PREMIER! A new 6 minute video about ELM

“ELM Today” is a 6 minute video telling the stories of seminarians, pastors, and church leaders and about the work of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. It’s a great way to learn about and share the work of ELM!


Watch the video here! And share it with your friends!

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries received a grant from the St. Francis Lutheran Church Endowment in San Francisco for this project.

This film was made in one day at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. We’re so grateful to the leaders and ELM supporters who offered their stories for this film.  Filmmaker Rich Tolsma, a member of University Lutheran in Philadelphia did an absolutely amazing job capturing the stories to create one narrative.

We invite you to share this video with friends, family & congregations. This is an excellent tool for congregations and other individuals and groups who want to learn about ELM or are asking the question: “Do we still need ELM?”

Rather than just watching the video and thinking “how good it is that someone is doing something!” we hope this video inspires you (and perhaps your congregation) to get involved with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and support LGBTQ people who are called to ministry in the Lutheran church. 

If you wish to use this with your congregation or in another setting, there is no need to contact us.  But you are very welcome to if you’d like to discuss ways others are using it.  Contact Rachael at  And check out our viewer’s guide below!

Viewer’s Guide: CLICK HERE for a 1 page list of discussion questions.


2013 Proclaim Retreat: Life changing experience

The 2013 Proclaim Retreat earlier this month was a beautiful & moving weekend.  One person called it “life changing” in their evaluation.  

Some reflections from the retreat:

“One couldn’t go away from this retreat except feeling hugged, encouraged and especially stretched intellectually about the deeper breadth of our ministry.” (Pastor Bob Goldstein, retired)

“Both at the retreat and throughout the year, this community exemplifies for me what it means to ‘be church.'” (Becca Sealy, Seminarian)

“Why do I need the Proclaim community? Because this is the community who know how to listen for God’s “Here is the way’ in the midst of a church that continues to say “We aren’t quite ready for you yet. These Lutheran LGBTQ faith leaders challenge and comfort, inspire and heal me in ways that no one else can.” (Tim Feiertag, Awaiting First Call)

“The Proclaim retreat is one of the places I feel the most me…a place where my queerness, my faith, and my vocation can live and breathe together most freely.” (Pastor Jen Rude, Chicago Night Ministry)

“The Proclaim Retreat was a tremendous blessing for me. As a new seminarian struggling through the end of my first year, it provided me with the opportunity not only to feel inspired and reinvigorated, but also to learn a lot about some important topics that I hadn’t had much exposure to yet.” (Brian Hornbecker, Seminarian)

“I have been renewed, cleansed by the water, fed at the table, and gathered among a people of light, hope, and love. It is an Easter celebration.” (Sara Cogsil, Awaiting First Call)

The group photo below by Emily Ann Garcia displays the joy felt by all who attended. We’ve put up a wonderful collection of photos from the retreat that we’d love to share with you:  View photos from the retreat here. 

2013 Retreat Group photo

Proclaim is an ELM program. You support this work through your contributions to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Every dollar makes experiences like the Proclaim retreat a reality–and in turn you  are affecting ministry throughout the church.  Thank you to our wonderful supporters for making this happen!

Learn more about Proclaim by visiting

Ordination of Jeanine Reardon

Jeanine ordination- April 2013 On April 6, 2013 friends, family,  clergy and other rostered leaders gathered at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Evanston, IL to witness the ordination of Jeanine Reardon.  Jeanine is a member of Proclaim, the professional community for Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders, and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQ.

Jeanine has followed a 14.5 year path to ministry.  She is active in the Proclaim community and served as Chaplain for this past year.  She and her partner, Julie Boleyn, live in Berwyn, IL with their daughter.

The service included a sermon by Proclaim member Rev. Jen Rude.  Read the sermon here.

Congratulations to Jeanine as she continues with her ministry at St. Paul and in chaplaincy.

ELM banner at Proclaim retreat

This was the first ordination that used ELM’s new hand painted silk worship banners. The banners were created by artist Kristen Gilje.  The banners will be used for special services such as installations and ordinations. The banners were made possible by special gifts from Bonny and John Vaught, Erik Stevens, the Revs. Jen Nagel & Jane McBride, Jerry & Val Vagts, David Lester & Amalia Vagts, and other friends from Holden Village.  Thank you these supporters for making the banners a reality! 


Joel Workin (left) and Paul Jenkins

Now accepting applications for 2013 Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship for LGBTQ Seminarians

Joel Workin (left) and Paul Jenkins
Joel Workin (left) and Paul Jenkins

2013 marks the 18th anniversary of Joel’s passing from AIDS. This year, ELM will award a $1,000 grant to a seminary student who meets the eligibility criteria and submits a qualifying application.  The award comes with a $1,000 scholarship which may be used for tuition, educational costs, spiritual and professional development, and candidacy expenses. For more information about Joel go here.

This will be the sixth year that a Joel R. Workin Memorial scholarship has been awarded.  This award is open to all LGBTQ seminarians who are members of Proclaim.  Click here for the Proclaim membership form.  

The Joel R. Working Memorial Scholarship Endowment Committee includes Joel’s friends and former classmates, the Rev. Jeff R. Johnson and Greg Egertson; friend and former co-worker, Michael Nelson;  first Workin recipient, the Rev. Jen Rude; and ELM Executive Director, Amalia Vagts.  We invite you to apply or encourage eligible persons to do so.  

To be considered for the award, your completed application must be submitted to the scholarship committee no later than Friday, May 10, 2013.  All application materials must be submitted electronically to  The scholarship committee will notify applicants of its decision on or before May 29, 2013.

Download the scholarship application here.

If you would like to make a gift designated for the Joel R. Workin Endowment Fund, please contact Amalia Vagts, Executive Director at or 563-382-6277.

Please consider making a planned gift from your estate to this fund.

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square & Palm Sunday Rally Against Violence

12-pastorsSt. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square and a group of churches on Chicago’s Northwest Side united on Palm Sunday to form an anti-violence network that encourages community members to step up and promote peace in the streets. 

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square hosted the ecumenical Palm Sunday rally “A Remedy for Violence”.  Proclaim member Rev. Erik Christensen has been the pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square since 2006.  

Photo on the right:  “I will be a remedy for violence!” Pastor Bruce, Pastor Erik Christensen of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square, and St. Luke’s members Jessica Schimpff, Will Storm (seminarian), and Noel Spain.

The event was covered in the Chicago area media, including the Chicago Tribune:

Leaders and members of several community organizations spoke to more than 50 people — including little children — about the root causes of violence, from poverty to homelessness to unemployment.  At the beginning of the forum, people gathered in the front of the room as they sang, chanted and held signs calling for an end to the violence. Some who attended also shared stories about losing jobs, spending time in prison and dealing with violence in schools.

Read the full article by Jennifer Delgado here.  

Univision has Spanish language video coverage of the event available here

More photos of the event are on the Remedy for Violence is a project of Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance (LSEA) and ALSO (Alliance of Local Service Organizations) can be accessed here

In response to the Palm Sunday event, “A Remedy for Violence,” at St. Luke’s the Chicago Tribune journalist Robert Koehler wrote this piece

To stay updated or get involved visit: