Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ELM Pastor Receives ELCA Synodical Call

ELM roster member Rev. Susan Strouse has received a call from the Sierra-Pacific Synod of the ELCA for her position as pastor at First United Lutheran Church, San Francisco.

Pastor Susan was placed "on leave from call" by the ELCA when she accepted a call to First United Lutheran Church. First United was removed from the ELCA in 1995 following a trial of their decision to call openly gay Jeff Johnson as pastor. Because Pastor Susan was serving a non-ELCA congregation, her call previously was not recognized by the ELCA.

Pastor Susan Strouse is a native of Pottstown, PA (near Philadelphia) and is a graduate of Antioch University/Philadelphia (B.A. in Human Services) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg (Master of Divinity) She previously served congregations in Buffalo, NY and Novato, CA.

The call was announced in the Sierra Pacific Synod's December 3 enewsletter. ELM expresses its thanks to Bishop Mark Holmerud and the Sierra Pacific Synod for this extension of welcome to First United and Pastor Susan.

Monday, December 28, 2009

ELM Roster Members Host 'Feast of Hope'

St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco, will celebrate its first "Feast of Hope" worship Dec. 27, in celebration of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly decision directing changes in ministry policies.

ELM roster member The Rev. Anita Hill, pastor of St. Paul-Reformation Church, Minneapolis, will serve as guest preacher.

Since 1995 the congregation has held a "Feast of Expulsion" in late December, commemorating the date when the congregation was expelled from the ELCA, according to a news release from the congregation. But since the ELCA has changed it's policy the congregation felt it was appropriate to change the emphasis for the congregations annual observance.

ELM roster member The Rev. Robert M. Goldstein, who serves as lead pastor at St. Francis, said the congregation council began discussions about changing the emphasis for the congregation's annual observance.

"We weren't sure what to name it," he said in an interview. "Since the congregation on the whole is very hopeful, and we're still in a holding pattern until we see the details in the (ELCA) Church Council's reformulation of polices, we thought 'hope' was the best and most accurate name to give this."

Read the full press release here

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Emily Eastwood featured in an upcoming episode of a public television show documenting the LGBT experience.

Emily Eastwood is featured this month on IN THE LIFE, the public television show documenting the lives and people shaping the gay experience. Their January episode, “Profiles in Leadership,” focuses on how religious leaders are paving the way for full LGBT inclusion to their congregations, threatening an establishment that would prefer policy come from the pulpit.

The lead segment, 'A Call for Inclusion' profiles two leaders in the faith communities leading the call for tolerance, inclusiveness and religious freedom. Emily Eastwood (pictured left), Executive Director of Lutherans Concerned/North America who has worked for policy change in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, who put his career on the line to write a paper calling for religious freedom and constitutional rights for all.

Profiles in Leadership will begin airing January 1st and be available for free video streaming and downloadable podcasts from the IN THE LIFE website on January 2nd. To find out when it will air in your local area, to stream or download it, go to http://www.inthelifetv.org/

Watch a preview for the video here

Friday, December 11, 2009

News from ELM-ELCA Consultation on 12/7/09

This past Monday, seven members of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries roster met with members of the ELCA Churchwide staff. The meeting began with the seven roster members telling parts of their story to Bishop Mark Hanson. Each person took about 7-10 minutes to talk about their joy in ministry, the discrimination they have faced as a gay or lesbian pastor, and their hope for the Church. Bishop Hanson listened deeply to the stories and offered his affirmation of the gifts for ministry displayed by the group.

We then spent several more hours talking about how ELM pastors may be welcomed to the Roster of the ELCA. As we often say, ELM is about making ministry happen. Our work in that area continues, as we affirm and support the many gifted members of our roster. We believe that in baptism God calls all people to a vocation, and that the call to ordained ministry comes to people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity as equal members of the human family. We will continue to offer ourselves as a resource to the ELCA as they develop new policies and procedures in light of the decisions made by the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

The conversation on Monday was not a decision-making one. We will continue to keep you informed of developments as they happen.

Those attending the meeting included (from left to right in photo) Rev. Anita Hill; Rev. Ross Merkel; Rev. Cindy Coleman; Rev. Erik Christensen; Julie Boleyn; Rev. Jen Nagel; and Rev. Jeff Johnson. Also attending were ELM Executive Director Amalia Vagts; Lutherans Concerned/North America Executive Director Emily Eastwood; and Goodsoil Legislative Team Chair Rev. Chris Berry.

