First Extraordinary Call in Canada

Canada Congregation Votes to Call ELM Roster Member
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) is proud to announce that the members of the Newmarket Ontario, Holy Cross Lutheran Church (ELCiC) voted to call Lionel Ketola, which will result in the first extraordinary ordination in Canada.

Lionel first served at Holy Cross Lutheran Church as an intern, with the support of a grant from ELM (who was Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries at the time). Today the congregation voted to call Lionel as Associate Pastor, deployed as an Ambassador of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:16-21) in the ELCIC, to further the work of full inclusion in the ELCIC. Major funding for this position will come from a three year seed grant from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Learn more about Lionel

In Memoriam

Krister Stendahl, 1921-2008

“Since I cannot 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.” – Excerpt from Krister Stendahl’s letter to the first extraordinary ordinands in 1990.

Krister Stendahl, the Lutheran pastor and bishop emeritus who first used the words “extra ordinem” and “extraordinary” to describe the ordinations of openly gay and lesbian clergy, died on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, at the age of 86 after several years of illness.

Stendahl was Bishop of Stockholm when St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church called and ordained Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart and Jeff Johnson. At a time when most church leaders were criticizing the action and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was placing the congregations on trial, Stendahl wrote to commend the congregations for their courage and leadership in supporting openly gay and lesbian pastors. Stendahl also participated in the Extraordinary Ordination of Anita Hill on April 28, 2001. In Stockholm, Stendahl was a noted reformer on issues such as women’s ordination, gay and lesbian rights, and the relationship of church and state.

Stendahl’s words have been used throughout the history of the movement for ordination of people of all sexual orientation and gender identity in the Lutheran church and are central in the identity and name of the group leading this movement, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

Stendahl chose the words because St. Francis and First United were acting “out of the ordinary” practice of the church. The founding documents of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries embrace his sentiment with these words:

If “ordinary” has come to mean “discriminatory,” we have chosen the adjective “extraordinary” deliberately to emphasize the “out-of-the-ordinary” nature of our community. In response to the urgent message of the reconciling and hopeful Gospel of Jesus Christ, we take seriously our responsibility to convey the message of reconciliation, unconditional regard and everlasting love to all people, especially those who have been left out of, or abandoned by the church that bears the name of Christ.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries remembers and celebrates the life of Rev. Krister Stendahl, remembers his family in our prayers, and honors the legacy his words and actions leave to those seeking justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the Lutheran Church.

A memorial service is planned for Friday, May 16, at 3 p.m. in Harvard’s Memorial Church.

For a full obituary, please visit the Harvard Divinity School’s website.

"I was there. I saw it."

“You have been revealed, I was there – I saw it – you are children of God, bearers of the message that we are all children of God. I will tell the truth about that wherever I go, and you will tell the truth about what you saw and heard.”
Rev. Erik Christensen’s sermon on 1/20/08

“I was there. I saw it.”

These words were a sort of refrain in Rev. Erik Christensen’s sermon at Salem English Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 20, 2008, the day after they called and ordained Pastor Jen Nagel.

The gospel reading for that day (John 1:29-42) began “The next day….” But before we could really listen to what would come next, we had to ask what just happened.

We had all witnessed an extraordinary ordination, attended by hundreds of people from across the Twin Cities and around the nation. Jen Nagel was the 13th pastor since 1990 to be called and ordained by a Lutheran congregation that was standing up to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s policy against ordaining pastors in same-sex partnerships (or those in principled noncompliance to that policy). We gathered to be reminded of our baptism and to set apart for public ministry Pastor Jen Nagel. Pastor Jen was the 13th since 1990, but she was the 5th since October of 2007, showing the momentum among churches opening their pulpits to pastors of all sexual orientation and gender identity.

Even those who weren’t there are witness to the powerful work that is happening because of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

Gifts to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries mean so much. We cannot operate with your support–ELM is funded entirely by individuals and congregations. We need your support now because this year we hope to do more than ever before.

Your gift to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries does the following:

  • Provides direct support to Mission Partners–openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Lutheran pastors serving congregations and specialized ministries.
  • Helps us reach out to new congregations, seminary students, and pastors not yet on our roster
  • Provides emergency response to pastors being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Raise awareness that God calls people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to ordained ministry in the Lutheran church.

Thank you for your support and for considering a gift!