Lady Glamb isn’t your typical Pentecostal reverend. If her name hints at the defiance of orthodox tradition, her ensemble completes the picture. She shows up for our Zoom meeting wearing a red leopard-print pantsuit, her silver-blonde hair perfectly coiffed, giving serious Lady Gaga vibes. She bears an uncanny resemblance to the pop star – or rather, Lady Gaga bears an uncanny resemblance to her, as Lady Glamb is 30 years her senior. “I am the OG!” she jokes.
Lady Glamb, whose real name is Gayle Rabinowitz, has been many things over the years (including one of GO’s Women We Love, Class of 2021), and some of the hats she wears seem, from an orthodox perspective, somewhat contradictory. In addition to being an ordained minister, she is a silver model, a social media star with nearly 15 thousand followers, a performance artist, and a regular feature at New York’s Cubbyhole where, she tells GO, she once worked as a piano singer when the bar was still DT’s Fat Cat (her stage name, she says playfully, had been “Muffin”).
Her latest endeavor is ARC of the Lamb, an online inclusive ministry that caters to those in the LGBTQ+ community. ARC of the Lamb, which Lady Glamb co-founded with fellow out pastor, Sara Diaz, is imagined as “a shelter from the storm” and a place for healing for LGBTQ+ individuals who have suffered trauma at the hands of less-inclusive religious communities and people that “have told them they are sinners, they’re going to hell, they’re not worthwhile,” she says. “We are going to welcome them.”
Jewish by birth, Lady Glamb found herself drawn to religion from a young age. She initially found her calling in Messianic Judaism, a synthesis of Jewish teachings and evangelical Christianity, where practitioners identify Jesus as the Jewish messiah. She also knew from a young age that she was gay. After joining the non-profit organization Jews for Jesus, she came out to a few friends in the group. Those friends, she tells GO, promptly reported her to their organization’s leadership, leading to her excommunication.
Still searching for a religious community, she eventually found shelter with a Pentecostal ministry. However, that shelter came with a price. Her sexuality was tolerated – just so long as she didn’t act on it. “It wasn’t a sin to necessarily have the feelings,” she says. “But the sin came in the action.”
Her relationship with the church wasn’t always an easy one, and it took time before she found a permanent place in the Pentecostal community. “I was back and forth, in the church, out of the church, in the church, out of the church. It was like a roller coaster,” she recalls. During this time, she had two holy unions, or unofficial marriages, with women, both of which ended. She also explored other forms of religious expression, including Wicca.
Through it all, she says, “I always knew I had a calling on my life,” and eventually decided to commit herself fully to the Pentecostal church in 2009, first as a children’s pastor, and then as a senior pastor with a traveling ministry which she helped found. She also reconciled herself to the church’s teachings by choosing a life of celibacy. “I was under people that watched me,” she recalls, “and made sure that I was on the straight and narrow, so to speak.”
But that wasn’t the end of her story. In 2018, when she was still with the traveling ministry, she met a woman at a wedding for a friend. The relationship didn’t come to fruition, but it made her realize that she could no longer hide her sexuality, nor commit to a life of celibacy. The connection she’d felt to this other woman “was not something that had disappeared from my life,” she says. “It was something that was part of me. That had been buried very deep.”
When she confessed her feelings to her fellow pastors, she recalls one of them dismissing her feelings as “temptations” that she could resist. “‘This isn’t temptation,’” she told him. “‘I have a heart connection to this person.’”
The lack of support made her realize that if she was active in the LGBTQ+ community, she would no longer be welcome in the church. She left the church in 2018 and began living her life openly as a gay woman. Her return to the community allowed her to see just how far LGBTQ+ rights had advanced in the previous decade “and my heart yearned to be part of that future, and impacting the community still,” she says. However, her return came with a price: she left her traveling ministry and accepted that she would likely not serve as a reverend again.
But a chance meeting later in 2018 made her rethink her departure from the church.
While at Cubbyhole one night, Lady Glamb met Diaz, herself a Pentecostal pastor who had been married to a man before coming out as gay. They got to talking, shared their stories, and created a friendship around their similar experiences with the Pentecostal community which Lady Glamb was, sadly, no longer part of.
Then, about a month into their friendship, Diaz told Lady Glamb that she had a message for her from God: he wanted her to know “‘that the pain and suffering you’ve gone through was not because he wanted to hurt you,’” she recalls. “‘It was because this community needs you.’”
The message came at a time in her life when she very much needed some faithful encouragement. “It was like God saying, ‘I didn’t tell you you’re supposed to step down. You have a job to do.’”
Since 2018, Lady Glamb has made connections with other former Pentecostals who, like her, have been ostracized from the church because of their sexuality. She was also re-ordained as a pastor, thanks to Diaz, and, following a donation from one of her social media followers, she and Diaz decided to launch ARC of the Lamb, to offer a safe haven for those who have been abandoned and even traumatized by their previous faith communities.
ARC of the Lamb, which is an entirely online ministry, currently offers weekly services on TikTok every Wednesday. Co-pastors Lady Glamb and Diaz are in the process of applying for non-profit status, and are hopeful that they can expand their ministry to include other services, including pastoral counseling and programs that offer drama, music, and performance therapies, in keeping with Lady Glamb’s background as a performing artist.
She and Diaz bring with them very different styles of their own. “I know I’m weird, and I know I’m out there, and Sara is beautifully conservative and soft-spoken,” she says. “It’s such a beautiful melding because it’s just a beautiful give and take. She’s the peace in the storm that I need and I’m [like], ‘Come on in, we love you guys!’”
They have experienced some drawbacks, which isn’t surprising given the usually conservative nature of the Pentecostal background they each come from. “I’ve already gotten people that have attacked me online. They told me I was going to hell, and that my punishment was going to be horrible because of what I was doing,” Lady Glamb admits. “I turned to [Diaz] and I said, ‘Am I cut out for this? Is this really my calling?’ And she said to me, ‘Absolutely. You’re much stronger than that.’”
Ultimately, “I want to give people joy and love and hope and faith,” she says. “When people feel like, ‘I can’t go on,’ they know that [in the] next second life can change, and there is hope. I just want them to know that there is a safe haven.
“I just want to be love for people that feel unloved,” she adds. “And what better way to have a church that is a shelter in the storm for the LGBTQ+ community than to have one with two lesbian pastors loving and serving those who feel cast aside, as we felt!”