Joseph Graumann featured in Living Lutheran

Joseph Graumann, an MDiv candidate at Gettysburg, Fund for Leaders recipient, and Proclaim member is featured in a Living Lutheran article, and on the home page of the ELCA.  Read his full article ” Called Through Love” here

Joseph writes offered this reflection on Proclaim & the importance of community:

As a gay future pastor in the church, I am so proud to be a part of Proclaim.  Without the work of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, my education — let alone my participation in the Fund For Leaders program — would not be possible.  While in Chicago, I met with Amalia to discuss how best to further Proclaim at Gettysburg seminary, and I was happy to find that there was such a vital community to be found in the organization. Even better, I was able to connect some LGBTQ-identified classmates with Proclaim’s resources and meet a fellow Proclaim-er at our annual Luther Bowl football tournament.  Because of your work, I have found a welcome place both at Gettysburg and in the wider church.

For more on ELM’s Proclaim program go here:

2013 Grant Recipient: Rev. Megan Rohrer

POVERTY & HOMELESSNESS MINISTRY: Welcome, Rev. Megan Rohrer: $1,000   

This grant will enable Welcome to work with Lutheran congregations across the country respond to poverty & homelessness in their communities.  Rev. Megan Rohrer will be working with the ELCA Domestic Hunger Program to create best practices for congregations responding to poverty. 

How will this ELM grant help you in your ministry?

Over the years, grant support from ELM has enabled the Welcome Ministry to take our ministry to the next level.  Ten years ago, in seminary when people told me that it was impossible to be a pastor in the ELCA, ELM supported my candidacy process and gave me scholarships to the annual retreat for pastoral leaders.  Six years ago, ELM grant funds enabled me to become ordained into a full time call.  Three years ago, ELM enabled Pastor Jay Wilson to be ordained and work to enable nearly all of our homeless guests to become housed.  Today, ELM is enabling us to expand our work across the country and to work more closely as a resource to the ELCA and ELCA congregations.  ELM’s grant support has enabled me to mature and grow as a pastor and to become an integral part of the ELCA. 

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grant program go to:

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Worship resources by Rev. Jay Wilson

Photo of Jay Wilson

We are taking a short break from honoring our 2013 Grant Recipients in order to reflect on Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is committed to overcoming barriers created by gender conformity and supporting leaders of diverse gender identities and expressions.

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance we share worship resources for congregations, including different forms of Confession and Forgiveness and Prayers of the People. These materials were written by Rev. Jay Wilson. Read the full worship resources here. 

Jay is a queer and genderqueer transguy, autistic and disabled, who identifies as a Lutheran postmodern, third-wave feminist, academic geek, disability rights activist, and social justice advocate. Jay is a member of Proclaim. Jay has worked with religious communities and diverse organizations as a presenter, educator, and advocate in cross-movement anti-oppression, sexuality and gender identity, Self-Advocacy movement, and community access.  Jay served ELM as chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee.


2013 Grant Recipient: Paul Gibson

YOUTH MINISTRY: Open Doors, Sparks, NV: Paul Gibson: $2,000.

This grant provides assistance to creating Open Doors, a drop-in center for LGBTQ youth and young adults. The drop in center will be located in Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church in Sparks, Nevada. The drop-in center will create a positive impact in the LGBTQ youth community. It will provide a space for spiritual and individual growth. The space will also allow for social activities such as concerts, games, dancing, movies and discussion groups. Paul Gibson is an ELCA seminarian and interning at Lord of Mercy.  Specifically the grant ELM is providing allows for advertising and promotion of Open Doors and purchasing equipment and supplies.

How will this ELM grant help you in your ministry?

Paul Gibson: Lord of Mercy has been an RIC congregation for two years and they are eager to be a force for good and for change in the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area. The idea for Open Doors came from members of the congregation who saw an urgent need for mentoring and community-building and hoped the church could provide it. I am the first gay intern that Lord of Mercy has had, and they have been quick to recognize the gifts I offer to them and their community. This grant will enable me to lay the groundwork for a project that will continue even after I return to seminary. The project will allow me to serve an age group with which I have very little experience. It will also provide me the opportunity to work with area businesses and community leaders.

