Leading Trans/Nonbinary/2Spirit: Living Resurrected Lives

“Marked As Christ’s Own Forever:” Living Resurrected Lives is a leadership retreat for trans and non-binary clergy of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. The first of its kind, 15 clergy gathered in January 2024 for networking and support. This leadership retreat will focus on community building, networking, and respite. Embracing the gifts we bring to the Church, we hope to generate collaborative teams whose work will not only springboard the next such gathering but also contribute to the transformation of the Church.

This Clergy Retreat was the first of its kind in the history of the Anglican Communion. However, building on the work of Leading Women we feel positive about the effectiveness of what we do. Leading Women has developed women clergy to serve as bishops, canons, deans, and cardinal rectors in the church by organizing gathers of women priest and providing them with tools needed for their growth as leaders. That growth has benefited the entire church.  We employed similar models drawn from the experience-born wisdom of their work.

Some reviews of the retreat:

“This event fed something in me I didn’t know was hungry. I was aware other trans clergy existed, but I’d never met them. I don’t want to be the first, or a trailblazer or anything; I want to be part of a community. This event helped show me that I was, that I was part of a larger and joyful tradition. I’m so happy to have met these sibling clergy.”

“I needed this, I needed this, oh, how I needed this. Especially at a time I am healing from experiences over the past several years as a non-binary person in the church, and as a non-binary rector serving a church in which my identity was a constant source of contention (blatant or latent), this gathering of colleagues was essential. In no other setting can I be myself without editing what I say, teaching others, explaining things, omitting parts of myself, etc. At this event I could just be. I could just be. The value of making space for that cannot be overstated.”

“This was such a life-giving experience of gathering in a world and time where so much life is being taken away, forced out, isolated, and lost.”

“Finding community, support, and seeing ourselves as gifts can be difficult and this event provided me with all of these things. It also left us with a network of other supportive folks to lean on in the future. It is such a blessing.”

“I came to this space with a lot of questions about how I fit into the structure of the Church. I didn’t magically gain answers, but I gained something much more valuable. I gained language to be able to talk about my experiences. I gained friendships with people who understood where I was coming from. I gained a community of support.”

“I was so moved to spend time with fellow trans, non-binary, and two spirit clergy this weekend. I felt like I could relax and really be myself, connecting with others who share a rare range of identities and experiences in the Church. I also appreciated the opportunity to contemplate how we are uniquely called in this time and to strategize about how to further open the Church, especially as the trans community faces persistent attacks across the country.”

“I finally found “my people.” As a transgender clergy person, I sometimes feel on the outside, even though I’m fully accepted by my diocese and the parish I serve. It was freeing to be able to share my life story without having to explain any aspect of it, both from the transgender and Christian experience and point of view. ”