In honor of Pride Month, we’re revisiting some notable moments in Greenpoint LGBTQIA+ history — including the ordination of Greenpoint Reformed Church reverend (then-pastor) Ann Kansfield in June 2011.

Before being dubbed “Greenpoint’s coolest pastor” by us or “New Yorker of the Year” by the New York Times, Kansfield was fighting for her rights as a lesbian pastor. She began her clergy with Greenpoint Reformed Church at 136 Milton Street in the early-2000s alongside her wife and fellow reverend (then co-pastor), Jennifer Aull, albeit hesitantly out of fear that a church wouldn’t accept an openly gay pastor. But Greenpoint Reformed Church did.

In a 2016 interview with Greenpointers, she said, “Change is built into our DNA, and the velocity of change, especially in Greenpoint, is pretty rapid. But a spiritual community that’s living out its mission to wrestle with God and love God and love our neighbors will always be able to find ways to encourage neighbors to love one another. So that’s the part that shouldn’t change about a faith community, but it will look different in different eras and different places.”

However, the journey wasn’t without roadblocks. A handful of years after joining the clergy, in 2011, Kansfield sought to become an ordained minister, but despite the welcoming energy of our local church, the Reformed Church of America (its hierarchy) rejected the bid due to her sexuality. In response, she turned to the United Church of Christ, which ultimately approved the ordination.

The decision was celebrated by over 300 Greenpoint residents and church congregants, and the new title allowed her to officiate weddings and sign marriage licenses, which was particularly poignant less than two weeks ahead of then-Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing of the Marriage Equality Act on June 24, 2011.


According to Brooklyn Paper, she vowed to officiate “any and all” same-sex weddings in the city.

Greenpoint Reformed Church prides itself on being welcoming, diverse, and inclusive and aims to be a home for all kinds of people, regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey — the church leads the Greenpoint Hunger Program, participates in Pride events, and more.

Back in 2006, Kansfield told The New York Times, “It’s a rare person who is in the majority nowadays. When people see me, they know they are welcome.”

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