The Board of Directors of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries announces the resignation of Executive Director the Rev. Amanda Gerken-Nelson (she/her/hers), effective November 30, 2021. Over the last year, Amanda has discerned a call to serve the church in a new way by returning to parish ministry.
In sharing her news with the Board, Amanda wrote:
‘It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve as the Executive Director of ELM for the past four years. I have fostered relationships that have both enriched my life and changed my outlook…I have been extraordinarily blessed to work alongside such a passionate Board of Directors and incredibly gifted and dedicated staff. I have enjoyed working and dreaming alongside you all, and I will continue to dream for ELM and support the organization in its new life.”
ELM is grateful for Amanda’s faithful service to the organization over the last four years and the ongoing relationship we will have with her as a member of Proclaim, ELM’s professional community of publicly identified LGBTQIA+ rostered ministers and seminarians. In her tenure as ELM’s second Executive Director, she has shown exemplary leadership. In responding to the controversy over United Lutheran Seminary’s previous president and abolishing the ELCA’s harmful document Vision and Expectations, Amanda has amplified the voices of those most impacted and pushed for change, challenge, and faithfulness. Under her leadership, ELM’s staff structure has expanded, and the ELM Endowment became a granting source for creative, faithful, queer, and justice-based ministry projects. Amanda has gracefully led the organization through an ongoing global pandemic, and over the last year, worked closely with the Board of Directors in the strategic planning process that produced ELM’s new Vision, Mission, and Values.
Her commitment to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries in these uncertain times has been filled with grace and consistency. ELM has long asked the question, “who is not here?” This is a question Amanda often asked of the Board, the church, and the staff. As we move into the future, ELM is committed to continuing its growth into an organization that acknowledges its complicity in systems of white supremacy and racism, focuses on living in an active state of repentance, and does the hard and spirit-filled work of living into being an anti-racist organization. In her discernment, Amanda acknowledged the advent of a time for new leadership to empower ELM to live into its new and renewed identity.
In this time of transition, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries will continue to organize queer seminarians and rostered ministers, confront barriers and systemic oppression, and activate queer ideas and movements within the Lutheran Church. The history of ELM and its predecessor organizations is rooted in the conviction that our call and authority come from God. As such, ELM will continue to support the diversity of queer Lutherans leading the church in and outside of denominational contexts. ELM will continue to push for liberation from the ways bound conscience harms the church. ELM will own our history and work for an intersectional, anti-racist present and future where the full diversity of the body of Christ is honored and their leadership valued.
We wish Amanda, her wife, and child many blessings. The ELM Board of Directors has launched a Transition Team to determine ELM’s next steps. The Board of Directors gives thanks to Amanda for her dedication and commitment to the holy work she has carried out as our Executive Director of ELM. As we continue the work to which God calls us and the discernment that is a gift in this time, we will regularly update you all, our extraordinary community, on our process of transition.
The ELM Board of Directors