DENVER (AP) -- One of Denver's most historic churches has selected an openly gay man as its new pastor.
Members of the 117-year-old St. Paul's Lutheran Church chose the Rev. Kevin Maly as their leader by a vote of 80 to 2. Maly has been a member of the church for two years.
''We're just thrilled,'' said Carol Hacker, a church member. ''Kevin is an excellent teacher and a very caring and giving human being. His being gay is irrelevant.''
The congregation stood and applauded Maly as he was escorted to the church's altar after his election.
''This day is not about me,'' he told the audience, ''but about our shared ministry to a broken and hurting world.''
Gay religious leaders and their supporters applauded the decision.
''It's a rare occurrence,'' said Jimmy Creech, a heterosexual minister who was removed from the United Methodist ministry because he officiated at gay unions. ''This is a wonderful step.''
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