Pastor Steve Wilco

And all who heard it were amazed

“When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.” – Luke 2:17


Pastor Brenda Bos
Pastor Brenda Bos welcomes all to the table on the beach.

by Amalia Vagts, Executive Director

Sometimes when I tell people about Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, they are amazed.

Some are amazed there is such a ministry. Some are amazed there is a need for it.

Those who support and walk with LGBTQ ministers and their ministries know the true amazement is in the Gospel story – told time and time again, sometimes in the most unlikely places, by the most unexpected of messengers, with the most surprising of words.

Seminarian John Brett offers this reflection on the Gospel text:

“We’ve seen God now, and he stinks to high heaven. Of course, so do we; thankfully, God understands a little manure around our edges.”

Pastor Steve Wilco
Pastor Steve Wilco speaks at LGBT rally.

Nancy Wichmann, also in seminary, will share these words this Christmas morning in her sermon:

When I was growing up, Christmas was not terribly joyous for me. I kept asking Santa for a pretty dress or a doll. I got tube socks and a package of “tighty whiteys” when white tights would have been preferable.”

Unlikely places, unexpected messengers, and surprising words.

May the wonder of the Christmas story amaze you.

(Pastor Brenda Bos, John Brett, Nancy Wichmann, and Pastor Steve Wilco are members of Proclaim, an active community of 175+ LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders, seminarians, and candidates. Proclaim is a program of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.)

Amalia Vagts

Amalia Vagts, ELM Executive Director, finds amazement in the passion and commitment of those who have sustained the ministry of LGBTQ people for nearly twenty-five years, and by LGBTQ people who proclaim God’s love for all so beautifully and wildly.


Photo of Friends

Profile of a Faithful and Joyous Giver

Amalia Vagts, Clyde Walter, and Dick Tribble.
Amalia Vagts, Clyde Walter, and Dick Tribble.

by Amalia Vagts, ELM Executive Director

It is easy to have fun when you’re spending time with Dick Tribble.

We met when I was just starting out with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, in the midst of the ONE VOICE campaign. I was immediately at ease thanks to Dick’s warm and open smile, and easy-going manner. He eagerly committed to becoming a major contributor to the ONE VOICE campaign and shared his own passion for faithful and generous support for the church.

Dick has continued to be a faithful supporter of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. In 2008, he led the effort to help us open our office in Chicago by providing a seed gift for the rent and office expenses.

This year, I met with Dick to tell him about the way our programs are growing thanks to our new program director, Jen Rude. Dick responded by making his most generous gift yet to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries in support of our new programs. He shared with me his excitement for ELM’s mission and the importance of giving generously to support causes that you care about.

The large press at Anderson-Shumaker illustrates Dick’s Swedish pride.

Last month, I had the chance to visit Anderson-Shumaker, an open-die forging company started in 1902 by Dick’s great-grandfather. Dick gave Clyde Walter (ELM Development Committee member) and me a tour of the company – there were several moments where we thought we’d been transported back to the early 20th century as we watched the ancient art of pounding metal into forms. As Dick put it, “There’s only ever really been one way to form steel – you heat it up and pound it into the shape you want.”

Next year, Dick has agreed to be part of Faithful & Fabulous Chicago – a way for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries to connect one-on-one with supporters who want to invest in the ministries of LGBTQ leaders. Dick is already leading the way by becoming one of the founding members of “Extraordinarily Faithful & Fabulous Friends,” those generous folks who give $2,500 or more annually in support of the work of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

A life-long Lutheran, Dick learned to be generous from his parents. Dick writes, “When we give of ourselves, our time, talents, and treasures, God is with us, and there is no darkness at all, and through those gifts, God completes our joy! That is always in my heart.”

Giving thanks today for Dick Tribble, and for all the dear people who give of themselves, their time, talents, and treasures to support LGBTQ ministers and their ministries.

Amalia Vagts
Amalia Vagts


Meeting with faithful & fabulous friends of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries like Dick Tribble is one of Executive Director Amalia Vagts’ greatest joys. She also enjoys reasons to wear a hardhat and safety goggles, which remind her of her favorite role at Holden Village – feeding the wood chipper.

Want a Better Body? Proclaim Retreat 2015

Maybe winds will blow
Maybe seeds will fall
Who knows what love can grow
When those seeds are cracking open
-from “Wild Acre” by Trish Bruxvoort-Colligan

Check out this 2 minute video from the 2014 Proclaim Retreat!  Be inspired by the pictures and words of LGBTQ leaders while listening to the fabulous song “Wild Acre” written and performed by Trish Bruxvoort-Colligan, who along with Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan, served as musicians at the 2014 Proclaim Retreat.

“Who knows what love can grow when those seeds are cracking open” – planting, nourishing, and cracking open seeds of love, justice, vocation, collegial support, and renewal is part of what happens at the annual Proclaim retreat for LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders, candidates, and seminarians.  This yearly gathering is part of the sustenance of ministry for so many.  As Rev. Mark Erson says, “It is so nourishing to spend time with hope-filled, excited colleagues who are on fire about the ministry to which they have been called.”  This year Mark is helping to fuel the fire by serving on the 2015 retreat planning team.

Our 2015 Proclaim Retreat theme is Building Up the Body  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).  Through training, workshops, worship, small groups, spiritual renewal, and recreation, we’ll seek to build up our tools and skills as we are equipped and seek to equip others to live as the body of Christ.  Our church needs strong, grounded, faithful leaders.  The Proclaim retreat strives to offer that life-giving nourishment for these LGBTQ leaders in service of our whole church and the body of Christ.

Registration for this event opens in January. ELM has just received a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation which will provide retreat scholarships for at least 25 attendees who are in seminary or without call!  Your gift of $385 ensures a full scholarship for a seminarian, candidate awaiting call, or another member of our community who would otherwise be unable to attend.  Your gift of any amount makes this event possible. Thank you for your support!

jen 2013 retreatBy Rev. Jen Rude, ELM Program Director.  Jen recently began brewing her own Kombucha, an ancient fermented tea dubbed “the elixer of life” which contains vitamins, enzymes and probiotics.  Jen’s spiritual body is well nourished through her home congregation of Grace Lutheran Church in Evanston, IL.