Christmas Greetings from ELM!

Merry Christmas
from your friends at ELM!

We know that 2020 has been a challenging year and that your holidays may not feel as festive as they have in years past. We imagine that for the holy family huddled around the manger many centuries years ago “merry and bright” was not the general feeling then, either: fear, uncertainty, unquestionable love yet wondering “what’s next?” was more likely the mood. It’s only in retrospect that we can sing “Joy to the world!” and “Rejoice! Rejoice!” since we know the liberating love that was born that day.

If the songs fall flat this year and the traditions don’t live up to their usual warmth, that’s okay. Christ, Immanuel, is in our midst and with us in our grief.

The love that came into the world on that day continues to surround us, and our resilience as the beloveds of Christ is greater than we may realize.

May you and yours find the place in your body and spirit where the spark of that unconditional love resides and cherish it this blessed Christmastide.

ELM Statement

On Thursday, November 26th, ELM posted a GIF to our Facebook and Instagram accounts that included the phrase “Happy Thanksgiving.” In sharing this message without further analysis of the holiday and the narratives it perpetuates, ELM was complicit in the erasure of both the current and historic experiences of oppression and genocide that our Indigenous siblings face. For this, we are deeply sorry and repent our actions.

In our efforts to deepen our knowledge and awareness of both the historical and contemporary struggles faced by Native communities, ELM’s staff commit to additional training and learning. We will acknowledge the stolen land on which we reside at both in-person and virtual meetings and will get to know the histories of the Indigenous nations in the communities in which we reside.

We commend the videos below to you, our community, as they have been commended to us by Native friends of ELM. We also invite you to join us in our efforts to grow in awareness and appreciation for the gifts of our Indigenous siblings.

The Harsh Truth About Thanksgiving – Now This

Why These Native Americans Observe a National Day of Mourning Each Thanksgiving – Huffington Post

After the Mayflower

ELM Advent Haiku: Anna Gordy

This Advent season members of the Proclaim community have graciously offered moments of reflection with Advent-inspired haiku. We hope you take this time to reflect, wait, & prepare for what new life might lay ahead. Peace.

* Photo Description: Scene of a flower petal blooming in snow, with the words: Anxiously waiting, the eternal mystery, when…when will she come? Haiku by: Anna Gordy.

ELM Advent Haiku: Reed Fowler

This Advent season members of the Proclaim community have graciously offered moments of reflection with Advent-inspired haiku’s. We hope you take this time to reflect, wait, & prepare for what new life might lay ahead. Peace.

* Photo Description: Scene of the sun peering through a forest with the words “Soft mornings, mourning, Dwelling in the deep earth-soil. (God’s enfolding love)” on the forest floor. Haiku by Reed Fowler.

World AIDS Day

“Those People”
an excerpt from
Dear God, I Am Gay- Thank you
by Joel Workin

CW: mentions of scriptural ableist language

First, I want to say that God hates AIDS. God hates the suffering, the dying, the agony and loss that AIDS causes, just as God hated the disease, death and blindness and suffering of Jesus’ time. God hates it. God does not cause AIDS, nor is AIDS God’s judgment or punishment on anyone. There is no one in this church whose life is immune from tragedy- death, hardships, sorrows, maybe AIDS- bad and horrible things happen to us all, but this does not mean that God is punishing us with each bad thing that happens. We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen- to good and to bad people. Good things happen- to bad and to good people. God can maybe use the bad, can turn it into good, but God still hates it and does not cause it. The God who came to earth to be with the sick and the outcast, to give sight to the blind, and to set the prisoner free, who came to wipe away every tear from our eyes- this God is not up in heaven zapping those people with illness.

Now I know that many people in this room know what it is to be one of those people. Some of you know what it is like to be stared at in stores and restaurants because you are different. Some of you know what it is like to be discarded and disregarded at work, overlooked for a promotion because you are one of those people. But it seems to me many of us have also experienced that when the world rejects, God accepts. Because we know we have the love of God who will not refuse or abuse, discard or disregard. Others may have left us, but God is with us. Others may say no, but God says yes. Others may say, “You are one of those people,” but God says, “You are one of my people.”

What Jesus says is this- that God came to earth to be with those people, the outcasts and the discarded. And since that is so, then let us each say this: “Lord, let me be one of those people. Let me be one of those people who love too much. Let me be one of those people who sits with and eats with the refused and abused. Let me be one of those people who knows that perfect love casts out all fear. Let me be one of those people who knows that ‘in Christ there is no east or west, no north or south, but one great fellowship of love, close binding humankind.’ Yes, Lord, make me one of those people. I have been refused by the world, now let me be infused by your love.”


Joel Raydon Workin (1961-1995) was born in Fargo, ND, and grew up on a farm in nearby Walcott. He received his Master of Divinity from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA. In 1986 Joel interned at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Inglewood, CA.
In the fall of 1987, Joel came out publicly as a gay candidate for the ordained ministry and was certified for call by the American Lutheran Church (a predecessor body to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Following this courageous and faithful act, Joel’s certification was revoked by the ELCA and his name was never placed on the roster of approved candidates waiting for call.
Joel’s ministry continued in Los Angeles, however, at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and as Director of Chris Brownlie Hospice. On December 30, 1988, Joel married Paul Jenkins. Joel was a member of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, North Hollywood. He and Paul were active in Lutherans Concerned/Los Angeles and Dignity/Los Angeles. Paul and Joel both died from AIDS – Paul on June 6, 1993, and Joel on November 29, 1995. 
In the last weeks of his illness, Joel gave his friends and family permission to sponsor an endowed memorial fund in his name. The Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship Fund was thus established upon his death.