Tuesday, May 9, 2017

God Bless Rebekah and her "Forever Name"

Maegan Dougherty Photography
Originally published on Facebook on April 25, 2017.
On Sunday morning, we had a blessing of Rebekah and her “forever name” during worship. Over the past year, we changed her name legally, in the eyes of the courts and the government. This weekend, a week after her second anniversary of living as herself out in the world and on the weekend of her tenth baptismal anniversary, we gathered with friends, family, godparents, and church members to affirm her new name as a community of faith. We remembered Rebekah's baptism and rejoiced in her identity as a Child of God, marked with the cross of Christ forever.
After all the love and affirmation she’s received in the past two years, why did we need to do this? Believe it or not, our day to day life doesn’t center around Rebekah being transgender. She’s just Rebekah (and we know what a privilege that is). With the recent media attention she’s received from speaking out in support of trans rights, it felt a little over the top to do one more thing. But we’d been planning this for months, and it was really important.
It was important because we need her to know that not only her friends and family support her, but that her community of faith stood and affirmed her. It’s not just Mommy and Daddy saying God made you and God loves you. We need her to know that when she encounters Christians who tell her she is less than, she is sinful, she is dangerous, she is going to hell… we need her to know that her faith family gathered around her, laid their hands on her, affirmed her and blessed her in the name of God.
And it was important because it matters to the church. It matters to the church that we boldly, openly support and celebrate transgender people of faith. It matters that the church that watched our journey, that knew Rebekah before she was Rebekah and witnessed her transformation and offered love and support while also wrestling with their own questions, that they be given the opportunity to stand with her in this way. This is not something separate from God. This is her identity in God. Claiming and celebrating that identity in a community of faith mattered.
We are deeply grateful to our family and community for their love and support, and we will continue to do this work until every child (and adult!) is met with this much love from not only their families and communities, but from people and places of faith.
Thank you to Maegan Dougherty Photography for the beautiful photo and the ever gracious presence.

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