Proclaim member Rev. Susan Halvor participated in the Alaska Pride Parade celebration this weekend. Susan lives in Anchorage, Alaska and is the Chaplain at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Proclaim is the professional community for Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQ. There are currently 132 members of Proclaim.
Proclaim members live in all parts of the United States! Check the Summer issue of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries the Mission for a map of Proclaim members locations.
Susan wrote about the parade on the blog Alaska Pride in a piece entitled “Called to Be Our State of Pride.” Selections below:
But what is even more powerful to me is the number of people I don’t know, who come up to me each year, thanking me for my presence as a pastor, and as a female pastor, offering public witness. So many of us have been hurt by the church, and I long, as much as I can be, to be a sign of healing and hope. My Lutheran (and interfaith) colleagues provide that sign for me, that a new day is coming.
May we continue to grow as a community of diverse people, set apart for our courage to love the people we love, whoever they are, and to boldly be ourselves, whoever that is we’re called to be. We are signs of hope in a world that longs for it.
Read the full blog here.
This month Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries welcomes Ángel D. Marrero-Ayala onto its Board of Directors, ELM’s governing body. Ángel D. Marrero-Ayala brings a wide range of skills and experiences to the Board. Ángel is currently on internship from 2013-2014 at First Lutheran Church in Waltham, MA. Ángel has written a short bio to share with ELM supporters.
Ángel David Marrero-Ayala
¡El Señor esté contigo!
My name is Ángel David Marrero-Ayala, I am 24 years old and member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. I have a bachelor of arts in Secondary Education with a concentration in Spanish (literature, grammar and writing) from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and currently a student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
Born and raised in the shore town of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, I am the first fruit of the marriage between David, a construction worker, and Evelyn, a housewife. I also have sister, Ashley, who just finished her freshman year at the UPR and is currently spending the summer working as a staff member at Bethel Horizon Lutheran Camp in Wisconsin.
All my life I’ve been Lutheran and have enjoyed the opportunity of serving in various positions within my context such as: Caribbean Synod Council, Lutheran Youth Ministries Board, Puerto Rico District Council, Assosiation of Hispanic Lutheran Ministries, and Parish Council Member (at San Marcos Lutheran Church and Cristo Victorioso Lutheran Church). Also I have work for various ecumenical organizations like the Latin American Council of Churches and the Council of Churches of Puerto Rico. Last year, I worked as an intern at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Summer CPE program, an experience that helped me to approach emotions from a perspective of bringing the best of myself into pastoral care. Next fall, I will be the vicar at First Lutheran Church in Waltham, Massachusetts.
I like to spend my spare time with people, particularly close friends and family. Reading, writing, exercising are usually part of my week self-care too. Since moving to Philadelphia cooking Puerto Rican traditional food has become part of my most enjoyable activities.
I come to ELM with a sense of responsibility and great joy, looking forward to working with the people of God and with the expectation of what God has prepared for us on the road. This is an amazing time to be the Church. God is doing something new, reconstructing our theologies and empowering our voices to proclaim freedom to a world still cries out Maranatha! Let us walk together with faith!
Proclaim member Rev. Megan Rohrer has been busy!
Amalia Vagts, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries executive director recently emailed a few Proclaim members about making “Proclaim” stoles. The idea had come up at the recent Proclaim Retreat.
A few days later, Megan had already finished making several.
Pastor Megan lives in the Bay Area and is the Assistant night minister at San Francisco Night Ministry and Pastor/Executive Director at Welcome Ministry. Megan is a member of Proclaim, the professional community for Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQ. There are currently 130 members of Proclaim.
Pastor Megan has made 11 stoles with help from her grandma, Darlene Audus. Darlene had this to say: “What’s really exciting is that future families won’t have to go through the same struggle Megan did. I never expected the change to come so quickly in the church. These stoles will help pastors who may not be able to afford $150-200 stoles know that we care about them.”
