UMC welcomes a non-gender ‘they’ deacon

By Bill Bumpas (

A spokesman for a Christian think tank says the commissioning of a “non-binary” transgendered person in the United Methodist Church is only about advancing a political agenda.

UMC deaconThe Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC commissioned the first UMC deacon who openly identifies as neither male nor female.  The person, who was born a woman, goes by the name “M Barclay.”

John Lomperis, United Methodist director for The Institute on Religion & Democracy, says this is an obvious case of someone not genuinely interested in church doctrine or even serving the church.

“This is somebody,” he warns, “who is just seeking affirmation from the church and seeing the church as a vehicle that she can really hijack to advance her own political agenda.”

He points out this person became a lesbian activist who worked with a homosexual activist group affiliated with the UMC. Yet that person now claims to be gender neutral, preferring the pronoun “they” over “she.”

“Pour out your Holy Spirit upon M,” a church bishop said as “M” was commissioned June 4, The Washington Post reported. “Send them now to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.”

“Until very recently it was just pretty universally recognized by psychologists and psychiatrists that gender identity disorder was a mental disorder,” says Lomperis. “And we want to be very compassionate for somebody that is suffering from severe mental health issues.”

But a person suffering from mental health shouldn’t be put in a leadership position in a church, he adds.

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