"Congregation embraces transgender minister as his secret is revealed,"
says the headline in the Portland Tribune.
On Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009, Rev. David Weekley (pictured with his wife, Deborah) – who leads the congregation at the Epworth United Methodist Church in the Sunnyside neighborhood in inner Southeast Portland – became the second openly transgender Methodist clergyman in the U.S.
Weekley, a married father of five in Southeast Portland and a Methodist clergyman of 25 years, revealed in his Sunday sermon that he was born female, but had sex reassignment surgery 35 years ago.
“One of the greatest ironies and pains is that the church is the place I’ve had to go back in the closet,” he says. “I’ve stood with colleagues who have said horrific things to me, and they don’t even know it.”
Following his story, the congregation, who had remained silent throughout his talk, broke into thunderous applause. Church members then proclaimed their support for their pastor.
Weekley says that he has, for the past 27 years, thought about switching to a church that is more accepting of his choices, but ultimately decided to stay loyal.
“There have been many times I’ve thought about walking away and considering a different denomination,” he says, “but my heart has always caused me to remain in the hope of effecting change...
“This really puts it all on the line,” Weekley says of his decision to share his news with his congregation and the world.
“I’m not leaving, I’m just coming out. I’m not walking away, but I’m not staying quiet and hidden anymore.”
Send a note of blessing and support to:
Rev. David Weekley
1333 S.E. 28th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214