Pastor Megan will be making red stoles to send to Proclaim pastors being installed or ordained this year. Megan was one of the 18 extraordinarily ordained Lutheran pastors and remembers the stole that was passed down from person to person at each ordination. After the policy changed, the stole was retired during the first worship service at the inaugural Proclaim retreat. Megan writes, “I’m excited to continue the tradition of passing on stoles during this more hopeful time.”
Pastor Megan will be creating patterns and instructions for making the stoles, and this information will soon be posted on the ELM website. Using mostly scrap fabric, Pastor Megan and her grandma will have made 10 stoles for less than $20. The process to create the stoles takes about 2-3 hours. For instructions on how to make a Proclaim stole go here.
Proclaim members are already asking if they can use one for future ordinations, installations, or regular worship services. Thanks to Megan and Grandma Darlene for so quickly creating the stoles. We can’t wait to see them at upcoming services!
The 2014 Proclaim retreat will be at Heartwood Conference Center in Northwestern Wisconsin, May 4-7, 2014. This is a confer-treat! What’s a confer-treat? It’s a conference and a retreat!
Heartwood is a beautiful retreat center located in the gorgeous northwoods region of Wisconsin, about 2 hours from the Twin Cities - www.
Proclaim is the professional community for Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQ. For the past three years the Proclaim community has gathered for a time of renewal, community building, and professional development.
Please share news about Proclaim and this retreat with anyone you think will be interested. Check http://www.elm.org/2014-
We receive a substantial discount for this lovely retreat center through Thrivent because we are a Lutheran organization. The peaceful Wisconsin Northwoods should be a relaxing place for Proclaim members who need to be renewed and invigorating space for Proclaim members who need to be energized for ministry.
ELM donors support this retreat through your contributions to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. The 2014 Retreat has received special funding from the Philip N. Knutson Endowment.
It’s still fun to write it…on Friday, May 31, 2013 the Reverend Dr. R. Guy Erwin was elected bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on the sixth ballot. Go here to read our full blog entry on the election.
Our website had 3,655 views on Saturday June 1,2013- our most ever! In case you needed to catch up, we put together a summary of some of the news stories and reactions.
News summary of the Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin’s election to Bishop:
ELCA News Service bulletin: official release here.
Story from GLAAD: here
Coverage in the Advocate: Evangelical Lutheran Church Elects First Openly Gay Bishop
Email sent to Southwest CA synod email list: Immediate press release from the Southwest California Synod
Coverage on CNN.com: here
Coverage in L.A Times: here
Press Release from ReconcilingWorks: here
As with many breaking news stories these days, for many of us, the first news came via Twitter. Here are a few tweets that came out just as the election happened. The first one just prior to the vote and the following just after the vote:
Just prior to the vote, Jennifer Chrien tweeted:
I feel the Spirit moving in this place, and it’s giving me chills!
Just a moment later, Pierce Devol:
Rev. Dr. Erwin wins!
And a moment later, Ahbee Dee,
Bendito sea el nombre del Señor, bendiciones a nuestro obispo Dr. Erwin.
Additional reflections on the historic election:
Bp. Elect Erwin after being elected:
I usually prepare a speech…but I didn’t because I didn’t expect this…what I have to say is this…I love you. And God loves you. And I ask for your prayers.
Proclaim member & Proclaim chaplain Angela Nelson shared:
Stoked that R. Guy Erwin gets the Bishop spot awhile. Look out, church – with a historian around you can’t get away with saying “we’ve never done it that way before”!
Christian Scharen, Director of Contextual Learning and Assistant Professor of Worship at Luther Seminary:
I have tremendous respect for R. Guy Erwin. I’m delighted he’s been elected bishop of SW California Synod. It is true we ought to celebrate the “firsts”: first openly gay bishop; first Native bishop (Guy from the Osage tribe). Yet I think actually it is a huge step to elect a second academic to the conference of bishops (the other I know of is Craig A. Satterlee from LSTC. Craig may be a first as well: first bishop who is legally blind. I don’t know.
