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Sharing Stories to Create New Ones

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by Amalia Vagts
executive director

I’ve had some wonderful new opportunities recently to share the stories of LGBTQ people in ministry.

A number of faith leaders have been in Chicago this week for ALDE Ignite. ALDE is the Association of Lutheran Development Executives. Ignite is the annual conference. Over the course of the conference, I’ve had a number of very meaningful conversations that have left me deeply encouraged about those working to gather resources in support of significant work to make the world a better place.

The week began with the great news that Clyde Andrew Walter had been named ALDE Chapter Leader of the Year. Clyde is the development committee convener for ELM. Yay, Clyde! 

Amalia & Aubrey

Amalia Vagts (left) and Aubrey Thonvold (right).

Also this week, Aubrey Thonvold (of ReconcilingWorks) and I met with Rev. Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of the Congregational and Synodical Mission Unit of the ELCA. We met with Pastor Bouman to update him on the present work of our ministries and to talk about ways we can deepen conversations about LGBTQ people in the church.

Last night, I had a conversation with someone who wants to engage more deeply with the work of ELM. His passion was evident, but I wanted to hear his story. I asked him why he cared about this work.

He told me about dear friends of his, a lesbian couple, and how important they are to him.

“I just think it’s so unfair what they’ve had to go through,” he said. “And it’s completely wrong that our church is doing this and I want to be part of making it change.

As we share these stories with each other, we become part of creating a new one.

Amalia VagtsAmalia Vagts, executive director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, is thankful for people who take time to share their story. Also, she is almost as tall as some of the doors at the Palmer Hotel. 


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