The Norman Transcript


November 24, 2012

Black pastor a new sight at Lutheran church

TULSA — The new pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church does not fit the mold.

The Rev. Marilyn Robinson is an African-descent woman in an all-white congregation in an era when 11 a.m. Sunday is called the nation’s most segregated hour.

She was raised Catholic, spent years in independent Pentecostal churches, and now, in her late 50s, is a pastor in one of Christendom’s most formal denominations.

She once was blind, but now she sees — literally.

And she has been homeless.

Robinson will be formally installed at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 as pastor of Ascension Lutheran, 4803 S. Lewis Ave.

She is the only black woman pastoring one of the 53 churches in the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

“My identity is in Christ, not in race or gender,” Robinson said.

“We’re really excited about having her,” said Bishop Mike Girlinghouse, who recommended her to the Tulsa church. “She’ll be a great asset to the community.”

Girlinghouse told The Oklahoman that Robinson is a good fit for Ascension Lutheran.

“When we look at a person’s gifts and skills, gender and race are not part of the equation,” he said. “Rev. Robinson has a very deep understanding of God’s grace,” and is “both a strong leader and a compassionate leader.”

He said the ELCA is less diverse than the U.S. population but is working hard to address that.

“That’s very important to us. And I think that Ascension calling Pastor Robinson is a sign of what we’re working toward.

“We’ve got a long way to go to create an inclusive community where everybody truly is welcome, but that’s what we strive for.”

Lutherans are not the only faith community that does not reflect the diversity of the society at large.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Highway Patrol sees spike in number of applicants

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Two bills that passed the Legislature this past spring have sparked an increase in the number of applicants to join the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, officials said....

    July 20, 2014

  • 1M visit Okla. parks

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new report from the National Parks Service shows that more than 1 million people visited Oklahoma’s national parks in 2013 and spent $17.2 million. Oklahoma has thee national parks: Washita Battlefield National Historic ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Unemployment rate falls to 4.5 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.5 percent in June. The figures released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show that while the number of Oklahomans without a ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Gay Marriage Oklahoma Court reverses ban on gay marriage

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court rulied Friday that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, spurring celebration among gay rights activists but sparking sharp anger among Republican leaders in a conservative state that ...

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma firefighters help combat western wildfires

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Firefighters from Oklahoma are heading west to help battle wildfires....

    July 19, 2014

  • Three named to Oklahoma Capitol repair committee

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed three people to a committee that will oversee spending on repairs to Oklahoma’s nearly century-old state Capitol....

    July 19, 2014

  • Tulsa man dies in turnpike wreck

    BROKEN ARROW — Authorities say a 94-year-old Tulsa man has died after a wreck on the Muskogee Turnpike....

    July 19, 2014

  • Okla. wheat crop worst in nearly half a century

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Drought conditions that continued through spring, followed by a late freeze in April and untimely rains in June have produced the poorest Oklahoma wheat crop in nearly a half century, Oklahoma agriculture officials said....

    July 19, 2014

  • Cherokee Nation plans new casino

    SOUTH COFFEYVILLE — The principal chief of the Cherokee Nation says the tribe will soon begin work on a new casino in northern Oklahoma near the border with Kansas....

    July 19, 2014