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by Rev. Jen Rude, ELM program director

Proclaim is the professional community for publicly identified LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders and those preparing for rostered leadership.

Facebook went a little “Proclaim” wild for many of us last week! We were celebrating our 200th member. That’s more than FOUR TIMES the size our community was just six years ago. And just a week after welcoming our 200th member, we said hello to our 210th! The energy is contagious.

Proclaim is a group committed to a public witness that LGBTQ people have extraordinary gifts for ministry, that our church is blessed by diversity, that God’s beloved community is expanding, and that God’s grace is abounding.

The week was dubbed “#Proclaim200” and each day members of Proclaim posted a thought or question to generate conversation.  These topics included sharing about extraordinary gifts of LGBTQ leaders, honoring the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, prayers for a messy and beautiful community of God, barriers faced by LGBTQ people in the church and ways people are overcoming them, and an invitation to tell others about ELM and Proclaim.

Thousands of people who have likely never heard about Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries or our Proclaim program saw a Facebook post from their colleague, friend, acquaintance, family member, classmate or pastor about the public witness of LGBTQ leaders in our church. Here are some of the comments people made:

How do I become a member of Proclaim?

I think LGBTQ leaders bring an understanding of what it means to have to claim your sacredness against all odds, and therefore, can reach out to others who are struggling to claim their sacred core with deeper passion and compassion.

A profound understanding of what it means to lead from the margins, and to cling to grace even in the face of hardship and evil. I’m grateful for the lessons they teach me every day.

Thank you for inspiring me — for reminding me of the Gospel Promise!!

My Facebook feed is starting to fill up with all these #Proclaim200 Clergy.  It makes me hopeful and grateful.

We are so grateful to you, our ELM supporters, for all the ways you proclaim the love of God, celebrate the diversity in our church, and faithfully and fabulously live the Good News.

Jen Rude photo PNGby Jen Rude.  Jen posted more to Facebook during #Proclaim200 than she usually does in a month.  And she gives thanks for the the people of the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (a predecessor to ELM) who first taught and showed her the value of public witness as an LGBTQ person in the church.