An installation service on Sunday afternoon celebrated the new senior pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in La Crosse.
Reverend Joanne Richmond is the nineteenth senior pastor in the history of that church. Richmond is the first legally-married lesbian pastor in the La Crosse Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Richmond said the congregation welcomes all people and wants everyone to feel safe. She believes that is what Christianity is all about.
"What we do hope for the future is that more and more congregations accept more LGBT people at all levels of Christian life--in leadership, as members--that everybody is welcome, everybody feels safe," Richmond said. "And, it's not just about sexuality. It's about race, it's about economic status."
Richmond has been part of the congregation for 15 years. Before becoming senior pastor, she worked as the executive director of the Hunger Task Force in La Crosse and a Philosophy instructor at Western Technical College.