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Kindling the Flame – Stories from the 2016 Proclaim Gathering

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Rev. Jen Rude, ELM program director

Something powerful happened last week at the Proclaim Gathering.

Spirit-filled worship. Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia.

Proclaim member John Brett shared these words, “Never underestimate the power of a Proclaim Gathering worship to transform our perspective on the possible, our liberation, to kindle joy & deep gladness.”

Others shared these words and phrases:

Spirit-filled
Deepened connections and support
Engaging storytelling and story listening
Hilarity and laughter
Dynamic worship
Connecting with our roots

ELM board member and Instigator Margaret Moreland leads the board game “Beat the Eschaton - Full Inclusion Version” board game created by Bennett Falk to tell the history of our movement. You can see this year’s “Kindle the Flame” T-shirt on Andy Flatt (far left).

Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia

We gathered under the theme of Queer Stories/Sacred Witness. We began the gathering hearing from Instigators – people who were part of the catalyst for this movement for LGBTQ leaders in the Lutheran church (more on that in another blog soon!). In the evening ELM board member and Instigator Margaret Moreland led the board game “Beat the Eschaton – Full Inclusion Version” – a game designed by ELM supporter Bennett Falk to tell the history of our movement. 

The web of our connections - past, present, and future. Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia

The web of our connections – past, present, and future. Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia

 

We spent time tracing our history with red yarn linking us together as part of worship.  We were drawn in by the stories of our speaker Frank Rogers and then invited to draw on the stories within ourselves and to share those with each other.  We took hikes in the beautiful hills of the St Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista, CA.

We participated in creative workshops led by members of our Proclaim community.  We stayed up late jamming with tubas, guitars, hand bells, and our voices.  We had quiet conversations over a cup of coffee on the patio. We prayed while walking by the lake.  

Evening music! Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia

Evening sing along! Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia

Many were inspired to go out and share more of their story. Several Proclaim members shared that in the Sunday following the gathering, they felt more compelled to witness about being an LGBTQ person in ministry. Others had open conversation with airplane seatmates and family members. In short – they were proclaiming.

We hope these words and these pictures by our fantastic photographer Emily Ann Garcia give you a few glimpses into what we experienced.

Your support to ELM helps make renewing and sustaining gatherings like this possible for LGBTQ leaders in our church.  You help make queer stories and sacred witness possible every day.  Thank you!

 

Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia

 

By Jen Rude.  The Proclaim Gathering is one of the highlights of Jen’s year. She especially enjoys real life connections with people she’s had email relationships with, lingering over meals and great conversation, a ridiculous amount of laughing, being moved to tears by people’s stories, feeling the Spirit’s presence, and being renewed and energized for this work to which we are called.

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