“My message to every trans and gender non-conforming person is this: God is love and you were made in the image of perfect Love. There is space for you in this world. There is space at your church, in your desired career, in your family, on sports teams…and it is time to take your space. Show up! In large number or in small…your presence is valued and necessary. So what, they stare or ask questions, answer them. Look them in the eyes proudly with your beautiful, handsome, artsy, brilliant, capable, transgender self. Claim your space. Rearrange the seating to make room at the table. Correct people when they use the wrong pronouns. Hang up your own sign on the bathroom door. Tell them who you are and who you are not. Be bold. No one is going to understand what they cannot see, cannot hear or cannot know. ” -Rev Lawrence T, Richardson, 2013
One of the best things about being a advocate over 20 years is that you get to meet some amazing people along the way.
I met Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson during a BTAC conference back in 2013, and saw him again during my recent April trip to Minneapolis and on the University of Minnesota campus.
For the last five years he has been the associate pastor at Linden Hills United Church of Christ in Minneapolis under the Rev Eliot Howard, who has been the senior pastor at Linden Hills UCC for the last 26 years.
Rev Howard, along with everyone else Rev. Lawrence has encountered, has recognized that he is an amazing leader who is well respected not only in the local and national faith communities, but in the trans one as well.
Rev. Howard has decided to retire, and in an overwhelming affirmative vote by the membership of Linden Hills on October 27, chose Rev Richardson to be their next leader. It makes him the first out Black trans cleric in his home state of Minnesota
Rev Richardson is excited about the new opportunity, and one of his his missions will be to have Linden Hills UCC continue to be a welcoming church community, just as it was when he encountered it.
Congratulations Rev. Richardson! I’m extremely proud of you and the history you’re making! I hope that I’ll get a chance to visit Linden Hills the next time my travels bring me to the Twin Cities.