A member of St. Francis Lutheran Church, Charles Schuler, put together this light-hearted video from the reception dinner for the historic welcoming of St. Francis Lutheran Church back into the ELCA, on February 27, 2011.
The work of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries grew out of the work of two previous organizations, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (founded in 1990) and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (founded in 1993).
Early in 2006, a group of representatives from LLGM and ECP formed a vision team to begin discussing a merger. On February 17, 2007 , the leaders of Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project formally agreed to merge, forming a new organization. The leadership approved a vision document and created a team to draft a theology statement. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries was founded on October 31, 2007.
Brief History and Purpose of Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (LLGM)
LLGM was founded in 1990 when two San Francisco congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) decided to call and ordain a gay man and a lesbian couple to be their pastors in violation of a church policy that prohibiting gay, lesbian and bisexual (with a same gender partner) pastors from serving its congregations unless they agreed to life long celibacy. These congregations not only believed that this policy was unjust, but also that it was critical for their credibility, integrity and evangelism that their congregations be served by openly identified sexual minority pastors who fully lived or endorsed same sex relationships.
These pastors were fully qualified for ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) but for their refusal to comply with the ELCA’s requirement of life long celibacy. The congregations that called them – St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church – are diverse congregations that include all sexual orientations, ages, races, and genders.
LLGM became a model ministry demonstrating the gifts and benefits ordained leadership by sexual minority pastors bring to a congregation and community. The establishment of LLGM spurred inspiration for those seeking full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people and staunch adherence to policy from the institution. After a grueling trial the St. Francis and First United were expelled from the ELCA. In subsequent years an increasing number of pastors and seminarians were being forced from Lutheran ministry in the ELCA and turned to LLGM for help.
In 1993, LLGM’s sister organization, The Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) was started to provide a structure for pastors, other rostered ministers, and seminarians to gain or retain their professional credentials. The ECP provides the same strict and rigorous certification and rostering process for ministry candidates as the ELCA, but also honors relationships. In 1995 LLGM realized that at the same time there was a growing roster of ministers to serve, there were congregations interested in calling them. Therefore LLGM formally partnered with the ECP to create, facilitate, and support ministry placements for its roster and expand its work nationwide.
In 1995 LLGM awarded its first ministry partnership support. In addition, LLGM has provided emergency assistance, technical assistance and legal support to pastors, seminarians, and congregations facing discipline of negative ramifications because of their support of GLBT pastors.
Brief History and Purpose of the Extraordinary Candidacy Project
Formed in 1993, The Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) was created to credential openly gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender seminarians, candidates, ordained and commissioned ministers preparing for professional vocations in Lutheran ministry, primarily congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP) was opposed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) policy of mandated celibacy for sexual minority persons who seek ordination to Word and Sacrament ministry. In part, the ECP was a project of resistance to this policy, to its lack of consistent enforcement of the policy, and to its practice of encouraging intentional deception to avoid the ramifications of the policy. ECP understood the policy to be a fundamental violation of the creation of all persons as sexual beings and of the sacredness of the primary relationships of all people.
The ECP was more than resistance. It was a new way of being church in the world. If “ordinary” had come to mean “discriminatory,” we chose the adjective “extraordinary” to deliberately emphasize the “out-of-the-ordinary” nature of our project.
The ECP candidacy process was modeled on the candidacy process of the ELCA.
This month ELM had two more members join the Board of Directors, ELM’s governing body. Julie Boleyn and Jim Kowalski both bring a wide range of skills and experiences to the Board of Directors.
Julie Boleyn grew up in Oregon, attending a Lutheran church for the first time at the invitation of a high school friend. While still in high school, she became a Sunday School teacher, jr. high youth leader, and sang in the choir. Almost directly upon graduation, Julie started working for a start-up software company as their first employee. While the work was interesting, she found her real joy was always in the volunteer work she did with the church.
In 1997, Julie volunteered on long-term staff at Holden Village. It was there that she discerned a call to the ministry as a parish pastor. In May 2010, Julie completed her masters at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Julie and her partner, Jeanine Reardon, were married in a church ceremony at St. Paul Lutheran in Evanston, Illinois in October of 2004. They live in Chicago with their daughter.
Jim Kowalski grew up in suburban Pittsburgh, attending and being confirmed in a Lutheran congregation. He went to college at Emory University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. Jim moved to San Francisco in 1992 with his spouse Bruce Jervis, after the both served four years in the US Navy. They joined St. Francis Lutheran Church shortly thereafter, and Jim has served in many leadership roles there, including on the congregational Council and as co-chair of a capital fund-raising campaign.
