Back to School…Proclaim Style

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Guest blog by Proclaim member and Proclaim Seminarian Team Convener, Kyle Severson

Photo Credit: Emily Ann Garcia
Photo Credit: Emily Ann Garcia

Since 2013 the number of seminarians in the Proclaim community has doubled, now totaling 48!  The Holy Spirit is fiercely moving, strengthening the calls of more and more LGBTQ persons to ministry.  In response to this growth, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries discerned the need for a more substantial way to support and celebrate Proclaim seminarians, resulting in our new, faithful and fabulous Proclaim Seminarian Team.

The Proclaim Seminarian Team is made up of student representatives from each of the 8 ELCA Seminaries and 1 student rep for students at non-ELCA schools.  This team, of which I have the pleasure of convening once a month, is working to increase the visibility of Proclaim on campus, supporting and responding to the needs of LGBTQ seminarians, and offering insight and direction for ELM resources and programs from the seminarian perspective.

Already this fall team members have spoken at new student orientations introducing ELM and Proclaim and welcomed new LGBTQ students to campus.  Throughout the fall we’ll continue to connect with seminarians through social events, meet with students interested in learning more about ELM, and be an active presence on our campuses.

One of the greatest gifts that I have found within the Proclaim community is the particular way in which fellow LGBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians can help bear your burdens, rejoice with you in times of gladness, grieve with you in times of sorrow and in all things, hold each other in prayer.  In particular, as we seminarians walk the long, important journey through seminary and candidacy in preparation for public ministry in the ELCA, it has been profoundly helpful to have other LGBTQ persons who have walked a similar journey accompany us on our way.

It’s so great knowing that these colleagues and mentors are just a Facebook post, email, or call away.  And certainly the Proclaim Retreats have been some of the most nourishing, inspiring and worth-while professional development experiences I have ever had.  As we begin this new school year, I’m excited to share this community with more LGBTQ seminarians!

Check out our new webpage to learn more about the Proclaim Seminarian Team.