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Rev. Judy WestLee

Biography

The Rev. Judy J. WestLee, clergy activist in the Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Judy was born Judy Westendorf on April 25, 1941 in Rochester, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1962 with a B.A. degree in editorial journalism. She graduated from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta with a M.Div. degree in 1982. 

Judy was ordained a deacon and became a probationary member of the Minnesota Annual Conference in 1981. She was ordained an elder and became a full member of the Minnesota Conference in 1985. She served as pastor to the following Minnesota U.M. churches: McGregor, Fleming, Palisade, South Haven, Kimball, Minneapolis: Walker and St Paul: Central Park. She retired in 2003. 

She joined with her long-time partner, Janet Lee in a Holy Union celebrated at Spirit of the Lakes United Church of Christ, Minneapolis on June 18, 1994. Four days before the ceremony they legally changed their names to Judy and Janet WestLee. They are still celebrating together 29 years later.  

Judy served on the National Council of Affirmation from 1994 to 2004, serving at times as the Co-Convener of the Council. She also served as the Affirmation Newsletter co-editor up to 2019, always working with Gary Shephard. 

From 1991-1993, Judy served Walker UMC in Minneapolis as pastor while it was a Reconciling Congregation and involved with continuing discussions with the Conference and Bishop about celebrating Covenant Services or Holy Unions. After Wesley U.M. Church in Minneapolis became the first Reconciling Congregation in Minnesota in 1986 followed by Walker Church and then Prospect Park Church, Rev. WestLee, Rev Michelle Miller and Rev Tim Tennant-Jayne began forming the Minnesota Reconciling Church Network in the basement of Walker Church.   

Judy continued to be active in the Minnesota & National Reconciling Network and was the site manager for the National Reconciling Convocation held in Minneapolis in 1995 taking care of multiple hospitality needs. Over the years, both Judy and Janet attended many General Conferences in various supportive roles for Affirmation and the Reconciling Church Network.   

Judy WestLee is a deeply caring pastor & activist; spirit-led, honest, dedicated, hardworking, a determined team player, expectant and hopeful!  

(This biographical statement written by Judy WestLee and submitted by Dennis Alexander and Michelle Miller.  Photo: Judy on left and Janet on right.)

Biography Date: June 2023

Tags

Methodist (UMC, United Methodist Church) | Affirmation (United Methodist) | Reconciling Ministries Network (formerly Reconciling Congregation Program) | Clergy Activist | Minneapolis | Minnesota

Citation

“Rev. Judy WestLee | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed April 24, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/judy-westlee.

Remembrances

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