in 2006 because its leaders refuse to recognize homosexual clergy within the church.
Two years earlier, the Synod suspended Kansfield’s father, a seminary president, for officiating at his daughter’s gay marriage.
But Pastor, now Rev., Kansfield was never barred from ministering at her Greenpoint church because its congregation stood behind her.
The move across denominational lines is unusual, but not uncommon. The United Church of Christ and Reformed Church, both Protestant denominations, have shared a communal relationship for nearly two decades, allowing gay pastors to become ordained throughout the country without truly leaving their church. Aull was ordained in this manner in 2007.
Old First Reformed Church pastor Daniel Meeter, one of several Reformed ministers in attendance, said it was not likely the conservative hierarchy would protest Kansfield’s ordination because it “does not go after people.”
“The Reformed Church is not political — they wouldn’t ordain her, but once she’s there, they’ll say, ‘Let not make any trouble,’ ” said Meeter.
But Kansfield’s ordination struck a political note as Gov. Cuomo introduces his same-sex marriage bill this week.
Her new title allows her to officiate weddings and sign marriage licenses, as well as preside over communion and baptisms among her Protestant congregants — and she vowed to officiate “any and all” same-sex weddings in the city.
Greenpoint resident Jennifer Galatioto attended the ceremony Sunday to show support for Kansfield’s leadership in Brooklyn’s gay and lesbian community and for Kansfield’s guidance as a positive role model in her life.
“The church doors are always open for everyone,” said Galatioto. “She is open to the creative community in Greenpoint. You can ask Ann almost anything and she says, ‘Yes!’ ”