Jen Rude

Happy First Day to ELM Program Director Rev. Jen Rude!

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Jen Rude
The Rev. Jen Rude

by Amalia Vagts, Executive Director

It’s Jen’s first day in the office as the new ELM Program Director and I would love for you to join me in welcoming her!

This is a major step for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and one we couldn’t take without our committed and visionary supporters. Our organization began as a grassroots effort twenty-three years ago.  The efforts of those first leaders and congregations led to a wider movement in the Lutheran church to support LGBTQ people called to rostered ministry. Grassroots and volunteer leadership have been central to keeping this work going over the years. In 2006, thanks to the One Voice campaign, ELM was able to hire its first full-time staff person. I was honored to take on that role of Development Director to help (then) Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries expand our base of supporters and outreach.

In 2008, we added the position of Operations Coordinator and changed my position to Executive Director. Rachael Johnson served as Operations Coordinator until this past August, when she moved to Portland, OR. At that time, the ELM Board assessed our current staffing needs and capacity and decided our programs were at a place where we need dedicated program staff. Rather than fill the Operations Coordinator position, we created the full-time Program Director role and were lucky enough to hire the Rev. Jen Rude for the job.

Jen will be working full-time from the Chicago office. Her primary focus will be directing ELM’s three programs: Proclaim, Candidacy Accompaniment, and Ministry Engagement.  She can be reached via email at or by phone at 773-235-0610. You can read all about Jen’s background and vision for ministry here.

Even though we’ve been able to move to two full-time staff positions, Jen and I could not (and don’t want!) to do this work alone. It is only thanks to the devoted board members, volunteers and supporters that we can pursue our vision of a church where all people can serve God according to their callings.

Thanks for doing your part. Please join me in welcoming Jen!