How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!“ Romans 10:11-15
We celebrate the beautiful, good-news-bringing feet of Brenda Bos and Julie Recher, two Proclaim members who received first calls this weekend.
Brenda Bos has been called to serve as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in San Clemente, CA.
Julie Recher has been called to serve as associate pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, PA.
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? Many more gifted and called LGBTQ candidates are ready to be sent. We celebrate their gifts and pray both for candidates who continue to seek a first call and for the congregations and ministries who need their beautiful good-news-bringing feet.
Your support enables ELM to accompany, affirm, and support LGBTQ seminarians, candidates, and rostered leaders as they are called and sent to serve God’s church and world!
June is LGBTQ Pride month! It’s a time to celebrate and honor the lives and witness of LGBTQ people and allies through parades, festivals, advocacy, worship, and more. Our Proclaim members all over the country are celebrating with their faith communities and publicly proclaiming God’s love for all.
Proclaim member Rev. Dan Hooper was recently awarded a Local Hero Award in Los Angeles. See the short video and article about his work with LGBTQ folks coming out of the prison system.
Biship Guy Erwin, the first openly gay partnered bishop of the ELCA, and a member of Proclaim, offered a special pride video greeting.
Here’s how other Proclaim members are celebrating Pride:
Brian Whitton on internship in Columbus, OH: “I’m helping organize ELCA congregations to march. We’re expecting 70 or more people. We have t-shirts, will be handing out thousands of flyers for RIC congregations, and plan on singing “Marching in the Light of God” along the way.”
Nancy Wichmann, seminarian: “Here in Boston, I will be marching with the Synod’s LGBT Inclusion Team, and then helping out at the MCC booth (that’s where I preach).”
David De Block, AIM, Seattle Pride: “150+ Lutherans marched together representing 17 congregations and 3 organizations. Been a tradition for about a decade now! (Central Lutheran Church and Open Door Ministries are the organizers).”
Rev. Matt Bode, Detroit, MI: “Spirit of Hope and Central United Methodist put “God is Love” tatoos on hundreds of Pride participants. Prayers, dancing, organizing, drag shows and love had by all! There is no party like a Detroit party!!”
Rev. Susan Halvor, Alaska: At Pridefest in Anchorage, Alaska, Lutheran Church of Hope sponsored a booth (with “booth sitters” from a variety of congregations), sharing the news of God’s welcome and offering an apology to those who have been hurt by the church. Proclaim member Susan Halvor joined her fellow Lutheran clergy and laity in providing a welcoming presence, and was one of the speakers the next day at a community ecumenical Pride service, also hosted by Lutheran Church of Hope. Many thanks to Pastor Julia Seymour for her leadership in the Anchorage Lutheran community during Pridefest this week!
Chicago, IL: Proclaim Pastors Erik Christensen and Julie Boleyn, along with many others, helped plan a series of events focused on the status of LGBTI people in many nations across Africa. Pastor Judith Kotzé and Ingrid Schoonraad from South Africa’s Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM) were present for a variety of public events to share their work and deepen relationships with faith leaders and activists across the city. Details at: http://bit.ly/
Your gift supports LGBTQ pastors, candidates, and seminarians as they proclaim God’s love for ALL people through their lives and ministries. We are proud to be in partnership together. Happy Pride!
Two Thrivent representatives organized an event last Saturday night to benefit Lutheran organizations working for justice for LGBTQ people.
The representatives, Gregory Jahnke and Judith Dancer, are opposed to recent Thrivent Financial changes that make the groups Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and ReconcilingWorks ineligible for Thrivent funding.
Here’s what Greg Jahnke had to say about the event,
“The wonderful Karen Hirst and Tom Shaw entertained our guests at Martuni’s in San Francisco for a ‘fun-draiser’ for Reconciling Works and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Judith Dancer and I are openly queer Thrivent reps standing in opposition to Thrivent’s new benevolent giving program restrictions. Our guests gave $7,000 for these great organizations! Thanks to everyone who donated. You are making a difference.”
We think Greg and Judith are fabulous! We stand with them in their role as Thrivent representatives who have done much for the LGBTQ community and our organization. We have been remembering in prayer Greg, Judith, and other LGBTQ-identified Thrivent employees who have been hurt by the recent Thrivent decisions.
Thanks to these wonderful supporters, ELM will receive even more than we did through Thrivent Choice Dollars in 2013. These funds will help our efforts to ensure that LGBTQ people called to rostered ministry in the Lutheran church are affirmed and supported in their calls.
Stay tuned for how you can get involved in a continued “on-line event!”
Guest blog by Proclaim member Rachel Anderson. Rachel is a student at the Lutheran School of Theology at Philadelphia, finishing her internship year at Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church in Sparks, Nevada.