Jim worked through April 2010 at Golden Gate University in a variety of capacities, including alumni relations, fund-raising and program administration. He served on the board of Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries from 2003 to 2006 and is delighted and honored to be serving as co-chair of the Prophets and Workers Campaign for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
Our coalition partners, Lutherans Concerned/North America, issued the following announcement about an upcoming re-broadcast of a program on the Oprah Network featuring The Naming Project. The Naming Project was founded by Rev. Jay Wiesner, Ross Murray, and Rev. Brad Froslee. The original broadcast received great reviews.
An excerpt from LC/NA’s announcement:
The Naming Project will be part of a program, “Pray the Gay Away?,” being re-broadcast on Friday night, March 11, at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central. This program is part of the Our America with Lisa Ling series of programs. Immediately following the program will be The Gayle King Hour, discussing the program with Lisa Ling and taking questions from the viewers.
Our America is broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network and other cable networks.
For additional information about “Pray the Gay Away?” and to check where on your local cable station, go to http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/our-america-blog.html or direct to http://tinyurl.com/PrayTheGayAway.
The Naming Project is a faith-based youth group serving youth of all sexual and gender identities. The primary focus is to provide a place for youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or allied to learn, grow, and share their experiences. In this way The Naming Project is a space in which youth can comfortably discuss faith and who they understand themselves to be–whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender…or straight. Learn more about the Naming Project at www.thenamingproject.org.
IRA Charitable Rollover: Additional Way to Give in 2011
ELM is expanding our vision and programming, and we will rely on the generous support of current and new supporters to do so. I wanted to tell our supporters about a special way you or your loved ones can give to ELM in 2011.
Late in 2010, the IRA Charitable Rollover provision was extended through December 31, 2011. This allows the owner of a traditional or Roth IRA to distribute to a public charity up to $100,000 a year without the distribution being included in taxable income. The distribution counts toward the donor’s mandatory withdrawal amount.
Individuals with traditional and Roth IRAs can make direct transfers from such plans to ELM or to our endowment, housed at the Lutheran Community Foundation. Some restrictions apply:
- Individuals must be 70-1/2 or older on the date of the gift (if you aren’t…keep reading for a fun idea!).
- Individuals may give up to $100,000 per year without having to count the distribution / charitable gift as taxable income, but there is no income tax deduction for the gift.
- Charitable gifts must be made outright to the endowment fund by the IRA plan administrator (meaning you direct your IRA manager to send the gift directly to ELM). Lifetime income gifts and gifts to donor-advised funds and supporting organizations do not qualify for this incentive.
Our friends at the Lutheran Community Foundation shared this observation: “Given these parameters, the charitable rollover provision provides the most opportunity for those who must take their required minimum distributions from an IRA, but would prefer to direct it to charity instead. These individuals may have either maxed out on tax deductions or don’t itemize.”
Your gift can be designated where most needed for ELM or could be made to the Lutheran Community Foundation, designated for the ELM Endowment Fund.
Are you thinking, but I’m not 70-1/2 years old? This might be a way for your parents or grandparents to make a special gift to support your passion for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Invite your loved ones to consider a gift in your honor for a special occasion, or just because. For more information about making a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA, please contact your financial planner or Amalia at 563-382-6277.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Lutheran pastors and rostered lay leaders from around the country (and even the world) are getting ready for a first-of-its-kind retreat next month.
For many years, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) has hosted an annual retreat for members of the ELM roster. Each year, this group would come together for community and professional development. This year, ELM is launching Proclaim, the new professional community open to all publicly-identified LGBTQ Lutheran pastors and rostered lay leaders. So when the retreat begins on April 1, it will include leaders not only from the ELM roster, but also the ELCA and other Lutheran rosters. This retreat will be the official launch of Proclaim.
49 people have registered for the retreat. About half the group have prior ELM connections and about half do not. We are especially delighted that the group includes 15 seminarians! And thanks to the generosity of ELM donors, we were able to award scholarships to 18 attendees. Attendees are coming from all parts of the United States and beyond–9 from Chicago; 15 from the Twin Cities; 4 from the Midwest; 7 from the East Coast, South & Southwest; and 11 from the West Coast. AND…1 from South Africa and 1 from Alaska!
The 2011 Proclaim Retreat will be April 1-3 at the George Williams Conference Center near Lake Geneva, WI. The key presenter will be Lisa Larges, who has long worked for ordination for lesbian and gay people in the Presbyterian church and serves as Ministry Coordinator for That All May Freely Serve.