On November 17 at 9:00am ET, join the Presbyterian Church (USA) Facebook page for the first Transgender Day of Remembrance service that the PC(USA) has hosted as a denomination. This service was organized by the Office for Gender & Racial Justice, a ministry that works to help the church on its mission in becoming more inclusive, diverse, and just.

The Rev. Louis Mitchell, a pastor ordained in the United Church of Christ, will preach at the service. The founder of Transfaith, a national organization of transgender faith leaders, he also serves as Operations Director of the Ingersoll Gender Center in Seattle, Washington.

The PC(USA) Facebook page will also feature a series of videos with the planning team speaking to the process of creating this service. In the first of these videos, Myles Markham, a transmasculine nonbinary mission specialist for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, noted,

“If some of the only trans related content we are sharing widely is about trans death, trans pain, trans trauma, and trans tragedy, then often that becomes the trans story…. Inclusion and celebration of diversity is just as importance as the acknowledgement of our oppression.”

To that end, the latest episode of A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast featured a conversation with the Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson. In 1996, Erin became the first PC(USA) minister to change sex and remain in ordained office. Listen to Erin discuss opportunities for transgender individuals in the church among other topics here

Started in 1999 by advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the lives of transgender people lost to transphobic violence. This service will now be an annual event similar to the PC(USA)’s services for Pride and World AIDS Day in June and December.

Rev. Mitchell, preacher at the upcoming Transgender Day of Remembrance service