Giving Thanks and Giving Back

Proclaim members (L-R) John Brett, Caleb Crainer and Brenda Bos

In celebration of Caleb Crainer’s upcoming ordination this Saturday we are posting about an essay he wrote for the Proclaim community about going through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s candidacy process as an LGBTQ person.

Caleb has accepted a call at  St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in West Los Angeles, CA. Read more about Caleb’s ordination here.   Caleb is a member of Proclaim and serves as Secretary to the Proclaim Team. Caleb is thankful to ELM and the  Proclaim community for assisting him through his call process. 

Caleb writes,

“I give credit to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and Proclaim for my eventual ordination for several reasons. The support and love that I found in this community, along with the sage wisdom from other leaders helped me navigate the various processes.  At the Proclaim retreat, I met pastors in the synod where I was assigned. It was their initiative that brought me there for the Synod Assembly, and afforded me the opportunity to meet face-to-face with synodical staff and a potential call committee. Those connections resulted in my receiving an interview and eventually a call. Proclaim helped that to happen. I hope that in the future I can be such a valuable advocate for new clergy, it really makes all the difference.” 

Caleb has already been a resource to others. While he was in the middle of the candidacy process, he took time to write a reflection piece for others in candidacy.  He shared this document on, a place for the Proclaim community to connect online. 

Caleb shared his own difficulties enduring a sometimes confusing and frustrating process. He had some particular advice for LGBTQ candidates talking about sexual orientation or gender identity with bishops and the candidacy committee; being creative and honest in paperwork; doing research about synods and congregations; and being patient.

We could all make good use of Caleb’s final piece of advice, “Take care of yourself and take the opportunity to learn some new avenues for self-care…you’ll need them someday.”

Learn more about Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and Proclaim on our website:

ELM Ministry Grant recipient St. Luke’s Lutheran Church presents the Boulevard Bash this weekend

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square, a 2012 ELM Ministry Grant recipient presents the Boulevard Bash  in Chicago this weekend. St. Luke’s has strong connections to ELM- it’s the home of the ELM office and ELM’s Operations Coordinator, Rachael Johnson has been working part time at the church this summer. Rev. Erik Christensen is the pastor at St. Luke’s and is a member of Proclaim. The Boulevard is a 3-day celebration of Chicago’s best music, food and culture located in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.For the past few years St. Luke’s has been working on reinventing and invigorating their congregation. The Boulevard gives St. Luke’s an opportunity to be visible in the community and a portion of the entrance donations benefit St. Luke’s.

This year’s St. Luke’s booth for the Boulevard will feature an interactive community art project to engage the people at the event in the expression of their memories and hopes in the neighborhood. Drawings and writings will be attached to tree branches which will then hang around the edges of their sanctuary during the season of creation.

If you live in Chicago or are visiting this weekend be sure to stop by- festivities begin on Friday, August 24th at 5pm and continue until Sunday (8/26) at 9pm.

St. Luke’s has been an ELM Ministry Grant recipient for five years and this is their final year of funding. For more information on ELM’s Ministry Grant program click here.  ELM staff has personally seen St. Luke’s revitalization and growth over the past few years, it’s a very exciting time for this congregation located in an up and coming neighborhood of Chicago.

Ordination of Caleb Crainer

Caleb CrainerCaleb Crainer will be ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 2:00 PM at:

Zion Lutheran Church
1017 North Washington Street
Hutchinson, KS 67501

Please wear red

At 4pm a reception will follow at:
Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
1100 North Plum Street
Hutchinson, KS 67501

Caleb has been called to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in west Los Angeles, CA. Caleb is a member of Proclaim, the professional community for publicly-identified LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders and seminarians- a program of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Caleb graduated from the Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Over the years he has learned that church can be a place where people can get to know folks of different backgrounds, ages, and places in life; where we can listen to stories from a different era alongside our elder friends or learn the familiar Bible stories again for the first-time alongside youngsters.

Being a publicly-identified gay man has led him to proactive visions of inclusion and hospitality. Caleb wants to say “Thank you so  much to the entire Proclaim community. It is because of your support and advice that I am at this exciting threshold.” Caleb embraces and celebrates diversity, and is proud to be called by a congregation that enjoys all kinds of folks.


Join two pastors from Proclaim for a conversation about LGBTQ homeless youth on a webinar

Proclaim members Rev. Dawn Roginski & Rev. Megan Rohrer will be leading a webinar tomorrow, August 10 at noon pacific time. Invitation is below.

Join us for a conversation about LGBTQ homeless youth on a webinar.

