Have you ever stepped into a room and immediately felt surrounded by positive energy? Such was the case at the launch party for Emmy Kegler’s new book “One Coin Found” on April 2. As the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, 1500 6th Street NE, and a sought-after speaker, her ability to beautifully showcase emotion sided with humility was of no surprise. What did surprise me was that this powerful, strong and courageous woman wanted nothing more than to thank all those she loved at an event focused around her. But once you read her book you will know why: Emmy is a person of the people and for the people. With endless grace she took the stage as a friend to all, her receptive spirit put the crowd at ease. She then shared her personal story of love, faith, courage and pride.
Kegler has much to be proud of: She has an impressive array of talents ranging from a studious mind (getting her a master’s degree in divinity from Luther Seminary) to a passion for doodling which is then incorporated into animation. As a queer woman in the church, she also coordinates and is editor of Queer Grace, the online encyclopedia for LGBTQ and Christian Life. Her most recent accomplishment is the launch of her new book, “One Coin Found.” It tells her story of growing up queer in the church, as well as how she tackled the Bible and navigated its pages. Kegler stated it best: “I am opening a door to scripture.”
During the readings, Kegler relived the emotions of her writing, giving a glimpse into the hours, sacrifice, pain and love that goes into writing a book; captivating the audience. “One Coin Found” is less of a book and more of a written journey of real emotion, conflict and ultimately, acceptance. Kegler read a passage describing a confrontation she endured at 17, listing all the knowledge she wished she had known during that time. “I did not realize that I wrote this book for my 17-year-old self, until this moment,” she said.
As the night continued, she progressed into the Q & A part of the evening. Often a time of a few awkward silences, this was not the case for Emmy Kegler. With a full gaggle of loving friends and family, the night was one of celebration. She answered an array of questions that delightfully ranged between silliness and seriousness. Kegler said, “I didn’t want to write another apology letter … I didn’t want to write another ‘Let’s have a coffee and explain your story’ book …after deliberation, I finally decided that this was a hermeneutic memoir.” We also learned the best place to have a good cry; “the best place for a smart woman to cry is a bathroom, because Hermione Granger did that, too,” said Kegler, ensuring that a Harry Potter reference was not lost.
No matter your walk of life, or religious belief, we all have a thing or two to learn from Emmy Kegler. Despite being pushed away from the religion she loved, this author used her best characteristics to make her own path and she did it with an immense amount of grace, acceptance and respect for those she loves.
What do we plan to see from Kegler next? Numerous projects, from the sound of it. This young author has many ideas, plans and doodles in her quiver, all just waiting for the correct timing.
Below: Emmy Kegler drew on her experience as a pastor, scholar, and member of the LGBTQ community to create her latest book, “One Coin Found.” (Provided photo)