by Rev. Jen Rude, ELM program director
Last week the Proclaim Seminarian Team hosted a Proclaim Seminarian Meet Up – a chance to get to know each other a bit and share some experiences. Some have been members of Proclaim throughout seminary and are graduating in a few months. Others joined Proclaim a week ago and start seminary in the fall. We gathered via computers and phones from the west coast, east coast, midwest, and southeast.
I wish you could have been on that call.
After praying together and offering brief introductions, including sharing about a unique talent or skill (it is a pretty talented bunch!), we spent the majority of our time together storytelling. People were involved in cool things like starting a Gay-Straight Alliance and booking theologians and speakers on campus. There were also difficult things they faced like not always being able to be fully themselves and being “the only one.” People shared stories about candidacy – the hard moments, the surprising moments, and the awkward or hilarious moments. We finished the conversation by sharing how our ministry calls and LGBTQ identities have influenced and shaped each other.
I left our conversation thinking to myself: I can’t wait for one of these people to be my pastor. It is good news for our whole church that these faithful and fabulous people have followed God’s call to ministry and that ELM is here to support them.
I realized again what impact supporters to ELM have on these future leaders of our church. You are helping ELM create resources for these seminarians and candidates. You are creating better pastors. Your support also helps congregations so that more are ready to say: I can’t wait for YOU to be my pastor!
by Jen Rude. One of Jen’s unique skills is doing handstands and cartwheels. She was a gymnast as a kid and these two skills are the remnants of that life. And they make great party tricks.
The Board of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries gathered Feb 5-8 at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia for our first in-person meeting of the year. It was an enriching, enlightening and fruitful four days. Here are some highlights from our work together:
We welcomed trainers Sheila Radford-Hill and John Beck to lead us through work about intercultural competency. We focused on cultural differences in communication styles and approaching conflict. All ELM Board members took the Intercultural Development Inventory assessment prior to the meeting and are working on their individual Intercultural Development Plan. We loved our time with Sheila and John!
- Staff members Jen Rude and Amalia Vagts shared some insights and techniques from the Rockwood Institute Art of Leadership training both attended in January. Central to our work together was the concept of conocimiento, a Spanish word that translates generally as “connection talk” or “sharing knowledge of each other to truly know one another.” The concept of conocimiento reminds us to put relationship before task – and we saw the value of this in action during our time together.
- We learned that approximately 5% of all current ELCA seminarians are members of Proclaim!
- We assessed our current strategic plan, celebrating all the good work that has been accomplished and started thinking about our next dreams for our work.
- We heard about the diverse and exciting work in our three program areas – Proclaim, Candidacy Accompaniment and Ministry Engagement and took time for some big picture strategic conversation about this work.
- We were richly fed through the locally sourced and lovingly prepared food of Pendle Hill.
- We talked about our commitment to 100% intentional Board Member Giving and celebrated Jim Kowalski’s one on one in person meetings with each ELM Board Member last year.
- We wrote letters to our Extraordinary Friends (those who give monthly) and some Proclaim members who might appreciate a note. And we had fun noting how familiar and known many of these names are – while celebrating the new ones!
- We gave thanks for the rich leadership of Rev. Julie Boleyn, who has finished her service as Co-Chair of the ELM Board and we welcomed the new leadership of Jim Kowalski.
- We celebrated meeting our 2014 fundraising goals and voted to create an ELM Reserves Fund – this is board directed giving that can be used for ELM’s long-term stability and growth.
And last, but definitely not least, we laughed – a lot – and we gave thanks to God and to you for the honor of working to fulfill ELM’s mission.
ELM Board of Directors is: Jeremy Posadas, Randy Nelson, Jim Kowalski, Asher O’Callaghan, Elise Brown, Rose Beeson, Charlie Horn, Julie Boleyn, Margaret Moreland, Mike Wilker, Gordon Straw, and Angel Marrero-Roe.