Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Eucharist and Rite of Reception and Reinstatement

Join other supporters of the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Lutheran life and ministry for an historic worship service. The service is an opportunity for reconciliation for all who have been separated by church policies barring LGBT pastors from serving and points to a shared future of wider welcome. Seven ELM pastors will be received or reinstated to the roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America during the service.
Sunday, July 25
4:00-6:00 pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
1111 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA

The pastors include:

Rev. Dawn Roginski, Rev. Paul Brenner, Rev. Sharon Stalkfleet, Rev. Megan Rohrer, Rev. Jeff Johnson, Rev. Craig Minich and Rev. Ross Merkel (not pictured).

Celebrant: Bp. Mark Holmerud, Sierra-Pacific Synod

Preacher: Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber

The service is hosted by the Sierra Pacific Synod of the ELCA. All are invited to attend. Reception immediately following.
Service music will be presented by the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus.

All clergy are invited to vest. The color is green. Please arrive by 3:15 if you plan to process.

Contact ELM at info(at)elm.org if you have questions.

If you cannot attend, you can watch it online! Click here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ELM Welcomes New Leaders

ELM welcomes two people to new leadership positions on the ELM Covenant Circle. The Covenant Circle is the volunteer leadership group for ELM.

Lois Voss finished her role as co-chair at the end of May. Lois, an early leader in Extraordinary Candidacy Project played a key role during the merger process and inaugural years of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. The organization advanced during its early years thanks to her detailed and dedicated leadership.

Rev. Jen Nagel (above) is the new ELM Co-Chair. Nagel will share the role with Rev. Erik Christensen. Nagel was the former Collegium Chair.

Pastor Jen began serving Salem English Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN in 2003 and was ordained on January 19, 2008. She combines urban ministry experience, a love for working with congregations in the midst of transformation and change, and a deep care for the people of Salem and the neighborhood. Her work includes the usual pastoral duties (preaching, teaching, worship leadership, pastoral care) as well as walking with Salem in this time of re-development and partnership--a challenging balancing act and yet one that gives Jen energy.

Jen is trained in intentional interim ministry. She holds an M.Div. from University of Chicago-Divinity School, completed work at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and earned a B.A. at Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota. She’s served at Central Lutheran Church and Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, in Africa, Chicago, Michigan, and outdoor ministry settings.

Jen has served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. She is a leader in the Minneapolis Area Synod and currently serves as the Collegium Chair of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Covenant Circle. Jen's spouse, Rev. Jane McBride, is a pastor in the United Church of Christ and they have a young daughter.

Rev. Jen Rude (below) is the new Collegium Chair.
Rev Jen Rude currently serves as Youth Outreach Minister at The Night Ministry. At The Night Ministry Jen works with street-based youth, including young people experiencing homelessness and LGBTQ youth. Jen engages with youth (ages 13-24) by building relationships, providing access to basic needs, cultivating youth leadership skills, creating opportunities for arts expression and nature exploration, and providing pastoral care and spiritual companionship.

The Night Ministry was founded in 1976 by local churches and synagogues. As part of her work with The Night Ministry, Jen continues to build bridges with local churches, synagogues and other community groups through volunteer experiences and advocacy education.

Jen graduated from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA in 2005 and was extraordinarily ordained at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago in November 2007. Jen enjoys cooking, Chicago in the summertime, taking a trapeze and silks class and making crafts.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ELM Co-chairs Approved for ELCA Roster

In separate synod committee decisions late last week, Rev. Erik Christensen and Rev. Jen Nagel were approved for the roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Christensen and Nagel serve as co-chairs of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, an organization that expands ministry opportunities for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Lutheran pastors.

Rev. Christensen has served as ELM co-chair since its inception in 2007 and Rev. Jen Nagel began the role on June 3, 2010. Christensen and Nagel are among the first gay or lesbian pastors in relationships to be approved for the ELCA roster.

Rev. Christensen, a graduate of Candler School of Theology, Emory University (M.Div., '02) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (S.T.M., '04), was approved for ordination in May 2005 by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. He was called to serve at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square in Chicago, IL and was ordained there on October 21, 2006. Rev. Christensen was approved by the South East Iowa Synod on Friday, June 11. The same committee had denied his approval in 2005 because of the previous ELCA policy banning people in same-sex relationships from serving as rostered leaders.

Christensen currently serves as pastor of St. Luke’s. The congregation has grown significantly during Christensen’s tenure and has become a well-established part of the thriving Logan Square neighborhood. July 9-11, St. Luke’s is sponsoring “Boulevard Bash,” a three-day live music and food festival, a first for the area.

