More than can be counted: thanksgivings from Jen Rude

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You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted. Psalm 40:5, NRSV

Rev. Jen Rude.  Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.

Dear ELM Community,

As I move toward my last days on staff at Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, I want to share a few reflections and numerous thanksgivings – more than can be counted.

I first got connected to ELM in 2004. I was a seminary student wondering if I was wasting my time as an LGBTQ person in the Lutheran Church when I was introduced to an Extraordinary community.  I met living witnesses of possibility, faithfulness, courage and hope.  This seed of a connection led me to ELM gatherings with LGBTQ pastors and seminarians, receiving the Joel R. Workin Scholarship, being extraordinarily ordained, serving on the ELM board, and in 2013 joining the staff team as program director.  

Serving as program director with ELM has been a great ministry.  It has stretched me, inspired me and grown my faith.  I love the way our work together lives in the queer spaces of tension: challenging and joyful, thoughtful and creative, focused and flexible, prophetic and pastoral, critiquing and imagining, and most of all Spirit-filled.  

I feel honored to have worked with so many incredible people (like you!).  You, dear friends of ELM, are church to me.  You live out the best of who and what God calls us to be with faithfulness, boldness, hard work and joy.  I have learned so much from you.  I cannot imagine doing this work with a more faithful and fabulous group of people.   

More than a decade after I first “met” ELM, I am even more passionate about our work and filled with joyful gratitude as I think about you, the community of people doing this work.  Our work is still important.  Critical.  Life-saving. Challenging.  Holy.

As I move toward my new call as University Pastor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, I look forward to my continuing relationship with ELM as an enthusiastic supporter and member of the Proclaim community.  

With a little sadness, much gratitude, and all love,

Jen esig

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