Many of you contacted us to share your prayers for the outcome of this and future meetings. We also gathered in a circle of prayer at the Lutheran Center just before going upstairs. We named in prayer many who have led this movement for years, many of your names, and names of future gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender leaders in this Church. Thank you for your continued support of our ministry.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Don't forget to visit the ELM store

During this holiday season remember to check out the ELM store, all proceeds support GLBT ministry. Featuring mugs, stickers and shirts with the ELM logo.

Here is Coco modeling the ELM dog shirt- available in a variety of sizes and sure to please breeds large and small!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ELCA Leaders Appear in ABC-TV Program on Faith and Disabilities

A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities
explores the courageous stories of persons with disabilities as they succeed in making their faith communities truly inclusive.

ELCA Disabilities Ministry, through the Vocation and Education
program unit, contributed a grant to help fund the program.

ABC stations nationwide will begin airing the program December 6, 2009, as part of ABC’s Vision and Values series, a presentation of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission.

Check your local stations for time, or visit www.interfaithbroadcasting.com/onair.aspx.

Watch the trailer here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2010 Grants ELM Announced

Each year ELM gives grants to fund ministry by LGBT pastors. ELM is proud to support the following through the Mission Grant program. The 2010 grants are:

Eco Faith Project- Portland, OR:
$20,000 continuation of Concept grant for up to 6 months, then Mission grant for Pastor Robyn Hartwig.

The Welcome Ministry- San Francisco, CA:
$11,500 continuation of Empowerment grant for Pastor Jay Wilson.
$6,000 sabbatical grant for Pastor Megan Rohrer.

St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square- Chicago, IL:
$9,000 continuation of Empowerment grant for Pastor Erik Christensen.

Grace Lutheran Church - Houston, TX:
$15,000 continuation of Empowerment grant for Pastor Lura Groen.

Total for 2010: $61,500

We were delighted to be able to fund all grant requests this year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The ELCA takes its first step toward implementing changes in ministry policies

This week the ELCA Church Council adopted the Reinstatement Process Revision:

"For former clergy and other professional leaders who were removed from the church's official rosters for disciplinary reasons or resigned in lieu of discipline -- solely because they were in a lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship."

This action by the Church Council is the first official enactment of the church council pursuant to actions at the August 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis that ordered the elimination of the policy that precluded service in the church by ministers in committed, same-gender relationships.

ELM was represented and present for the meeting which took place over the weekend of November 13-15 in Chicago, IL.

The change, adopted Nov. 15, applies to former ELCA associates in
ministry, deaconesses, diaconal ministers and ordained ministers.

Even under the new reinstatement policy, a final decision on an applicant's reinstatement request cannot be made until other policy documents are revised and approved. But this is still a step in the right direction!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Swedish Lutheran Church Elects Lesbian Bishop

Just two weeks after the Swedish Lutheran Church announced its decision to perform same-sex marriages, the denomination elected the Lutheran church's first openly lesbian bishop. Bishop Eva Brunne was ordained as the bishop of the Stockholm diocese this past Sunday. Bishop Brunne and her partner have one child.

The Swedish Lutheran Church has a history of expansive welcome to gay and lesbian people. In 1990, then Bishop emeritus of the Stockholm diocese Krister Stendahl wrote a letter of support to the members of St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church as they celebrated the ordinations of openly gay candidates Ruth Frost, Jeff Johnson and Phyllis Zillhart. These ordinations sparked the beginning of the movement leading to the formation of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

Stendahl wrote, "Since I can't be with you at your ordination which, it seems, must take place extra ordinem, I want to send you a greeting affirming my conviction that the steps that your congregations and you are taking stand well before God."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ELM pastors Steve Keiser & Jay Wiesner on the ELCA changes

The Philadelphia Gay News has published an article highlighting ELM roster members Rev. Steve Keiser (left) & Rev. Jay Wiesner (right) thoughts and feelings on the ELCA decision and their paths to ministry.

“It was the most liberating, amazing day of my life,” he said. “The idea that I could finally be recognized as a pastor by the ELCA — after I’ve already been a pastor for so many years — was really exciting.” -Wiesner

“Justice had finally been served.”-Keiser

The article also touches on the future of GLBT pastors and the difficulties still ahead. Read the full article here

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sara Thomsen- Artist from ELM's benefit cd in Chicago Oct 24

Sara Thomsen will be playing in Chicago on Saturday Oct 24 at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ located at 615 W Wellington Chicago, IL.