Rev. Nagel currently serves as pastor of Salem English Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN and has been there since July 2003. Nagel was ordained on January 19, 2008. Salem English Lutheran has received recognition for its work in urban renewal and transformational ministry. Faced with an unsustainable large city church building, workforce housing will be built on a portion of their land and a smaller, sustainable ministry center will be renovated and shared by Salem and ecumenical partner Lyndale United Church of Christ.

“Sixteen years ago I began candidacy to become a pastor in the ELCA. I never dreamed the journey would hold so much grace or be quite this long. I stand on the shoulders of many who have gone before and so many who have faithfully served, some facing deep pain and struggle. I give thanks for the policy changes that have led us to this day and for a more open conversation about the gifts and burdens of sexuality for all of God’s people. The ministry I share with the people of Salem will continue and, I trust, be transformed still by the Holy Spirit’s amazing power,” said Rev. Jen Nagel following the decision.

Nagel holds an M.Div. from University of Chicago-Divinity School (’98), completed work at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago (’99) and Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota (’94). She’s served at Central Lutheran Church and Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, in Africa, Chicago, Michigan, and outdoor ministry settings. Nagel has served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and on the Minneapolis Area Synod Council of the ELCA. Nagel was approved by the Minneapolis Area Synod on June 10. Nagel lives in Minneapolis with her partner, Rev. Jane McBride (a United Church of Christ minister) and their daughter.

Celebration for Abiding Peace!

ELM roster member Rev. Donna Simon’s congregation, Abiding Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City, MO was celebrated at the Synod Assembly on June 5, 2010. About 30 people gave up their lunch breaks to celebrate the lifting of their ELCA censure. The congregation was put under censure in 2001 for calling and ordaining Rev. Simon outside of the ELCA policies. During the Synod Assembly pastors in the synod put together a short liturgy,

“It was a really lovely service, and we were touched by the response. I feel like our synod, under the leadership of our bishop, has begun to embrace a new day of inclusion”-Rev. Donna Simon (left)

Supporters thanked Rev. Simon for her witness and struggle, the candidacy committee as she concludes her reception process and the ELCA “for "the boldness and faithfulness of the people of the ELCA for the passage of the Statement on Human Sexuality, and for the ministry policies that have been adopted."

We look forward to more celebrations of this sort across the country in the coming months. Read Rev. Simon’s blog here.

ELM Adopts Food Access & Information Access Policy

At the February ELM Covenant Circle (ELM’s board), ELM leaders participated in an 8-hour training by queer, trans (dis)ability trainer Colin Kennedy Donovan. This training led to a commitment by the Covenant Circle to explore expanding accessibility (in many forms, such as food, physical access and access to printed and online communications).

During the June Covenant Circle meeting a formal food policy and information access policy was adopted by consensus. The information access policy ensures that
web & print communications coming out from ELM can be shared and understood by all.

Part of the statement reads:
“We recognize that inaccessible communications have limited the ability of many people with disabilities to learn about and participate in our movement. We value the gifts and participation of people with information-related disabilities”

The food policy is in regards to food served at ELM events. Jay Wilson (left), ELM Diversity Chair explained, “ELM is committed to working against oppression and discrimination and for inclusion. As part of that commitment, we recognize that failure to meet the food needs of participants in ELM events can be a barrier to participation. This policy outlines the expectations for meeting the food needs of expected participants in ELM events which should be followed by event organizers.”

The policy will be implemented in regards to Holy Communion and all ELM hosted events where food is provided.

“Theologically and politically, Holy Communion as a symbol for our unity in Christ is strongest when we find ways for all people to participate as fully as possible. One relatively easy way to accommodate the elements to people with specific food needs [is] to always offer a low-allergen/gluten-free alternative host alone or in addition to other bread. Another easy way to increase communion access is to offer grape juice in addition to or instead of wine. The policy also describes safe-handling procedures to avoid contaminating communion elements with allergens.”
The board will consider a mobility access policy & environmental stewardship policy during their September meeting. The policies will be posted on www.elm.org later this summer. For more information on these policies please contact Rev. Jay Wilson: diversity(at)elm.org

Monday, June 14, 2010

Reception and Reinstatement Service Scheduled in Sierra Pacific Synod

A service of reception, reinstatement and reconciliation will be held for 7 ELM pastors in the Sierra Pacific Synod in July. The service is Sunday, July 25 at 4:00 pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, CA. The ELM pastors being received are Rev. Paul Brenner, Rev. Jeff Johnson, Rev. Craig Minich, Rev. Dawn Roginski, Rev. Megan Rohrer, Rev. Sharon Stalkfleet. The pastor being reinstated is Rev. Ross Merkel.

Since the August 2009 Churchwide decision many ELM roster members plan to join the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) roster. The reception process is the last step in becoming part of the ELCA roster for those who were extraordinarily ordained.

As we receive more details about this service and others we will let our supporters know about these joyous celebrations.