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grant program go to:

2013 Grant Recipient: Rev. Craig Minich

YOUTH MINISTRY: East Bay Lutheran Youth Program, Oakland: Rev. Craig Minich; $1,000

Elementary and family group picnic at Lake Temescal in Oakland

The East Bay Lutheran Youth Program (EBLYP) is a joint youth ministry program made up of four congregations. The program ministers to a great diversity of folks and families in terms of ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic realities, and family make-up. The program works with youth and their families from birth to post college. This ministry has been thriving for 12 years and is served by Rev. Craig Minich.

How will this ELM grant help you in your ministry?

Pastor Craig: Since I minister to the youth and families from four Lutheran churches in the East Bay of California, as well as with the youth of our 200 plus ELCA congregations in the Sierra Pacific Synod (Northern California) there is not a lack of need and ministry opportunities in our inter-generational, gospel-centered, youth-leader-training ministry. Our challenge has been in closing our budget gap for funding this ministry fully. We have vibrant congregations who give us their time and are spiritually full, but candidly are not financially affluent.  The ELM grant helps us keep our ministry thriving and gets us closer to being fully funded. We have been self-sufficient for most of our 12 years, and we hope to regain self-sufficiency in the near future. As happened in our first years, the ELM grant helped us then and helps us now bridge that financial gap. We thank you with gusto and sing praises for ELM’s generosity.

This grant will support the program by ensuring Craig can continue working in a much needed full time capacity. During this time of economic instability for families and youth in the East Bay many are having a hard time making ends meet. This ministry is needed now more than ever.

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grant program go to:

2013 Grant Recipient: Rev. David Eck

COUPLES ENRICHMENT: Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Fairview, NC: Rev. David Eck:  $2,000

Rev. David EckThis project grant will provide the starting money for LGBT Couples enrichment retreats. The program will offer 2 one-day retreats in 2013. The retreats will allow LGBT couples to come together for worship, Bible study, fellowship and relationship building. Rev. David Eck will lead portions of the retreat and it will serve couples in the Ashville, NC area.

“How will this ELM grant help you in your ministry?”

Pastor David: We are a small congregation with limited financial means.  This grant will help us to expand our ministry in a new and exciting way, becoming a more visible presence in the Asheville LGBT community. We became a Reconciling in Christ congregation earlier this year.  This project is the natural next step for us as a congregation that takes advantage of the gifts of the pastor and other church members we already have.

Pastor David hopes to develop a model for these kinds of retreats that can be shared with others across the country. The two day retreats are a chance to get their feet wet. Then they are setting their sights on an overnight retreat in 2014 and will go from there!

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grant program go to:

2013 Grant Recipient: Rev. Robyn Hartwig

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: EcoFaith Recovery, Portland, OR: Rev. Robyn Hartwig: $4,500    

EcoFaith 2012

This grant will fund the continued development of EcoFaith Recovery as a ministry of Lutherans and ecumenical partners based in the Portland metropolitan area.  EcoFaith Recovery nurtures faith-based recovery groups and relational leadership networks to help individuals, communities and institutions emerge from our intoxication with consumerism to recover our relatedness to God, ourselves, one another, and the entire Earth community.

To do this, EcoFaith Recovery helps people discover their own stories, creates experiential opportunities for learning and spiritual practice, facilitates spiritual renewal through relational organizing, trains leaders willing to call their primary institutions into recovery, provides stipend internships for seminarians and young adults, and connects leaders and congregations by building and strengthening relational networks. In these life-sustaining communities, people reclaim their stories, their lives, their passions, their various calls to ministry, and their living connection with God. In the process, EcoFaith Recovery engages in theological reform, incites action to reduce the climate crisis, fosters the renewal of community life in the Pacific Northwest, and offers a practical model for people of faith throughout the country.

How will this ELM grant help you in your ministry?

Pastor Robyn: EcoFaith Recovery’s ministry is expanding rapidly. Over 350 people have participated in our retreats, small groups, classes, workshops, networking events, worship experiences, internships, and leadership teams, most of which are conducted in partnership with other Lutheran organizations. With funding from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and other sources in 2013, EcoFaith Recovery will offer additional leadership training, implement an expanded communication plan, and develop a three-year funding strategy so it can continue to welcome people of faith into recovery from unsustainable ways of life and into the kind of life-giving alternatives our faith calls us to pursue.

