This website is prepared as a brief introduction of the human blend that is the Rev. Phiwa Langeni and their various gifts for ministry. On September 18, 2011, Phiwa (pronounced PEE-wah) was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) with their ministerial standing in the St. Louis Association of the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the UCC. They have served as Pastor and Teacher at local churches in the St. Louis, MO area since then.
Over the course of their life, Phiwa has experienced difficulty fitting in because of their gender identity, sexuality, age, nationality, race, and even being a young and single parent. While they’ve learned to cope with these things in a broken society, it was more difficult for them to grasp that in the context of church, a place where one was to encounter God and experience hope and healing. Until the last decade, Phiwa had never experienced a church where they could bring their full self.
In their own words:
“My firsthand experience of such exclusion makes me passionate about creating spaces where folk can gather fully and be in community with other full selves desiring to seek and follow Christ. The languages and modes folk choose to do that are translatable because of my own familiarity with being an outsider. I avoid shame and guilt in my dealings with people and instead choose love and compassion to help heal the remnants of theology done badly as seems to be the pattern for many nowadays. Finding my way to the UCC where I’ve found a place at God’s table just the way I am has been transformative and healing. I can be who I am unapologetically and become the person God has created and continues to create. As a person of faith and a minister with high integrity, this posture of openness shows up in my preaching, teaching, doing, and being.”