WHAS11 tells us that First Unitarian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, has its first-ever female minister. Yay! And stuff. But whatever. The real story is that minister Dawn Cooley is hiding a dark, fishnetted secret (although not the one I was expecting by the time the news story got around to the big reveal).
I’m pretty sure they did that entire story solely so they could pull out that “gap between church and skate” line at the end.
Transcript after the jump; full text of Cooley’s sermon at her blog.
CLAUDIA COFFEY. Well, a Louisville church has its first female minister in more than a century. That, in and of itself, might be big news.
RENEE MURPHY. You’d think that might be enough, but it’s the secret that she kept from the congregation and the way that she revealed it that’s pretty amazing here. WHAS11’s Adam Lefkoe has her story.
ADAM LEFKOE, REPORTER. Nestled in downtown Louisville, First Unitarian Church has stood for nearly two centuries. But never has a woman stood here.
DAWN COOLEY. Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law.
WOMAN 1. We’ve had men the whole time, and it just seems right that we have a woman.
REPORTER. Dawn Cooley is the first female settled reverend in the church’s history.
[COOLEY. Life is stressful.]
WOMAN 2. She’s young. She’s dynamic.
[COOLEY. Good morning, Karen!]
REPORTER. They love her compassion.
[COOLEY. Good morning! How are you?]
REPORTER. Her energy. Her transparency.
[COOLEY. A smile?]
REPORTER. Or so they thought.
COOLEY. For a long time, I was really, really quiet about it, and only a couple people knew who needed to know.
REPORTER. You see, some Sundays, Dawn didn’t go to church. She’d sneak off to another group on the other side of town.
COOLEY. It’s a place where I can really let my hair down, and so I don’t censor myself nearly as much as I would from the pulpit.
REPORTER. DIfferent clothes, even a different name. Eventually, she just had to tell the church.
COOLEY. And I said, “So, I just wanted to let you know…”
[skates rolling; whistle; cheering; growling]
COOLEY. “… I’m Liv Fearless on the Derby City Roller Girls.”
[TEAM. DC! RG! DC! RG!]
ANNOUNCER. When they say you’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself, they’re talking about her… Liv Fearless!
[SPECTATOR. Go, Liv Fearless!]
SISTER FEARLESS. It was kind of wild when she started talking about roller derby. A lot of people’s eyes went up, and they were all, “What have we gotten ourselves into?”
[SPECTATOR. Skate! Skate! Skate! Skate! Skate!]
MAN. We never know what to expect.
REPORTER. While she’s a leader at the church…
[COOLEY. I said “sorry” to one of them.]
REPORTER. … Dawn is a rookie at the rink.
[PLAYER. Get on that line. Get on that line. Good.]
[SPECTATOR. Jam it up! Jam it up!]
REPORTER. On the Saturday, it’s her first meet in Louisville.
COOLEY. My family’s going to be here, my dad’s come in–come in from town, and my sister’s come in from town, because it’s also my birthday.
[ANNOUNCER. Happy birthday, girl!]
[LITTLE FEARLESS. I love her!]
SISTER. She’s fearless, you know?
[MR. FEARLESS. That was amazing.]
[LITTLE. That was my mom!]
REPORTER. The Derby City Roller Girls go on to crush the competition…
[COOLEY. That was fun!]
REPORTER. … Liv Fearless starring in her hometown debut.
DAD FEARLESS. Oh, she did great. The whole team did wonderfully.
[GIRL. She’s awesome.]
[COOLEY. I’ll see you guys at home, all right?]
REPORTER. The next morning, the pews are packed at First Unitarian
[SISTER. Hi, I’m Karen. I’m Dawn’s sister.]
[COOLEY. Hey, sweetie!]
REPORTER. For Dawn, it’s back to her robe, back to her pulpit, back to that comfort zone.
COOLEY. Fate? Providence? Happenstance? Didn’t matter. I was about to find a very powerful way to take care of myself, to get healthy, to answer “yes” to life.
REPORTER. If only Dawn liked to be comfortable.
[ANNOUNCER. And so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Derby City Roller Girls.]
[applause; whistle; piano music]
[ANNOUNCER. I give you Liv Fearless.]
REPORTER. The congregation still shifting in their seats…
[COOLEY. Go ahead and get your velcro off, ladies.]
REPORTER. … Dawn delivers a lesson she learned from her double life.
COOLEY [voice cracking]. Lesson number 13 is that I am beautiful, and so are you. Roller derby has given me a deeper, more full understanding of what beauty looks like. Each one of us, each one of my teammates, each one of you, each one of you… [tearing up] Beautiful. Stunning. Gorgeous. Amen.
[Praise band music]
REPORTER. In that moment, Dawn slips to the back, staring out, admiring the crowd, this crazy mix of people in her church, full of love, of hope. And in that moment, that single instant, there is no truer form of acceptance. Dawn has bridged the gap between church and skate.
[TEAM. DC! RG!]
COFFEY. Well, the season now ended, and the Derby City Roller Girls did finish a strong seven and two. Powerful.
MURPHY. I’m glad that I’m on TV right now, because if I weren’t, that one lady did the gesture, that would be me.
COFFEY. But we know, Renee. We know when you leave, you know.
MURPHY. I know. I got to hold it together right now, though. But what a great story, and a great message that we are all beautiful.
COFFEY. Very inspiring.