Rev. Vernice Thorn is Co-convener of the National Coordinating Team, CWAC Movement; Associate Pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church, Chicago, IL; and Founder of All Inclusive Ministries.
She was ordained as a Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in the Michigan Conference in 2003, as an Elder in 2005 in the Chicago Conference and celebrated the Transfer of Credentials for Christian Ministry to the Church Within A Church Movement on July 20, 2013.
I am truly thankful for my ministry and connection with CWACM. On July 20, 2013, I transferred my credentials to CWACM because I hoped it would give me the foundation and the framework to continue my call to inclusive ministry. And it has done that.
In October 2013, I found myself on a bus to Springfield enthusiastically and passionately marching for marriage equality. Even the rain did not dampen our spirits. In January 2014 marriage equality came to Illinois, with the passing of the bill slated for June. I performed my first legal gay marriage in the sanctuary of Broadway Church on April 25, 2014. With CWACM credentials I am able to officiate these very sacred moments without explanation to or fear of an oppressive system. As I sign wedding certificates I am keenly aware that I can do so with integrity.
Being able to serve all, makes a huge difference in how I understand my call and how I live out that call. CWACM gives me not only space but authority to do what I understand as “authentic ministry.” Authenticity is extremely important to me. I had officiated many civil union services and marriages before transferring my credentials. I always wondered how legal and authentic they were as I signed my name and the name of the denomination that authorized me. I knew in my heart that the authorities of that Episcopacy would question the legitimacy of the relationships of the people I was marrying. It always made me sad to know that they would consider the all inclusive ministry I do, as disobedience. I didn’t care, because I knew in my heart of hearts that I was answering, as best I knew how, the call God has placed on my life. Not having that worry frees me up to focus on the couple’s needs and the sacredness of the event.