Proceeds will benefit Voices for Creative Nonviolence and Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ.

Sara's song 'By Breath' is on the ELM benefit CD- Out of the Extraordinary. The CD is still available for purchase and it makes a great holiday gift! Click here to read more about the album, find out what artists are on it and order. There is a button on the right-side of the page that says "order online" that takes you to the purchase page. All proceeds go to ELM!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vote for ELM pastor's organization

ELM Rostered Rev. Jen Rude works for the Night Ministry in Chicago, IL and they are taking part in Citgo's Fueling Good Project. Winning the prize of a years worth of gasoline would make a huge difference to them.

Today is the last day to vote! Follow this link to vote, all it takes is entering your email address. Thanks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ELM attends ELCA Conference of Bishops

Representatives from Goodsoil, ELM, and Lutherans Concerned/North America attended the ELCA Conference of Bishops on Oct 1-6, 2009 in Chicago, IL. The Conference discussed implementation of the changes in ministry policies passed at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

Click here to read a press release about the weekend from Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA).

One important result of the meeting was commitment from ELCA Churchwide staff to talk directly with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries pastors throughout this process. For many years, the ELCA has made policy about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people without those affected in the conversations. We celebrate this development!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ELCA news release highlights ELM and roster members

A recent news release by the ELCA focused on two Lutheran congregations in San Francisco and their reactions to the ECLA decision. St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church were profiled as well as ELM rostered pastors Rev. Susan Strouse, Rev. Robert Goldstein, Rev. Ruth Frost, Rev. Phyllis Zillhart, Rev. Jeff Johnson are quoted giving their reactions in the article.

"What does this mean?" was a question asked at council meetings for both San Francisco congregations. "At this point there really were just more questions than anything else," said the Rev. Susan M. Strouse"

Read the full news release here.

ELM pastor in article on ELCA resolutions

ELM Roster member Rev. Robyn Hartwig is featured in an article on the GLBT Communities response to the new ELCA Resolutions:

"I recognize for many people it’s not going to have a significant impact on their lives, but there are many people I meet who are interested in a faith community,” says Hartwig. “For them, a significant obstacle has been removed.”

Read the Just Out article here. Just Out is an independent newspaper published in the Portland, Oregon area.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ELM Pastors Quoted in Article about ELCA Votes

The Mission Local, an enewspaper from San Fransisco published an article about local Lutherans take on the ELCA policy.

The article features several ELM roster members- Rev. Jeff Johnson, Rev. Susan Strouse and Rev. Dawn Roginski and mentions ELM's candidacy process. St. Mary's and St. Martha's is one of the four churches that is issuing a call to Rev. Megan Rohrer (ELM roster) for her street ministry. Read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rev. Dale Poland approved as Board Certified Chaplain, First for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries announces that Rev. Dale Poland has been approved as a Board Certified Chaplain by the Association for Professional Chaplains.

In February of this year Poland received ecclesiastical endorsement from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) in his pursuit of becoming a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association for Professional Chaplains (APC), a multi-faith association established to certify and serve its membership and to promote professional chaplaincy. Poland was the first Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries- rostered clergy to receive ecclesiastical endorsement from ELM.

Rev. Dale Poland serves as a chaplain with HospiceCare of Boulder and Broom field Counties in Colorado. He also serves as a chaplain to the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Roster. “This has been a long process for me and a long process for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. I would like to personally thank Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and those who worked so hard to make it possible. Since joining this roster in 2003 I have received nothing but support and encouragement for my sense of call to hospice chaplaincy and for that I give thanks to God. It is my hope now that other chaplains on the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries roster will feel free to pursue board certification.” Rev. Dale Poland.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries credentials and rosters openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for Lutheran ministry; supports these pastors by working with congregations that will call them and providing mission grants to support their ministry; and provides a network of support to the congregations and pastors.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is recognized as a credentialing and endorsing body by the Association for Professional Chaplains, The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the American Association for Pastoral Counselors.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ELM Statement Following the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly

Halleluiah! What an amazing time to be a Lutheran!

Immediately following the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s historic votes to allow congregations to recognize same-sex relationships and to allow ordination of people in same-sex relationships, many people have asked: “What does this mean for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries?”

