Julie & Luther Grafe: Believing Wholeheartedly

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ELM Friend Profile: Julie & Luther Grafe
by Amalia Vagts, Executive Director

Julie and Luther Grafe care about church. They care about their kids and the kind of church they will grow up in. Julie and Luther want their family and other families to know that they are welcome and belong at church.

Their first experience with a publicly-identified LGBTQ minister was when Proclaim member Crystal Solie began as an intern pastor at their congregation, Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit. When I met Julie and Luther, they told me what a difference Crystal had made in the life of the congregation and their family.

That initial experience was amplified when Kyle Severson, another member of Proclaim, began his internship at their congregation. Kyle and his husband, Clyde Walter, connected immediately with the Grafe family.

The Graft Family with Kyle at his graduation ceremony.
The Grafe Family with Kyle at his graduation ceremony.

Julie and Luther experienced the very thing that fuels ELM’s mission – the belief that LGBTQ people have extraordinary gifts for ministry. The Grafe family found their faith and church life deepen because of Kyle’s pastoral leadership and energetic, passionate gifts for ministry.

So Julie and Luther wanted to give back. They recently sent a wonderful gift to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and joined the circle of Extraordinarily Faithful & Fabulous Friends (those giving $1,000 or more a year to ELM).

Julie and Luther wrote this, “Enclosed is a donation to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. We are giving this because we wholeheartedly believe in the mission and actions of ELM. We feel strongly that any organization that can create a loving, supportive community for pastors, seminarians, those awaiting call who have felt called to ministry and wish to proclaim God’s love for all should be supported. We wish to honor a particular Proclaim member, Kyle Severson, upon his upcoming ordination on August 23 2015 with this donation while at the same time uplifting and honoring Crystal, and all LGBTQ seminarians and candidates for ordination.”

We join the Grafe family in celebrating Kyle’s call as pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church in Glenview, IL! Kyle will be ordained on Sunday, August 23rd at 3pm at First Lutheran Church in Blue Island, IL. We also join the Grafe’s in continued support for Crystal and others who continue to discern and await a call from the church.

ELM is so thankful for all Friends to ELM – the wonderful individuals, families, and congregations that fuel our mission. You can make a secure on-line gift today in support our LGBTQ people in ministry. Consider becoming an Extraordinary Friend through a monthly gift of $10 or more.

Amalia Vagts Amalia Vagts, ELM Executive Director, loves hearing and sharing stories about ELM Friends – and especially this one about the Grafe family who are doing their part in their corner of the ELCA to make the church a place for all. Oh, and, like the Grafe family, she also loves the Red Putter in Door County, WI.