NYFD diversifies its ranks, hires lesbian chaplain

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Ann Kansfield, (left) NYFD's first woman and first openly gay chaplain is sworn in by Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. Her wife, Jennifer Aull, (right) holds the chaplain's family Bible as Mansfield takes the Oath of Office. | NYFD website

NEW YORK, New York (Christian Examiner) -- The New York City Fire Department swore in a lesbian chaplain March 3.

Rev. Ann Kansfield of Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn, New York, becomes the city's first female and first openly gay chaplain. She joins the New York Fire Department alongside six Christian chaplains and one Jewish chaplain, according to CBS New York.

Kansfield, 39, reportedly left her a job on Wall Street to become a pastor, the Fire Department stated in an announcement which included comment from Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

""This is a wonderful moment for the FDNY," Nigro said and praised Kansfield for her involvement in the community.

A New York Times special feature credited a civil rights lawsuit as well as a settlement with the city for a recent push to increase employee diversity that included hiring Kansfield and increasing the number of black and Hispanic graduates from the Fire Academy.

The publication indicated starting salary for NYFD chaplains is about $20,000 annually for a part time position that requires on-call hours several days a week.

Among the duties of FDNY chaplains are providing spiritual counsel to FDNY members, ministering to FDNY families when a member is deceased or seriously injured and delivering invocations and benedictions at FDNY ceremonies.

Kansfield is ordained through the United Church of Christ a denomination whose clergy is recognized by the Reformed Church in America with which Greenspoint Church where she ministers is affiliated. She told the Times RCA would not ordain her.

On the their website, Greenpoint Church claims itself to be "a place that is willing to exist within a primary tension of the Christian faith: not everyone sees and experiences Christ in the same way.