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grant program go to:

2013 Grant Recipient: Rev. Matthew Bode

Matt Bode
Rev. Matthew Bode

MISSION START: Spirit of Hope, Detroit, MI: Rev. Matthew Bode: $5,000

Rev. Matthew Bode will be expanding his duties from being the sole pastor at Spirit of Hope to being part of a team supporting five Detroit Lutheran churches. This will be a new multi-congregation parish. Spirit of Hope and its new partner congregations serve a diverse community across Detroit.  This grant will assist in Pastor Bode’s salary and allow him to serve as the only LGBTQ pastor in the five congregations.  Spirit of Hope has a long history as a congregation focused on social justice.

The funds provided by ELM will help Spirit of Hope maintain its ability to support a full time pastor in a community of lower income. As a full partner in the new parish, and as a full time clergy person, Pastor Bode has the opportunity to help the other four members of the partnership learn about and grow into being welcoming congregations to LGBTQ persons. Pastor Bode is a first time ELM Ministry Grant recipient. 

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grant program go to:

2013 ELM Ministry Grants Announced!

One of the ways that ELM donors support ministry by publicly identified LGBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians is through the ELM Ministry Grants program.  Your donations to ELM fund this work. It’s inspiring to see how ELM donors are making possible all kinds of wonderful ministry throughout this church.

ELM Ministry Grants recipients are selected by our volunteer Ministry Grants Program team, led by Margaret Moreland. ELM donors have given away over $912,000 to ministry since 1995.

We are excited to announce a diverse group of ministries as our 2013 ELM Ministry Grants recipients!  In the coming days, we will feature one ministry at a time on the main page of our website: (just scroll down to our News Blog!).  By checking the blog each day, you can read in-depth about the ministries you support through your gift to ELM.  If you want to contribute to this important work, you can make an online donation by clicking here

MISSION START: Spirit of Hope, Detroit, MI: Rev. Matthew Bode: $5,000

COUPLES ENRICHMENT: Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Fairview, NC: Rev. David Eck: $2,000

YOUTH MINISTRY: Open Doors, Sparks, NV: Rev. Paul Gibson: $2,000.

YOUTH MINISTRY: East Bay Lutheran Youth Program, Oakland: Rev. Craig Minich; $1,000

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: EcoFaith Recovery, Portland, OR: Rev. Robyn Hartwig: $4,500

PARISH MINISTRY: Grace Lutheran Church, Houston, TX: Rev. Lura Groen: $2,500

POVERTY & HOMELESSNESS MINISTRY: Welcome: Rev. Megan Rohrer: $1,000

FUTURE LEADERS: 2013 Interns: $12,000

Total grants joyfully given: $30,000
Learn more about the Ministry Grants program at


Guest blogger: Sara Cogsil

Sara Cogsil

Today we hear from  guest blogger Sara Cogsil. She recently completed her internship at Advent Lutheran Church in Cedarburg, WI and is a member of  Proclaim.


I have always had a difficult time defining “home.”

In reflecting on “home” over the past few years I began to think of it in terms of wherever I happen to be making a life for myself at any spot on this journey called life.I have used it to reference the city where I was born and raised, my grandmother’s house where I took up residence for some time in college, and both of my parent’s current houses although I haven’t ever lived in either.  I also refer to my current dwelling place as my home even though it has changed a dozen times since I was fifteen.

And it seemed to work until this past weekend.

You see this past year while I was completing my internship in Cedarburg, WI, two men who were pastors to me died.  Pr. Joe was serving my “home congregation” and Pr. John had retired from my “home synod.”

One saw a call in me before I saw it myself; the other gave me the nudge to go to seminary.

One was a mentor in college, one was a mentor in seminary, and both were mentors in the pastoral office.

One death was somewhat expectant, the other was a shock, and neither was easy to accept.

I knew they both had joined the church triumphant, but I became more aware of this reality when I travelled to Cambridge, OH and joined the worshiping community of Christ Lutheran Church once again.

It was in sitting in the pew between my partner and a dear friend, I experienced God anew.

It was in looking at that old familiar cross and hearing the Baptismal waters in the font where God claimed me that I was home!

Home in the Body of Christ.

Home as I gathered around the table joined by my life partner, my dear friend, and the saints, especially Pr. Joe and Pr. John.

Home as I was sent back out to the calling in which I yearn to follow.

Home in the loving embrace of the Alpha and the Omega.

Home as a Child of God.

Thanks be to God.

Sara Cogsil is currently a senior at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. She is originally from Cambridge, OH. She anticipates graduating in May and looks forward to where God might be calling her to next.