On Saturday, April 15, Katie Ricks will become the first openly lesbian minister ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In May of 2011 the 2.1-million member denomination voted to allow openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including those in same-sex relationships, to be ordained as ministers, elders, and deacons.

A 2002 graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, Rev. Ricks has served for the last 10 years as an Associate in Ministry for the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill. She has been waiting for a decade to be ordained.

Rev. Ricks was recently named among the “13 Religious Women to Watch in 2012″ by the Center for American Progress.

Since coming out in seminary in 2002, Ricks has joined the ranks of gay and lesbian faith leaders who have used both prayer and reason to be recognized as authentic spiritual leaders in the church.

“I feel that I am walking into something larger than myself. It is both a joy and a responsibility. I am thankful to my community for supporting me on this journey and for affirming my call,” Ricks is quoted as saying in anticipation of her ordination.

Since the ordination policy change went into effect in July of 2011, the PC(USA) has ordained three gay men, Scott Anderson, Scott Clark and Paul Mowry. Katie Ricks will be the first lesbian.

An estimated 400 people from around the country are expected to attend the service, which will take place at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina starting at 2:30 pm.

Related:
* Celebrating the opening of the Presbyterian ordination process to openly LGBT people