Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Announces 2009 Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholar

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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.