In the coming weeks and months we will be talking with supporters, ELM Roster members, affiliated congregations, coalition partners and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We will be gathering responses, reactions, questions and reflections to inform our work in the days and weeks to come. Working together with our partners in this movement, ELM remains committed to supporting the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the church as we explore together what that means in light of the ELCA’s recent decisions.

We express our profound gratitude to Lutherans Concerned/North America and the Goodsoil coalition for their hard and successful work to organize within the church to enact policies that welcome and support people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We joyfully celebrate together during this time of watershed change in the Lutheran church!

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is the result of a twenty year movement within the Lutheran church to affirm the calls of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. For a long time, we have been saying yes in the face of church policies that said no to the gifts and talents of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual pastors. We express our deep appreciation to the members of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Roster and the congregations that have opened their call process to our roster, and all those who have demonstrated for many years what it looks like to affirm the calls of lesbian, transgender, gay and bisexual people.

We remember and grieve the loss of those who resisted these policies as long as possible, but who left our denomination, or the Church, or did not live to see this day. We recognize that there are still pastors for whom the possibility of coming out is tempered by the reality that they may be serving in a congregation or synod that may not affirm their call based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We pray that someday all people may live and serve openly and authentically without fear of rejection from their church.
We will continue to keep you informed about further developments for ELM.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post-Churchwide Words

Well, what's next for ELM? Many of you have been asking us in recent days, since the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to change their rostering policies regarding clergy in same-sex relationships.

In the coming days and weeks, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries will be talking about our next steps as we continue to support ministry opportunities people of all sexual orientations and gender identities called to ordained ministry in the Lutheran church. Check back in the next day or so for a response from the Covenant Circle of ELM.

We are interested in hearing from you! Share your thoughts by sending us an email at info@elm.org.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Announces 2009 Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholar

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) announces the 2009 Joel Raydon Workin Memorial Scholar. This year’s recipient is Julie Boleyn. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries provides the $1,000 scholarship to an Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries seminary student who embodies a gospel-centered passion for justice and devotion to faith in Jesus Christ.

“Julie Boleyn exemplifies the academic and pastoral qualities and courage so characteristic of Joel Workin, and looks to be a strong future clergy leader in this church.” Greg Egertson, Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship chair.

Julie Boleyn is a third-year student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Chicago. She recently completed an internship at Faith Lutheran Church in Chicago. Julie lives in Chicago with her partner, Jeanie Reardon, and their daughter Madelyn.

Twenty years ago when Joel Workin came out as a gay, Lutheran seminarian, he and several others helped spark the current movement supporting openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) persons in ordained ministry. Following Joel’s courageous and faithful act, his certification for ordination was vacated when Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) bishops refused to place his name on the roster of approved candidates waiting for call. The Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship was established in 1995 by the generosity of Joel’s family, colleagues and close friends. Boleyn is the third recipient of the scholarship.

“Twenty years and ten Churchwide assemblies later, the same policy of mandatory celibacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy that excluded Joel Workin and so many others still stands. Yet, there can be no doubt that God is calling the gifts and graces of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into the church’s life and mission – people like Julie Boleyn, an ELM candidate for ordained ministry who has shown tremendous gifts of intelligence and compassion.” Rev. Erik Christensen, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries co-chair.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries will publicly award the scholarship to Boleyn at an awards dinner in Minneapolis on August 20.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award. Joel Raydon Workin claimed his sexuality openly, honestly, and without apology. His courage and conviction has made it possible for me to follow my own calling with integrity. I am deeply grateful for his witness.” Julie Boleyn, 2009 Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholar.

The Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship supports seminarians who have been admitted into the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries candidacy process; and encourages them to persevere in their preparation for ordained ministry. The recipients must be enrolled as an openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender student, have demonstrated gifts for Word and Sacrament ministry, and seeks to fulfill their vocations as publicly identified sexual minority persons. The recipients demonstrate academic excellence, integrity and courage in response to the ELCA's discriminatory policies, a passion for social justice, faithfulness to Jesus Christ and potential to become an effective leader in church and society. The early witness of Joel Workin and several other gay seminarians led to a larger movement within the Lutheran Church. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, a result of this witness, credentials and rosters openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for ministry; supports these pastors by working with congregations that will call them and providing mission grants to support their ministry; and provides a network of support to the congregations and pastors.