This event is also open to those who are interested in working with LGBTQ Homeless youth, seminarians and those of no particular faith who want to learn how to work with faith groups. Our first webinar will enable participants to network & share best practices.

A project of Welcome, sponsored by the Sam Mazza Foundation, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations Bay Area. For more information or to be added to our email list, contact the Rev. Megan Rohrer at

We will meet every second Friday through the end of 2012.

Additional webinars will focus on:
*Information about Gender and Transgender Youth
*Laws, Policy and Discrimination
*Other issues raised by the group.

Guest blogger: Rev. Craig Minich shares reflections from New Orleans

Today we hear from guest blogger Rev. Craig Minich, ELM Ministry Grant recipient and Proclaim member. Craig attended the ELCA Youth Gathering with the East Bay Lutheran Youth Program.

Excerpts from Rev. Craig Minich at the East Bay Lutheran Youth Program/New Orleans Multicultural Youth Leadership Event & ELCA Youth Gathering

The ELCA Youth Gathering Day 2: Yesterday we sweat buckets at our mural project. We made great relationships with the local folk, the boys held their own playing pick-up basketball with some tough players from the neighborhood. Even though there were mural leaders with competing egos, we weathered their storm, and found many God moments. High point was the free time, dance, and dinner at the MYLE conference after a long and sweaty days work. It raised our spirits and led nicely into our prayer and reflection time last night!

The ELCA Youth Gathering Day 3 (Dome edition): It was the first time I had been on the floor for a National Gathering, and I have to say that I was quite amped up by all the energy.  It was exciting! There were pre-opening concerts, conga lines that were 1000’s of people long and so much cheering and so many smiles.  When the lights went out to begin the program at 7 pm, I was so struck by the lip dub at the opening session at the super dome… it was a great use of technology, and it felt so exciting. It was a privilege to hear Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber Pa-reach it as well! She gave a shout out to my mentor & colleague Rev. Ross Merkel & one of my congregations, St. Paul Lutheran in Oakland! Our group cheered from two places in the dome and the kids were so excited and touched to hear of her connection and faith journey there. It was amazing. She made Ross out to be a spiritual rock star (which he kind of is). Best line: (On helping Nadia on her faith journey) ‘Ross is like the vampire that turned me (Lutheran)!” Ross.. Vampire…bwa hah hah!  We heard booming thunder toward the end of the session and the loud rain pouring onto the Dome’s metal roof. We were held at the Super-Dome for two hours due to severe weather.  It was definitely an experiential learning experience as many of us were jarred into the reality that so many people were trapped in the Dome for so much longer from such a bigger storm during Katrina.  When we were released, we walked in the pouring rain with heat lightening all around us.  Our group got separated in the mass of people (no kids were without adults), but we eventually (after much consternation) met up with each other.  Drenched and weary, we had a short meeting and went to our rooms to decompress from the day and slip into deep sleep.

The ELCA Youth Gathering (Day 5): 500+ Lutherans in our yellow ‘have you hugged a Lutheran today?’ shirts worshipped together. Bishop Mark preached & Nate, Nat & I served communion at one of the stations. It was emotionally over-whelming handing out the body of Christ to so many beautiful and vibrant young people! When I was extraordinarily ordained 11 years ago, I never dreamed I’d be welcomed back into the ELCA and to be invited to do this. I cried tears of sadness at what had been, tears of joy and thanksgiving in that moment of grace, tears as I made eye contact with so many youth I have ministered to in our synod (sending some of them onto college – sniff) & also glimpsing into the beautiful spirits of new friends in that moment of Grace; In that multivalent moment in the confluence of God’s amazing grace, I also cried tears of exhaustion as I have given much of myself away this journey… tears. I’ve prayed all day for God to refresh the deep wells of Grace she has bestowed in me, which felt like all that was left was a mere fleeting puddle…

Pr. Craig Minich lives in the West Bay with his partner Bruce.  Craig is originally from Tampa, FL and took a BA in Literature and Philosophy at Lenior-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, an MA in ethics from the Graduate Theological Union, and a M.Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (the latter two both in Berkeley, CA).  Pr. Craig is Adult Chair of the Sierra Pacific Synod Youth Committee (SPSYC) which is a youth-led group of Lutheran high school leaders from Fresno to Redding to Reno which empowers the committee to minister with youth from across the synod.  Pr. Craig loves to snowboard, to play Rock Band, to make Biblically-themed movies with his youth group, and LOVES going to theater, movies, concerts, and traveling around the world!