What I Learned in Pennsylvania

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By Jen Rude, ELM program director

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.  1 Peter 4:10

Fritz Fowler, Jen Rude, Robin Fero outside the Chapel at Gettysburg Fritz and Robin are Proclaim members at Gettysburg Seminary
Proclaim members Fritz Fowler, Jen Rude, and Robin Fero outside the Chapel at Gettysburg Seminary.

They really needed to hear what I had to say. And I needed to hear their stories. Last week I visited The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. 

On both campuses I was able to meet with students, staff, and faculty – to develop relationships, share resources, and listen to folks who are committed to celebrating and lifting up the gifts of LGBTQ people called to ministry.  It’s clear things are shifting and becoming more open, but there continue to be significant challenges for LGBTQ people called to ministry.  Challenges I heard about include finding an internship congregation, coming out in a conservative congregation and wondering if you’ll lose your call, finding field ed and clinical pastoral education sites that are supportive of LGBTQ students, and waiting longer than straight candidates for first call and wondering if there will be a place to serve at all.

Whether folks knew about ELM or were new to our ministry, there was an overwhelming sense that what we offer to LGBTQ ministry leaders is a lifeline and a source of hope.  Several straight allies came to conversations on campus and said both that they didn’t quite realize some of the challenges their LGBTQ peers were facing to follow their call and that the gifts these LGBTQ leaders bring are desperately needed in our church.  

Through our work at ELM we are supporting and affirming LGBTQ people called to ministry, and helping the church live into a more inclusive vision of the diverse community of God, so that all the gifts God gives us are shared in service of the church and world.

I am honored to be able to connect with folks all over the church on behalf of ELM.  What we are doing is important work and we need to keep sharing the good news!

Thank you for your support that helps make these connections possible.


Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.

By Rev. Jen Rude, ELM program director.  As a preschooler Jen’s predicted profession was “Cruise Director.”  She is thankful that she gets to use many of those cruise directing gifts in service of ELM.  And she feels old when people don’t know who Julie McCoy is.