But for an intellectual tradition which knows its identity to be held together theologically, we have been surprisingly shy about electing faculty from colleges and seminaries to be bishop…
Now that it is not an academic question for him, he has to figure out how to embody it and we’ll all learn a lot from his leadership. For his part, Craig did his dissertation on the practice of the teaching bishop, in a sense, writing on the mystagogical preaching of Ambrose of Milan. So both Guy and Craig will offer us something, in the end, I believe the ELCA very much needs in this time of anxiety and excitement, of God’s dreams for us as church and our fumbling responses to live into the new creation we already are in Christ.
Proclaim member Rev. Erik Christensen shared these thoughts:
Tonight the Proclaim community is celebrating the election of one of our own, the Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin, as the first publicly identified gay, and Native, Lutheran bishop in the ELCA (Southwest California Synod). This election is a sign that history only marches forward, and that those things once thought impossible can be achieved within a lifetime.
Freedom is coming!
Just moments ago, the Reverend Dr. R. Guy Erwin was elected bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on the sixth ballot.
Bishop-elect Erwin is the first publicly-identified gay and first Native American bishop in the history of the twenty-five year old denomination.
Erwin’s election to bishop comes just two years after his ordination as pastor in the church. Erwin has served congregations in the ELCA for over twenty years but chose not to be ordained until the ELCA changed its policy regarding gay and lesbian ministers. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted in 2009 to ordain gay and lesbian people in publicly accountable, lifelong committed same-gender relationships. Erwin was one of the first publicly-identified gay pastors in the ELCA to be ordained after the 2009 changes. There were seventeen publicly-identified LGBTQ people who were extraordinarily ordained outside the regular ELCA process prior to the vote, and subsequently received onto the ELCA roster following 2009.
Erwin is a member of Proclaim, a professional association of 130 Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQ. Proclaim is a program of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, a social ministry organization that supports LGBTQ pastors and their ministries. Bishop-elect Erwin also currently serves on the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Board of Directors.
Amalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, said, “This is a great day for the Southwest California Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin is a gift to the church, a terrific Lutheran theologian, and a pastor who has served his church faithfully for over twenty years. All kinds of diverse leaders are called to positions in the church – and the Lutheran church is blessed with many committed LGBTQ pastors, whose callings can now be fully recognized in the ELCA. This church has come a long way in four years. More and more people are realizing all the time that LGBTQ people have important ministry gifts, including the gifts to lead the church as a bishop. We are thrilled to see such a wonderful leader from the LGBTQ and Native American communities called to the position of bishop at this time in history.”
Bishop-elect Erwin currently serves Faith Lutheran, Canoga Park as interim pastor and is Professor of Religion and History at California Lutheran University. Erwin is a native of Oklahoma and an active member of the Osage Tribe of Indians. Erwin and his partner Rob Flynn are members of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, CA, and are very active in Lutheran circles locally, nationally, and internationally. He will be installed as bishop September 21, 2013 and will serve a six year term.
Related News: Proclaim member Jim Boline elected Secretary of the SW CA Synod
The Rev. James Boline, has served St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, CA since 2000. Boline was elected SW CA Synod Secretary. Boline is a member of Proclaim. Pastor Boline came out during the 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. He is married to Christopher Ma.
We are thrilled for the church and both of these wonderful leaders!
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries has named Gretchen Colby as the 2013 Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholar. Read more about Gretchen below.
