Starting this month, we are inviting people who support Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) to share how and why they are involved with our ministry. This month we hear from Margaret Moreland about when she first thought our ministry was worth supporting and why she’s continued to invest in our mission.
“I first realized the need for the ministry that ELM does at the January 20, 1990 ordination service for Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart, and Jeff Johnson. At the time of that service, I had not been thinking about LGBT issues in the church; I attended because I knew it was a controversial and interesting thing that was happening. During the service I heard the prayers of people who felt profoundly changed by what was happening in that service: people who had not felt welcome in any church in years, people whose gay or lesbian children had left the church, people who were afraid to follow a call to ordained ministry. At the end of the service I felt that I had only two options: leave the church that was causing so much pain or work to change the church.
I began to donate money to Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (LLGM) which had just been formed, but that was not enough. Happily about two years later, Pr. Jeff Johnson invited me to meet with a group of people to plan starting a candidacy program for gay and lesbian seminarians. I joined them and we started working on what became the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (ECP). Since then I have served on the board of one of ECP, LLGM, or ELM almost continuously. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without this wonderful ministry. I’ve met amazing, talented, wonderful people: the pastors and candidates who have been able to be called and ordained; the members of the congregations and ministries that called these pastors. Ministry happens because of the work of ELM.
The change of policy in the ELCA has not changed my commitment to the work of ELM. LGBTQ clergy, rostered lay leaders, and seminarians still will have a difficult time being accepted in many parts of the church. I will continue to support this work which has changed so many lives, including mine.”
Margaret Moreland serves on the board of directors for ELM and is currently chair of the Ministry Grants program. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her spouse, Bennett Falk.