Guest Blog—Loops of Change and Waves on the Lake: the ELM Board Meeting in Chicago

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ELM Board of Directors. Back, L-R: Jeff Johnson, Elise Brown, Margaret Moreland, Mike Wilker, Nicole Johnson, Emily Ewing, Barbara Lundblad. Front, L-R: Rose Beeson, Charlie Horn, Emily Ann Garcia, Brad Froslee, Gordon Straw. Photo credit: Emily Ann Garcia


“ELM has always had very committed, active board members. We’re ready to ride the waves of change!”







by Rev. Michael Wilker
ELM Secretary and Senior Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Washington, D.C.

What do we talk about at an ELM board meeting? Loops and waves. Hegelian sublation and de-colonizing Lutheranism. Healthy sexuality and church leadership.
Those things—and generous donors, dedicated staff, creative volunteers, and gospel-proclaiming ministers.
The Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Board of Directors and staff met October 16-18 in downtown Chicago, a short walk from the waves of Lake Michigan. The waves, dazzling under the autumn sun, became a metaphor of sparkling ministries and leaders that bear God’s creative, dynamic grace.
Lisa Negstad, a long-time ELM friend and now a consultant, helped us see the waves of change in healthy, living systems—and the various roles leaders can play. We mapped ourselves on—or between—two looping waves that represented the current church and the future that is emerging. Negstad’s workshop was inspired by a TedX video from Deborah Frieze, Boston activist and entrepreneur. Where do you see yourself on the waves of change? Where do you see your ministry?
Some other highlights from the board meeting include:
•We thanked Rose Beeson for their six years of board service.
•We commissioned Asher O’Callaghan as program director, and Christephor Gilbert as communications and development coordinator
•Amalia Vagts, executive director, and Charlie Horn, treasurer, reported that ELM is financially healthy and continues to receive strong support from donors. Online and monthly giving to ELM are the two fastest growing segments of ELM’s income.
•We rejoiced that 10% of ELCA seminarians are members of ELM’s Proclaim community.
•We organized to address the “failure of imagination” as well as the lack of information in many parts of the church when it comes to raising up and calling LGBTQ ministers.
•Board members Barbara Lundblad and Jeff Johnson led us in courageous prayer and blessed us on our ways.
•We read aloud and prayed for the 239 people in the Proclaim community, giving thanks for these faithful and fabulous rostered leaders and candidates for ministry.
ELM has always had very committed, active board members—and we had 100% attendance at this in-person meeting. In prayer, we remembered our families, friends, and congregations that support our work on the board. I’m also grateful to each member of our board. Their compassion, wisdom, and courage is inspiring. Please take a look at the board photo and names. Join me in thanking them—and God—for their leadership and service. We’re ready to ride the waves of change!
Michael Wilker grew up on a hog farm in Southern Minnesota and was the 1982 MN State 4-H Reserve Champion Swine Showman. Now he lives in Washington, DC, with his spouse Judy, and children Maija and Karl—where they and 675,000 other DC resident have no voting representation in Congress. He wrangles worms in the backyard compost and shepherds the flock as senior pastor at Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

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