…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23a
By ELM Program Director, Rev. Jen Rude
ELM is Fruitful and Multiplying (read ELM’s executive director Amalia Vagts’ blog about it HERE). It is true that we are seeing lots of fruitfulness and multiplying of LGBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians. Proclaim (the community for LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders and those pursing rostered ministry) has quadrupled since 2009, actually moving from 193 to 194 members while I was writing this first paragraph – welcoming newest Proclaim member Rev. Jennifer Marlor from North Vancouver, British Columbia!
While we praise God for this thriving community, we continue to watch too many of these gifted leaders wait for a congregation to call them. Too many congregations have not had an intentional conversation within their community about being open to the diverse leaders that God has called to serve our church, including LGBTQ leaders.
We need to multiply congregations and ministries that are excited about partnering with an LGBTQ rostered leader. We don’t want the church to miss out on these fruitful gifts!
This is why ELM’s Ministry Engagement Program hosted display tables at 4 Synod Assemblies this spring. We’ve been present in Rocky Mountain Synod, Sierra Pacific Synod, Minneapolis Area Synod, and Metro Chicago Synod. We’ve been working to connect with lay people in congregations, sharing our resources (including Enrich & Transform for Call Committees and Treasure in Clay Jars – stories of LGBTQ leaders in the Lutheran Church), hearing about their ministries, and multiplying connections.
It was wonderful to connect with so many people, to share the stories of ELM, and to plant seeds that are beginning to bear fruit. The work we are doing is not just for those currently ready to serve or already connected with ELM. It’s also for those like the young person who came to our table and whispered, “I’m bisexual.” When I asked, “Are you thinking about pursuing ministry?” their eyes lit up and they said “Yes!” and signed up for our mailing list. I told them a little bit about ELM and Proclaim. And I love knowing that as they and others continue discerning, they already know about a group of LGBTQ leaders, a community of faithful congregations and ministries, and a network of people like you.
Help us nurture these wonderful leaders and multiply congregations and ministries that are ready to partner with LGBTQ leaders – share one of our resources with someone today!
By Jen Rude, ELM Program Director. Jen gives a big shout out to Margaret Moreland (ELM board member and Ministry Engagement Convener), Jerry Vagts, and Kyle Severson, all of whom spent time with ELM display tables at synod assemblies. Your work and witness is a gift that bears much fruit!