The Rev. Jane Ralph

The Rev. Jane Ralph

Jane Ralph was ordained April 24th, 1992. She served as pastor of St. James Lutheran Church, Director of The Child Abuse Prevention Ministry  in a synodical call to Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry and as pastor of King of Glory Lutheran Church all in or around Kansas City, MO before being removed from the ELCA roster in 1998.

Since then Jane’s ministry has taken many turns and she has found herself working in media advocacy for GLAAD, homeless ministries and services at N Street Village in DC and COTS in Burlington, VT, and as Multicultural Outreach Coordinator for Holden Village. Along the way her unpaid work included significant investment in Soulforce, Anti-racism work, faith based community organizing and leadership in LLGM.

In June 2007 Jane was selected as Executive Director of the Clarina Howard Nichols Center in Morrisville, VT a feminist organization dedicated to ending sexual and domestic violence through survivor centered service and advocacy. Jane serves as Co-Chair on the Board of the Vermont Network to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and on the Core Team of The Women of Color Network’s Call to Action.

Jane and her partner, Ellen Maxon live in Worcester, VT with their dog, Mocha and their cat, Yoda

ELM Grants

Each year, ELM supports ministry by publicly-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender rostered and queer leaders through our Grants program.  We have provided over $750,000 in funding for ministry by LGBT leaders since 1990.  ELM awarded $62,000 in Mission Partner Grants in 2011.  The grant recipients are selected by the Grants program, led by Margaret Moreland.

2011 Grant Recipients

ELM will give away $62,000 in 2011 to support ministry by LGBTQ rostered leaders. This year’s grant recipients are:

EcoFaith Recovery
EcoFaith Recovery

EcoFaith Recovery

Portland, OR: Rev. Robyn Hartwig $15,000

ELM continues to support this ministry that: “Develops and supports spiritual recovery from the addictive patterns of human life that contribute to the climate crisis, heighten social injustice, deprive people of spiritual meaning, and threaten life on earth.

The means of fostering eco-spiritual recovery includes retreats, workshops, spiritual practices, institutional reform, and pilgrimages to reconnect with the natural world.”- EcoFaith website

Chicago, IL: Rev. Erik Christensen $6,000

St. Luke’s continues to experience growth in membership and development. Outreach to the community for music & arts and healing & healthcare continues, along with partnering with neighborhood organizations.

Houston, Texas: Rev. Lura Groen $15,000

This urban congregation continues to grow and expand. One recent significant project is the development of Montrose Grace Place, whose mission is: “not to evangelize, convert, judge or shame, but to provide a safe, welcoming environment for vulnerable homeless youth of all sexualities and gender identities, providing nourishment, healthy relationships and hope for the future.”- Grace Lutheran Church website

Rev. Pieter Oberholzer (center)

South Africa: Rev. Pieter Oberholzer $8,000

This new grant will fund outreach to churches in southern Africa that are welcoming and affirming, where LGBTQ people can participate fully and be strengthened in their spiritual, psychological and sexual identity as human beings. IAM will host programs that support, empower and stimulate dialogue. Check out their new website (above).

Rev. Dan Hooper
Rev. Dan Hooper


Hollywood Lutheran Church

Los Angeles, CA: Rev. Dan Hooper (pictured left) $18,000

This new grant will provide pastoral, mental health and community services to prisoners, parolees, and those who are homeless. This grant will further develop ministry to marginalized populations.

View More ELM Grants

ELM Co-Chair Selected to Plan Emerging Leaders Conference

Rev. Erik Christensen at CC
Rev. Christensen

ELM board co-chairs Rev. Erik Christensen and Rev. Jen Nagel are involved with an exciting upcoming event, the Emerging Leaders Institute sponsored by Plymouth Center for Progressive Christian Faith. The Institue is April 28-May 1, 2011 in Minneapolis. Diana Butler Bass is the keynote speaker.

Erik is a past attendee and this year he has been hard at work serving as conference planning chair. Jen is serving as a mentor to 2011 Institute attendees. Learn more about the Institute and how to apply by visiting the following sites:

Click here for the Emerging Leaders facebook page.

Click here for the Emerging Leaders event facebook page.

Festival of Reconciliation & Restoration at St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco

On Sunday, February 27 at 3 PM at St. Francis Lutheran Church, 152 Church Street, San Francisco, CA 94114 the Sierra Pacific Synod of the ELCA and St. Francis Lutheran Church invite you to The Festival of Reconciliation and Restoration, with the Rite of Reception, for St. Francis Lutheran Church to be restored as a congregation of the synod and of the ELCA.  Bishop Mark Holmerud, presiding.

Following the service there will be a GALA event starting at 6 PM to celebrate this historic occasion.

In 1990 St. Francis took the courageous step of calling Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart as their new pastors. This action led to a trial, and in 1995, the removal of the congregation from roster of congregations of the synod and of the ELCA.

Formal invitations will be mailed out to members and friends of St. Francis.  If you would like to join us just email us at and we will forward to you an invitation.

Human Rights Campaign Clergy Call May 22-24

New Website for Clergy Call 2011

Clergy Call for Justice and Equality is being held May 22-24, 2011 in Washington, DC. Registration for this years conference is $50. Get more information and register here.