Today would have been Joel’s 52nd birthday, had he not passed away from AIDS in 1995. We don’t remember Joel just because he was one of the first Lutheran seminarians to come out (though he was). We remember Joel because of his vibrant, prophetic and relevant voice, collected in the book, “Dear God, I Am Gay – thank you!” Joel understood things years ago that some in our church still can’t see today. In a personal essay that was cited as one of the reasons the church deemed him “unfit” for ministry, Joel wrote,
“My story, others’ stories, the story of the world are all, in the last analysis, in faith’s analysis, stories of grace. These are stories of a relentless, loving God who will not take ‘no’ for an answer, not my ‘no,’ nor your ‘no,’ nor the church’s ‘no,’ nor the world’s ‘no.’ God keeps right on justifying, reconciling, liberating, feeding, ushering in the kingdom, saying ‘yes.’ Even if it kills God (and it did, the cross), even if it kills us (it does, baptism), somehow God is going to get everyone to that big banquet feast (resurrection, the kingdom, new life). I want to continue to be a messenger and means of God’s invitation, to share the good news of God’s ‘yes,’ to live a courageous and comforting life of faith, to incarnate Christ for the kingdom and my neighbor, to die and rise daily. This is my ‘mission.’”
The Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship program was created to honor Joel’s life and ministry. Joel’s family and friends created the scholarship fund following his death from AIDS in 1995. The scholarship is managed by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
The Joel R. Workin Scholar is a publicly-identified LGBTQ seminarian who embodies Joel’s passion for justice and faith in their lives and ministry. This award comes with a financial gift to support the Scholar’s study. In addition, the Scholar represents ELM throughout the year.
Gretchen was chosen from a pool of excellent candidates. The Joel R. Workin Scholarship Committee includes three friends of Joel’s: the Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, Greg Egertson, and Michael Nelson; former Scholar the Rev. Jen Rude; and ELM Executive Director Amalia Vagts.
The scholarship is funded through the Joel R. Workin Memorial Endowment. Donors may make planned or immediate gifts to the endowment by contacting Amalia Vagts at 563-382-6277.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries gives thanks for all LGBTQ seminarians who are bringing their voices to this church. We are especially thankful for those who took time to honor Joel by applying for this scholarship.
About Gretchen Colby
Gretchen has served as intern at Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan, NY since last August. She is studying at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkley, CA and is expected to graduate in May 2014. Gretchen received her bachelor degree at Vassar with a major in Biology and a minor in Latin American Studies. In addition to her ministry work, Gretchen has long been involved with teaching in California and abroad in Chile. In August, Gretchen will marry Jill Rode, an MDiv student at Luther Seminary and fellow member of Proclaim.
In her essay for the Workin Scholar program, Gretchen wrote:
“Allowing myself to be called into a space of vulnerability has let me connect with pastors on my candidacy committee, who share their own stories of love and relationship; it has allowed me to show my internship congregation what a queer intern is like (in fact very much like all interns, but mostly like me); and it has allowed me to discuss the mystery of love and the politics of homosexuality with my family. Not all conversations have been positive; not all prisons want to be opened. Yet, these new beginnings for growth and life are continually offered to me and to the people around me by God in grace and love.”
In finding out she was chosen for the scholarship, Gretchen wrote:
“I am very honored to be receiving the Joel R. Working scholarship this year. As a new member of Proclaim, it is affirming to be chosen in this way as a representative of the group. Looking towards the challenge of my final year of seminary full of final courses, approval essays and interviews, and the challenge of the first call process, I feel reassured knowing that I will have a whole community behind me to support me in this journey. I am privileged to be a part of Proclaim.”
Here is what members of the Committee had to say of Gretchen:
“As a committee we found Gretchen’s resume impressive in the way it reflected her focus on service to others through her work with youth, volunteer work in Chile, and ability to preach in both English and Spanish. In her essay and resume – but mostly in the essay – we strongly sensed Gretchen’s call to justice through the obstacles she had to overcome not only with her church, but her personal life.”
The 2013 Proclaim Retreat took place April 12-15, 2013. Proclaim is the professional community for Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQ. Proclaim currently has 129 members. For the past three years the Proclaim community has gathered for a time of renewal, community building, and professional development.
We put together a wonderful collection of photos from the retreat that we’d love to share with you.
