National Proclaim Gathering 2017
July 16 – 19, 2017
by Asher O’Callaghan
ELM Program Director
During these turbulent times, the Proclaim Community will be gathering this summer in Chicago around the theme “Healing the Violence.” Proclaim, a professional community of 245 publicly identified LGBTQ+ Lutheran people doing and pursuing rostered ministry, is committed to bringing good news and positive change to the world.
So during these violent times, how can LGBTQ+ ministers lead communities of healing? How can we and our communities give public witness to the violence in our world and God’s vision for healing? Through a number of hands-on workshops filled with practical tools and strategies, we’ll work to develop responses to these questions that we can adapt for use in our ministry contexts.
The program will focus on current happenings, including the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2016 elections, immigration, and environmental destruction. We’ll reflect on a number of specific events like the shootings in Charleston and Orlando, and the sharp increase of homicides in Chicago (where our retreat will be held). Lutheran responses like the ELCA’s social message on “Gender-based violence” will be considered.
In addition to bearing witness to the violence around us and in our own lives, Proclaim will also explore different pathways of healing: the arts, activism, prophetic preaching, communication strategies, and more. Building community with one another, of course, is also a pathway to healing. So there will be time to worship, socialize, relax, and have fun with one another as well.
After all, we believe that God’s will for the world is not merely to bring an end to violence. Luther’s Small Catechism teaches us that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” means that not only are we are not to murder our neighbors, but we also must “help and defend them in every need and danger of life and body.” God wants us to heal into communities that help and defend one another. Communities where people can thrive. Together we will be exploring how we can become what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “beloved community”.
The Gathering is open to all members of Proclaim – visit www.elm.org/retreat to learn more. It’s been occurring annually in one form or another since the early 1990’s. ELM friends make it possible for all to attend by providing funds for scholarships – you gave close to $10,000 in scholarships last year! In a few weeks, we’ll invite you to give in support of our scholarship fund for the 2017 gathering.
Asher O’Callaghan is the program director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Proclaim is one of the programs of ELM. There are two other programs: Ministry Engagement and Accompaniment. In the Ministry Accompaniment program, we help congregations get ready to call an LGBTQ+ rostered minister. In the Accompaniment program, we walk alongside LGBTQ+ candidates so they won’t have to go through the sometimes convoluted processes of candidacy, seminary, and interviewing for a first-call alone.