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.