The photo slideshow features the song “We Belong” by Namoli Brennet (www.namolibrennet.com). Photographs were taken by Emily Ann Garcia (www.emilyanngarcia.com), Cary Bass, Caleb Crainer and Megan Rohrer. All used with permission. Thanks to Namoli, Emily, Cary, Caleb and Megan for sharing their art with us!
You support this work through your contributions to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Every dollar makes experiences like the Proclaim retreat a reality–and in turn you are affecting ministry throughout the church. Thank you to our wonderful supporters for making this happen!
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is happy to announce that thanks to your support we are able to help support four Proclaim interns for the 2013-2014 year! There is a growing need for supporting interns & the congregations they serve. We will continue to explore ways to support LGBTQ interns through our new program, Ministry Engagement in the coming years.
2013-2014 Internship Grants:
Moose Flores, House for All Sinners & Saints, Denver, CO:
This grant provides support for Moose Flores internship and housing at House for All Sinners & Saints. This is the third intern that House for All Sinners & Saints has ever hosted. Moose is a student at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and originally from Detroit, MI. Moose has a background in camp ministry from the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL. Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber will be the internship supervisor.
This grant provides support for Rachel’s internship at Lutheran Church of Christ the King. Rachel is a student at Luther Seminary, because of this grant Rachel will be able to receive a modest stipend during the year. This is a new internship site and Pastor Mohr will be the internship supervisor.
Carolina Glauster, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria, BC, Canada:
This grant provides support for Carolina’s internship at Lutheran Church of the Cross. Carolina is a student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, an affiliate student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Carolina also serves as a Communications representative on the Proclaim team. She and her partner Emily are looking forward to the big move from Chicago back to Carolina’s home country of Canada this summer. This grant supports the additional cost of having an intern from the United States. Pastor Lyle McKenzie will be the internship supervisor.
Rachel Anderson, Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church, Sparks, NV:
This grant provides support for Rachel’s internship at Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church. This is the 2nd Proclaim intern that has served the congregation. Rachel is a student at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and originally from Newington, Connecticut. The internship supervisor is Pastor Mary Lou Petitjean.
If you’d like to support ELM’s programs like this one, please click here.
Matthew James was ordained on April 26 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester, MA. Matthew has been called to serve as Associate Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester, MA.
Matthew is a member of Proclaim, the professional community for publicly-identified LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders and seminarians, a program of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
Matthew shares these words about his ordination and first call:
I do not have the words to express how humbled I am following my ordination on April 26th. I kept saying as things moved along that after waiting for three years, it was amazing how quickly everything happened. I still have to remind myself that all of this has finally happened! The Spirit was most certainly moving in the assembly that night through wonderful music led by my spouse, Cantor John Weit, powerful preaching by my internship supervisor, The Rev. Dr. Andrea Walker, leadership by our bishop, The Rev. Dr. James Hazelwood, and my sponsor and mentor, The Rev. Marsh Drege (all pictured below).
I am extremely blessed to have been called by the people of Trinity, a community that I have already grown to know and love. There are many exciting and hopeful things happening at Trinity and I am grateful to be called to be a part of it all.
The prayers that I know came from all over the country, that surrounded me all throughout the wait for a call and in the midst of the process, truly helped to carry me through and I give thanks to God for all of you!
And I cannot help but think of all who made Friday possible through their ceaseless work and witness to God’s far-reaching love throughout the years through Proclaim, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and all the organizations that came before them. I am just one of a multitude, indeed, the whole Church, who are blessed to have benefited from the dedication of so many. May the Spirit continue to guide the Church toward greater and greater inclusion until all God’s people are welcomed and celebrated at Christ’s table.
Matthew was approved as a candidate through the Extraordinary Candidacy process prior to the ELCA ministry policy change. Matthew was selected by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries as a Joel R. Workin Scholar in 2009. Congratulations to Matthew as he continues changing the church through his ministry as a publicly-identified LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leader.