On June 29, 2013 my wife, Carrie, and I committed our lives to each other in the presence of God, our families, and our friends. It was almost a year earlier, and with much trepidation, that I came out to my wonderful candidacy liaison. We were on a weekend long retreat on the Connecticut shoreline and I was about to return to Philadelphia for my second year of seminary in just a few days. I had not kept my sexuality a secret from my candidacy committee, or the seminary, or anyone really. But I knew I had to share this part of my life with these people, out of a responsibility to Carrie, my church, and the many people who still struggle to find acceptance among God’s people. I kind of laugh when I think about the conversation we had. “I’m getting married,” I said, very matter-of-factly. “That’s great!” He said. “But I’m getting married to a woman,” and I was sure his smile was about to fade. “Even better!” he said, and gave me a great big hug.
Experiences like that confirm for me, over and over again, that the church is moving forward. They are also confirmation that ministries like Proclaim and ELM continue to be vitally important for the body of Christ. No one should have to doubt their place at the table. No one should ever be afraid that their gifts for leadership are not welcome in the church for something as inconsequential as how they were born or whom they were born to love.
But in the year 2014, for many, many… many people and organizations, one’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not inconsequential. Coming from a loving and accepting family that never batted an eye when I came out, dealing with the slow-moving church has been heart wrenching at times. During my junior year of seminary I was turned down by three potential internship sites because I am openly gay, and Carrie and I took this rejection pretty hard. Maybe I would never go on internship; maybe I would never get a chance to be a leader within the church. Maybe we were racking up all this debt just to find out that the church would never have a place for us at the table (or in the pulpit). The feeling is akin to, I’m guessing, being the last puppy in the litter to get adopted. I watched all of my seminary friends accept internships at various churches while I waited, and waited.
Looking back on that time, I am so glad for those experiences. Just over a month after we were married, Carrie and I left our friends and family in the northeast and drove across the country to Sparks, Nevada for my internship at Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church. I never could have predicted moving to the west coast for anything, much less internship. We have quickly fallen in love with northern Nevada, but mostly we have fallen in love with this absolutely fantastic congregation. These are people who have taken their calling to be the body of Christ seriously. They love to serve their neighbor, they have a deep faith, and they take their commitment to raise up new leaders in the church very seriously. If only every church were like Lord of Mercy, only so happy to not only accept, but to welcome an LGBTQ leader!
My time at Lord of Mercy will always be one of the most profound blessings in my life, and it would not be possible without the generous assistance of ELM. Were it not for ELM, Carrie and I would likely still be wondering if there is a place for us in the church. Were it not for ELM, I wouldn’t be able to preach the Good News to people who not only love to hear it, but need to hear it, especially from a person who knows just how good the news really is. In many ways serving Lord of Mercy has been a spiritual resurrection for me, and it has certainly resurrected my faith in the progress the ELCA is making to be sure that all people can claim their place at the table without fear. All leaders can preach the Good News and know it is for them too, and they are in a place of safety and love.
If it were not for ELM, I never would have met a sixteen year old girl in Reno, Nevada a few months back. We got connected one way or another through the church, though she had never been to Lord of Mercy. In our first conversation she was convinced that being gay was the ultimate sin, and that God could not possibly love her the way she is. If not for ELM, and my internship in Sparks, she might still be convinced that there is something wrong with her. But because she came to a church leader who has been where she was, and who could show her a God and a community that accepts her unconditionally, she can smile again, and she can be herself, proudly. ELM and Proclaim touch more lives than probably any of us are aware. I thank God for this truly extraordinary ministry, and live in hope that the day is soon coming when no person will live in fear and all will truly be welcome in this place.
You support leaders like Rachel with your gift to ELM. Rachel and other seminarians receive pastoral care and support through Proclaim and Accompaniment. Lord of Mercy Lutheran Church received a small grant from ELM to support Rachel’s internship. Learn more or give to support leaders like Rachel at www.elm.org.
Pentecost is Sunday. Divided tongues as of fire, the sound like a rush of violent wind, people speaking all kinds of different languages, but all speaking about God’s deeds of power. And Peter recalling the prophet Joel, “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young [ones] shall see visions, and your old [ones] shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)
This weekend we join in celebrations of God’s Spirit pouring out upon two members of the Proclaim community:
Laura Kuntz will be ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament and installed Saturday June 7th at Calvary Lutheran Church in Lansing, Michigan. Laura has been called to serve as Associate Pastor for Children, Youth, and Young Adults at Calvary Lutheran Church and St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Lansing, MI. She will also serve as Assistant Pastor for Youth Ministries at All Saints Episcopal Church in East Lansing, MI.
“When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31
We join in the bold witness and celebration of Laura, Dawn, and the communities of Calvary Lutheran, St. Stephen Lutheran, All Saints Episcopal and Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity!
As we celebrate, we continue lift up the 21 Proclaim members who are awaiting first call and pray the Spirit’s work in bringing together gifted and called LGBTQ leaders and bold communities of faith to prophesy, vision and dream together.
Your generous gifts keep pastors like Dawn and Laura surrounded by a supportive community of peers, congregations and allies.