Saturday, April 25

Third Lutheran Church's sanctuary ordains " Steven Renner "first gay, partnered pastor

A couple of hundred people lined the pews on a rainy Saturday to witness a day Steven Renner thought "would never happen."
The congregation stood, facing the back of Third Lutheran Church's sanctuary, where a rainbow tapestry with the words "grace," "Word" and "faith" hung above the baptismal font.
Worship attendants and visiting clergy robed in white entered, with Renner — who would become
the first partnered gay man to be ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Indiana-Kentucky Synod, which represents the two states — at the end of the procession. At the front of the sanctuary, he took a seat before the alter, to the right of his husband and partner of nearly 21 years, Sean Patrick.
On that afternoon, as Patrick placed a stole around his husband's neck, Renner, 52, of Clifton, became the pastor of Third Lutheran, a church he affectionately described in an interview as the "Third Lutheran Church of the Misfit Toys."
The diverse congregation — made of folks young and old, all sexual orientations, all socio-economic backgrounds and all ethnicities — has accepted both him and his partner.
"Really, I think that every church should be the church of the misfit toys," he said.
As a kid growing up in northeastern Ohio, the thought of becoming a Lutheran pastor was a recurring presence, Renner said.

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