Welcome Sign

From the road

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Welcome Sign
Sign at the foot of ELM supporters’ driveway.

It’s a sunny Saturday morning and I’m sitting in a quiet coffee shop in the West Village of New York City. Today is the 8th day I’ve been on the road meeting with supporters and friends of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. My travels have taken me from San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York City. This may sound extravagant, but it is often much more affordable to book a multi-city trip and thanks to the wonderful hospitality I’ve received along the way, the expense to ELM has been very modest.

It can be difficult to travel. It is hard to be away from my home and my family. But I have been so royally treated – welcomed into people’s homes, fed, taken out, and been blessed by rich conversation about faith, life, ELM, and more.

This sense of being blessed is best expressed in this sign. This sign was hanging at the end of the driveway of supporters of ELM. Although we have talked by phone and exchanged letters, I had not yet visited this couple. The warmth and kindness exuding  from this sign was shared exponentially during my time with them. They were eager to hear the stories of LGBTQ leaders and how their support for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries has been impacting people all across the church. They put my name in big letters, but what is clear is that their love is for this ministry and the collective work that we are all engaged in.

After I left Los Angeles, I received an email from a Proclaim member. A few of us had gathered at his home and he wrote that being with others from Proclaim encouraged him to lead a workshop on LGBTQ matters at a conference he was attending.  He wrote the following note to me about the workshop:

 “I was able to talk about Proclaim, about the positive impact that being public with my identity has had for my ministry and the support I’ve received from friends near and far through ELM. I also think the straight folks who came to the session also left empowered by each other and excited about finding ways to broach potential controversy in service to the Gospel. It was freakin’ cool.”

This ministry is “freakin’ cool.”  For many years, LGBTQ leaders were prevented from following their call to ministry. And still today, many barriers exist. Despite that, publicly identified LGBTQ people have been doing ministry throughout time, bringing their voices, hearts, passion for ministry, and faith to people longing to hear it.

I’m so very grateful to all of the people who have opened their guest rooms (am in my 4th guest room tonight), made dinner or breakfast for me, taken me out for a meal or coffee, shared in rich conversation, and, most of all, shared their support and passion for this work.