Reverend Brynn Craffey is our guest minister on Sunday, October 1. His sermon is titled “Trickster Ravens & Truth-Telling Snakes.”
In recognition of the Season of Creation and Indigenous People’s Day, Rev. Craffey is going to compare and contrast a story from the Haida people of British Columbia with the two accounts in the Book of Genesis—all within a larger context of narrative interpretation, metaphor, and feminist theology.
Those of us who know Brynn from when he was a member at UUFSD before moving to Canada two days before the 2016 election may be wondering just what’s in the Vancouver drinking water! “You mean to say, he’s become a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada?! That’s about as close as you can get in a reformed denomination to the Roman Catholic Church he renounced as a teenager! We thought he was an atheist—or at the very least, an agnostic!” Well, drinking water has little to do with this remarkable transformation.
What happened is that, in the breath-taking topography of the Pacific Northwest, Brynn discovered that not all Christians condemn LGBTQ+ people, ban women’s ordination, interpret the Bible literally, nor excommunicate members who dare to embrace science, think critically about matters of doctrine, and reject the idea that there’s one-and-only-one spiritual approach to the ineffable mystery of our human existence. Over the course of 5-1/2 years and despite opposition by two powerful faculty members (and being over the age of retirement for priests when he started discernment!) Brynn earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Vancouver School of Theology and was ordained as the first outspokenly queer-identified transgender priest in the Diocese of New Westminster in June, 2022. He served happily as an assistant curate in the parish of St Thomas in East Vancouver for one year before discovering that a combination of unfriendly immigration and tax bureaucracies made remaining in Canada permanently beyond his capacity.
It has been difficult to exchange Vancouver’s deeply affirming atmosphere and stringent gun-control laws for America’s heavily armed, anti-trans free-for-all. On the other hand, Brynn IS happy to be geographically closer to old friends in this balmy and beautiful beach town where the ocean is warm and welcoming and there’s surf! Brynn is uncertain what ministry he’s going to pursue here. From the start, his call has been solidly grounded in climate justice, LGBTQ+ affirmation, and decolonization and Indigenous truth and reconciliation within an interfaith context. At the moment, he’s thinking of offering occasional outdoor Eucharis services for interested friends and acquaintances, but beyond this, his priority is to rest and recharge after an arduous and demanding decade, while remaining open to where the Spirit might lead.
Posted by Irv Himelblau