Formerly a teacher and drug and alcohol counselor; Ruth was ordained on January 20, 1990 and served as the Associate Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism at St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco. She served in this position from 1990 to 2005.
In 1990, she founded Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministry along with her colleagues, Pastors Jeff Johnson and Phyllis Zillhart, to provide an outreach to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community of the San Francisco Bay Area. These three persons were the first openly lesbian and gay people to be ordained in the Lutheran Church.
Ruth was ordained extra ordinem in January 1990 in a service at historic St. Paulus Lutheran Church in San Francisco that was attended by over 1000 persons, with participation by over 70 clergy members. She was considered ineligible for placement in an ELCA congregation because of a denominational policy that required a pledge of celibacy from gay and lesbian pastors.
An accomplished stained glass designer, Ruth has helped congregations express their mission and identity through the arts. You can see two of her projects at St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco and Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Sacramento, CA. Currently, Ruth is working as a chaplain for Hospice of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
In 2008, Ruth Co-founded, together with her ELM colleague Richard Andersen, a new ministry called Third Act Life Discovery. Third Act invites people to consider the question “Who do I want to be and how do I want to live in the third act of my life?” Check out this ministry at www.thirdactlifediscovery.org
Ruth was received on the ELCA Clergy Roster in a special “Rite of Reception” in the Saint Paul Area Synod on September 18, 2010, in a special celebration with ELM roster colleagues Phyllis Zillhart and Anita Hill.
On Oct. 21, 2010, Ruth was also issued a Letter of Call to Specialized Ministry as Hospice Chaplain for Hospice of the Twin Cities.