On My Ordination Anniversary

Three years ago today, I was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in the ELCA.

photo credit Zober Images – July 14, 2018

As an out bisexual trans guy, I was ordained under a circus rigging, where we later had a circus performance fundraiser for AIDS Walk Portland (now AIDS Walk Northwest). I even performed for the first time on trapeze!

It was an fabulous, love-filled, beautiful day.

photo credit Marty Davis – July 14, 2018

As I look at all the pictures (you all look amazing!), I am so grateful for the countless ways the community has supported me: on my journey of coming out and transitioning, on my journey towards ordination, as an advocate for ReconcilingWorks, and a pastor of the Flame, and all the other adventures along the way.

You. All. Are. Incredible. Thank you!!

One of many profound parts for me in the ordination service were the questions I had to answer, including:

Bishop Dave: Will you give faithful witness in the world, that God’s love may be known in all that you do?

Leo: I will, and I ask God to help me.

I’m thinking about this question today on my 3rd anniversary of ordination. My current status as a pastor is “On Leave From Call.” That means I am still a pastor, but I am taking an extended break, which I am calling a Sabbatical – a time of rest and renewal and listening for what’s next. This means I am not pastoring a church, and currently not taking preaching gigs.

It’s a liminal space – an in-between place in which I feel like I am neither in nor out. I’m trying not to rush the listening.

One thing I know for certain is that whatever work I do, it will be in service of both dismantling white supremacy, and advocating for diversity and inclusion. This is how God’s love may be known in all I do, and one way I fulfill my ordination promises.

The pandemic certainly has made this Sabbatical time interesting. I have forgotten many things – like how to people and how to trapeze! Many in our communities have been profoundly impacted in really hard ways. I pray that we are all on our way to healing and renewal.

I’ve just started taking trapeze lessons again. It is so hard and so good! I’ve lost strength, gained weight, and need reminders of how to do the simplest tricks. I hope it will come back with time and practice (and awesome coaches!!)

I’ve also been relishing my love of books – starting a BookTube channel on YouTube, and clumsily, slowly working on my novel – a murder mystery set in a circus in a church. ha!

And today, on the third anniversary of my ordination, I’m going to hold on to gratitude, reach for hope, and sit in the unknown.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

photo credit- Marty Davis – July 14, 2018

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