By Rev. Amanda Gerken-Nelson, ELM Executive Director
Two weeks ago I had the joy of traveling to the Bay Area of California to meet friends and supporters of ELM. Some of these folks I had met before while I was a student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley, and many were long-time supporters and old friends of ELM who are becoming new friends of mine!
As we sat around kitchen tables, I could barely contain my excitement to tell them that Proclaim anticipates welcoming its 300th member this fall!
“I just can’t believe it.” “Well isn’t that just amazing!”
These were just a few of the reactions to the news.
You see, many of these supporters have been a part of our movement since day one. Many of them attended the first Extraordinary Ordinations of Jeff, Ruth, and Phyllis in San Francisco in 1990; many of them served on the Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries Board, the grants committee, and even the West Coast candidacy committee for the Extraordinary Candidacy Project; many of them were present the multiple times our Churchwide body took up the conversation of LGBTQIA+ welcome and some were even arrested for their public, peaceful resistance. Piqued your interest? You can learn more here: www.elm.org/history/
For many of them, 300 members of Proclaim (meaning 300 publicly-out LGBTQIA+ seminarians, pastors, and deacons who have made a commitment to public leadership in our church) was only a dream!
We celebrated this momentous occasion, and we also took time to reflect on the process of how we’ve gotten to this point. I was quick to remind them that we got here because of them! Because of you!
Because of people who have believed in and adored LGBTQIA+ pastors with their whole hearts for years and have supported ELM and our ministry to support and advocate for gender and sexual minorities in our church!
As ELM celebrates #Proclaim300 and gears up to mark the milestone with #Proclaim300 Week Sept 17-23, I am so grateful to all of our supporters who have gotten us to this point and made this occasion possible!
While in California, I was also able to meet with communities who had helped to form me while I was a student at PLTS. And, it was my pleasure to share with them the story of Proclaim and ELM, and our joy at our accomplishments.
Thanks for ALL the ways you are joining us in this celebration! Will you forward this e-mail to help others support #Proclaim300? Could you make an ask to help us get to our goal of 300 gifts of $300, or consider a special gift yourself at www.elm.org/donate-now?
#Proclaim300 is a time to celebrate and thank those early movers and shakers and donors in our movement who paved the way for our 300th member to join our community.
#Proclaim300 is a time to go wild with joy for the community Proclaim is nurturing.
#Proclaim300 is a time to tell the story of how important ministries like Proclaim are for LGBTQIA+ leaders and for our church as a whole.
Bio: Amanda Gerken-Nelson (she/her/hers) got married this summer – that’s why her name has changed! Surrounded by those they love, Amanda and Tasha committed their lives and love to each on a small farm in Maine. Now they are planning a honeymoon to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia – if you have recommendations, they’d love to hear them!
Pictured: St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco made a special cake for Amanda’s visit & preaching, and gave a #Proclaim300 gift to honor the occasion!