by the Rev. Emily E. Ewing
Proclaim Program Convener
Editor’s note: Have you heard it’s the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this year (1517-2017)? Today’s post is the last of our series of reflections on how the church continues to re-form and the role of LGBTQIA+ leaders.
What a year! Throughout this year, we have been celebrating and commemorating the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. We have talked a lot about what pushed Martin Luther, Katharina Schütz Zell, Argula von Grumbach, Marie Dentière, and other early reformers to Proclaim Boldly the Good News of God’s grace, which prompted and sustained the Reformation.
Not only that, but this year’s Reformation Day marked 10 years since the merger of ELM’s predecessor bodies to form Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. There is a lot to look back on as we recognize that the Reformation never ended, and yet we are looking ahead to more great upheavals–many of us with excitement (and maybe a little trepidation).
Proclaim makes me excited for the new church to be born. This year Proclaim has continued to grow, with 5 of the 43 new Proclaimers so far this year identifying within the trans umbrella (as transgender, nonbinary, agender, and gender nonconforming to name a few options). We have 11 people awaiting their first call, we’ve had 7 ordinations, and 10% of seminarians at ELCA seminaries are in Proclaim! What joy and celebration there is at the people who are excited and willing to serve God and follow Jesus as deacons and pastors in the ELCA!!
Our annual Proclaim Gathering in Chicago this year dug deep into the violence that we continue to witness and experience, with profound worship opportunities, presentations, and workshops to name the violence and move towards healing and wholeness for ourselves, our communities, and for the whole world.
We also gathered throughout the year regionally, thanks to funding from ELM, which created space both for those of us in more isolated contexts and for those of us who couldn’t make it to the Proclaim Gathering to spend time in queer community. These regional gatherings continue to grow and give life to our community and our work together in ministry.
Proclaim has also been more active online! Not only have we been publicly sharing some of our stories on this blog (check out the blog posts throughout this fall for stories of internships, specialized calls, and reformation connections), but we’ve also been diving deep together in our private Facebook group–seeking and receiving support, prayers, advice, and ridiculous eye-rolling stories. This has been in large part thanks to our amazing chaplains, who seek out and share prayer requests, quotes, images, and inspiration.
As we grow larger and more diverse, our language has also been growing. As gender and sexual minorities, we know the importance of language–what we say and how we say it–and so we as a community continue to grow in what it means to name our own and each other’s experiences. Our community continues creating space to learn about more letters in our queer alphabet soup. This is one of the many ever-changing aspects of our Proclaim community and of ELM’s prophetic ministry that I cherish. There is certainly more I could gush about, but for now, I am dwelling in this space and, as one of many ongoing reformers, Dag Hammarskjöld, put it, “For all that has been – thanks. For all that will be – yes!”
Rev. Emily E Ewing (they/them/theirs) is the Proclaim Program Convener for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. They recently moved to Des Moines, Iowa and are enjoying the diversity of food and people and being closer to their best friend. Emily is excited to get to know the area and get to know congregations through doing pulpit supply!
Photo Credits: Emily Ann Garcia