“In 2009, 250 clergy and religious leaders from all backgrounds and faith traditions joined us in Washington to make history by standing as a unified voice for justice and equality.  Together they brought that voice to Capitol Hill ensuring Congress knew that people of faith believed in fairness for LGBT people.

Religious leadership has been critical to the successes we have seen: the passage of the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” marriage equality in 5 new states and the District of Columbia, and the legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We have made huge strides but much more remains to be done.  Join us this May as we continue to build a faithful movement that advocates for LGBT rights, locally and nationally.”

EcoFaith Recovery Party with ELM!

Young girl and Rev. Robyn Hartwig
Eco-Faith Recovery Director Rev. Robyn Hartwig

Join other friends of EcoFaith Recovery to share food, drumming, dancing & stories with each other and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries’ Executive Director Amalia Vagts.
Sunday, February 13, 2011 + 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Redeemer Lutheran Church + 5431 NE 20th Avenue; Portland, OR

Schedule of Events
6:30 p.m. – Drum and Dance Circle with “Simply in Season” Salad Buffet
7:00 p.m. – Stories of EcoFaith Recovery
7:45 p.m. – Stories of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries
8:00 p.m. – Dreaming together for the future of ELM and EcoFaith Recovery

*In thanksgiving for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, we will be welcoming donations to ELM that will support other creative and courageous Lutheran ministries across the country. EcoFaith Recovery is the direct result of a seed grant from ELM. All are welcome! Please RSVP to or Then bring a percussion instrument, and come out for a great time!

You will learn more about ELM’s work to expand ministry opportunities for publicly-identifed LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders. You will also learn more about the various ministries of EcoFaith Recovery which were created with an ELM grant.

ELM remembers Bp. Paul Egertson during the weekend of his memorial service

Candles for Paul
Candles for Paul

The ELM Board of Directors met over the weekend in Chicago for their semi-annual retreat. This meeting occurred the same weekend as Paul Egertson’s memorial service in Thousand Oaks, CA. Paul was serving on the ELM board at the time of his death.

The meeting began with a time of remembrance and celebration of Paul’s life. ELM board member, Vance Blackfox, a member of the Cherokee nation, led a simple service of story-sharing. Members placed a bit of tobacco in a small bowl and lit a candle as they shared a story or memory about Paul. Members also lifted up prayers for Paul’s wife, Shirley, and their children, especially Greg, who has been closely involved with ELM since its formation. Vance later wrapped the tobacco in a small prayer cloth and tied it to a cedar tree near our meeting place.

On Sunday, the board worshiped at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Chicago. Rev. Erik Christensen, ELM’s co-chair gave a sermon about Paul’s life and work. The sermon is part of the way the ELM Board of Directors honored Paul’s life over the weekend.  Paul’s life continues through ELM and all those whose lives he touched.

ELM Mourns the Death and Celebrates the Life of Bp. Paul Egertson

Photo of Bp. Paul Egertson
Paul at 2009 ELM Retreat. Photo by Jay Wilson

Paul W. Egertson, former ELCA bishop, and beloved advocate for the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people passed away at his home yesterday following a heart attack.

For the past two years, Paul has been serving as a member of ELM’s board of directors, the Covenant Circle.  He will be deeply missed.

We will share a longer tribute to Paul in the coming days.  In the meantime, we ask for your prayers for Paul’s beloved spouse, Shirley Egertson, their sons, and extended family.

In the forward to a collection of essays by Joel R. Workin, Paul wrote,

“When Joel died, all of us cried, and I was blessed.  It was one of those experiences you recall when reading lines like those in Robert Browning Hamilton’s poem, Along the Road:

I walked a mile with Pleasure;

She chattered all the way,

But left me none the wiser

For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow

And ne’er a word said she;

but oh, the things I learned from her

When sorrow walked with me!”

Paul, thank you for your amazing life and for your endless love and tireless advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. You have blessed us.

A memorial for Paul Egertson was held Saturday, January 15 at 1:00 p.m. at Samuelson Chapel at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA.

The Rev. Kelli Shepard

The Rev. Kelli Shepard

The Rev. Kelli Shepard, ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor, is the Director of Service Excellence/Patient Relations at BGSMC. She is from the Cincinnati, Ohio area, though she has also lived in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Illinois before coming to Arizona in 1997.

Kelli received her Bachelor of Social Work from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and went on to receive her Master of Divinity from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, also in Columbus.  In 1995 she was ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Kelli came to Banner Good Samaritan in 1997 and successfully completed a year-long CPE residency.  She continued her CPE journey as a Supervisory student , was certified as an ACPE Associate Supervisor in April of 2003, became the Director of Spiritual Care in July of 2004, and was certified as an ACPE Supervisor in March of 2006.

At the end of 2009, Rev. Shepard became the  Director of Service Excellence and Patient Relations. She still continues to supervise CPE units with the Spiritual Care Department.

The Rev. Jen Rude

The Rev. Jen Rude

Pastor Jen Rude, a 2005 graduate of the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA was extraordinarily ordained in November 2007.  She currently serves as Youth Outreach Minister at The Night Ministry in Chicago. The Night Ministry is an interfaith organization, started almost 35 years ago by churches and synagogues seeking to be a presence of faith on the nighttime streets.  Jen specifically works with homeless and runaway youth, many of whom are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

Jen currently serves on the ELM Board of Directors. In 2011 Jen Rude was approved for reception by the ELCA Metro Chicago Synod.