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Welcome, Jim and Thank You, Julie!

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Jim Kowalski photo

Jim (center) with Bruce Jervis and Amalia Vagts at Bp. Guy Erwin’s installation.

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is blessed by extraordinary friends like Jim Kowalski. Jim and his husband Bruce Jervis have been faithful supporters of this movement for many years. Their connection began in 1992 when they moved to San Francisco and found their way to St. Francis Lutheran Church. They experienced the transformative impact of having an LGBTQ pastor when they met Pastors Phyllis Zillhart and Ruth Frost. Jim soon became involved with Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries, serving on the board. In his professional life, Jim worked with major giving for Golden Gate University. Jim and Bruce deepened their passion and involvement in the movement as they learned more about other pastors like Jen Nagel, Erik Christensen and others who were changing hearts and lives and proclaiming God’s love for all people. Over the years, Jim and Bruce have demonstrated their passion for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries through generous personal giving, by caring about the Proclaim community and attending many ordinations, installations and making Sunday morning visits to Proclaim-led congregations and through volunteer leadership. Jim joined the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Board of Directors in 2011 and has served in several roles, most recently as convener of the Fund Development Committee. At the February meeting, the Board of Directors unanimously elected Jim to the position of co-chair. Jim’s two-year term began March 1, 2015. We welcome Jim, giving thanks for his passion and faithful commitment to ELM and LGBTQ ministry leaders! Jim writes,

“ELM’s support of LGBTQ Lutheran pastors, chaplains, candidates and seminarians makes a huge difference in their ministries – I’ve seen and heard it myself many times. I feel called to help ensure our Proclaim members have every possible resource they need to follow their call.”

Julie photo

Rev. Julie Boleyn

Rev. Julie Boleyn first connected with the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries movement through a friendship with Jane Ralph at Holden Village. Years later, Julie followed a call to ministry and entered candidacy through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project.  Julie was approved for ordination by both the ELCA and ECP. Julie and her partner, Rev. Jeanie Reardon, became involved with Proclaim when it launched in 2010. Julie took on a leadership role as Proclaim Retreat Convener, leading the planning and implementation work for three Proclaim retreats. Julie was ordained in 2012 and serves as pastor of Unity Lutheran Church of Berwyn in Berwyn, IL. She joined the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Board of Directors in 2012 and was elected Co-Chair in 2013. Julie was a key voice in moving the board towards the strategic planning work we undertook in 2013. She also was the first person to clearly articulate the need for program staff – leading eventually to the creation of the new position of program director. Most recently, Julie shepherded the Intercultural Development Inventory work that the Board did at its February meeting. As Julie concludes her leadership service on the Board of Directors and as Co-Chair, we give thanks for her leadership, vision, and passion.

Julie writes,

“For 25 years, we have been working to make it possible for LGBTQ folks to do the ministry we are called to do. It has been a joy and a privilege to help lead this organization in a time when the strategies around that work needed to shift. I am thrilled by the new leadership rising up in ELM, and the creative imagination at work. I cannot wait to see what’s next.”

Jim joins the Rev. Mike Wilker as co-chair of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Board. Mike will serve one more year as co-chair. The Board spent a good amount of time discussing and discerning the decision to appoint another male identified leader, as well as not having a Proclaim member as co-chair. After a rich conversation about the depth of diversity on the board and the gifts Mike and Jim offer – as well as their calling to serve in this role – the board felt clearly that this was the right decision for leadership at this time. The Board has made a commitment to gender balance and Proclaim representation in our next co-chair.

We are thankful to all the wonderful leaders who bring their diverse experience and many gifts to carry out the mission of ELM!

Amalia VagtsAmalia Vagts, Executive Director, is quite certain she serves with the greatest Board of Directors in the universe. 

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