in ,

Pastor Ousted From Church By Congregation After She Came Out as Transgender in Zoom Sermon

Pastor June/YouTube
  1. A Canadian Baptist pastor thought she was sharing an inspiring word when she delivered her congregation a Zoom sermon in which she came out as transgender.

Instead, her congregation voted to fire her a month later.

Junia Joplin, pastor of Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada had centered her sermon around the idea of truth-telling and thought her personal example a perfect way to illustrate her point.

But her congregants disagreed, and voted her out by a narrow five-congregant margin. 

Speaking to Canada’s CTV News, Joplin said she was saddened but not surprised by the outcome.

“I believed that the vote would be close. I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, I was nervous that that might be the result.”

She added that she sensed she may have permanently lost relationships with some parishioners.

“There are people that I love a lot, who haven’t come along with me on this journey, who I’m afraid I’ll actually never hear from again. That is kind of heartbreaking.”

Joplin delivered the sermon in June, which is recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month in countries all over the world, including Canada.

In the sermon, Joplin directly addressed the risk she was taking by coming out to her congregation, but cited a Bible verse, 1 John 4:18, that speaks of the power of love to triumph over fear.

“I realize, of course, that I might be taking an enormous risk here… It’s scary, but I read some place that ‘love casts out fear’.”

Joplin went on in her sermon to speaking directly to the LGBTQ community, especially those who had been rejected by Christians.

“I see you. You’re not alone… I want you to hear me say that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

“…I am sorry for the times that you have been lied to about who you are in the eyes of God.”

And she addressed the trans community directly as well.

“I believe in a God who calls you a beloved daughter, even when your parents insist that you’ll always be their son.”

But despite the rejection of her congregation, Joplin told CTV News that she is focusing on moving forward.

“I had a cry but I tried to almost immediately start thinking about what comes next.”

Joplin also spoke of the outpouring of love she has received in the wake of her firing. And on Twitter, there was no shortage of that to go around.

In a follow-up tweet to the announcement of her termination, Joplin said she was barely able to sleep.

But only because she was excited about what might be next for her in her life. 

Her next church will be lucky to have her.

John Sundholm

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, video producer and performer originally from Michigan, and is one of those people who says he "lived in London for a while" even though it was only six weeks for study abroad. He made Ellen DeGeneres laugh once so you should probably follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Medium, where he does a lot of yelling under the name @JohntheCraptist.