2022 Joel Workin Scholarship Announcement

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thank you for being a public witness to God’s extraordinary love for our world!

We invite you to apply for a scholarship for publicly-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer+ Lutheran candidates for rostered ministry. The eligible applicant must be an LGBTQIA candidate for rostered ministry who is a member of Proclaim, the professional community of publicly-identified LGBTQIA Lutheran rostered ministers and candidates. Proclaim is a program of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. All application materials are due no later than February 3, 2022.

This honor is given in the name of Joel Raydon Workin, one of our movement’s saints. Joel was one of the three seminarians who came out about their sexual orientation to their Lutheran candidacy committees in 1989 (and were subsequently refused ordination). This act of faithfulness was the spark that ignited our movement of resistance and affirmation of LGBTQIA people called to rostered ministry in the Lutheran church. Joel passed away from AIDS on November 29, 1995. Upon Joel’s death, friends and family established a fund to honor his memory. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is the custodian of the fund and scholarship. Each year, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries names a Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholar.

Due to events related to the pandemic of 2021, no scholarship was awarded. In 2022, however, The Workin Committee will award two scholarships in the amount of $7,400 for qualified educational or candidacy expenses to two LGBTQIA candidate for rostered ministry. In addition, the 2022 Scholars will be invited throughout the year to be involved with various ELM activities. We request that all funds be used prior to December 1, 2022 and if possible, that all funds be used for a single event or activity.

Previous Workin Scholars include:

  • Reed Fowler
  • Cassie Hartnett
  • Leon LaCross
  • Benjamin Hogue
  • Christephor Gilbert
  • Justin Ferko
  • Amy Christine Hanson
  • Gretchen Colby Rode
  • Rebecca Seely
  • Asher O’Callaghan
  • Emily Ewing
  • Laura Kuntz
  • Julie Boleyn
  • Matthew James
  • Jen Rude

The Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholar is someone whose character and abilities are consistent with Joel’s legacy. Among these are: academic excellence, personal and professional integrity, courage in response to the church’s discriminatory policies, a passion for social justice, faithfulness to Jesus Christ and potential to become an effective leader in church and society.


Application Materials

The scholarship application includes the following components:

  • Essay
    •  Attached is a PDF of Joel’s essay, “Overflowing.” Joel’s writing is a gift and we hope you find his essays useful throughout your ministry. Joel was a brilliant writer and your essay is one of the most important parts of your application. This year’s writing includes a brief paragraph response and a 1,000 – 1,500 word essay on the attached Workin essay.
  • A copy of your current resume.
    • Please note any Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries/Proclaim activities.
  • A professional recommendation from someone (professor, pastor or other rostered professional) who can testify to your qualifications specific to this honor and award.
    • The recommendation letter should be on official letterhead.
  • Copy of your transcript from seminary or divinity school (unofficial is fine).


All materials are due no later than Thursday, February 3, 2022.

All application materials must be submitted electronically in PDF to workinscholarship@elm.org. Please put “Joel R. Workin Scholarship Application” in the subject line. You may submit your letter of reference with other materials, or your reference letter writer may email it directly.

The scholarship committee will notify applicants of its decision on or before Feb 7, 2022.

On behalf of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, Joel’s family and friends, and the members of Proclaim, we commend this opportunity to you and invite your application. We hope that you will consider honoring Joel’s memory in this way.

If you have any questions, please email operations@elm.org.


The Joel R. Workin Memorial Scholarship Committee:

Michael Price Nelson (chair)  

Greg A. Egertson

Rev. Jeff R. Johnson

Rev. Becca Seely

Rev. Matt James

Rev. Kelsey Brown


2022 Joel R. Workin Essay

Joel Workin was known for his prophetic and expansive voice. His friends refer to his “humor, incisive mind, and deep, caring spirit.” Even now, decades after these essays were written, Joel’s words are fresh and relevant. We bring Joel’s voice to life each year as we invite Workin Scholar applicants to read and respond to Joel’s writing in new ways. Each year, we seek to find Joel’s voice in new ways through new voices.

Please submit the following two pieces of writing.


  1. Please write a paragraph or two in response to the following question: What is the prophetic word that LGBTQIA people can bring to the church today?
  2. Please read Joel’s essay entitled “Overflowing” (linked here) and write a 1,000 – 1,500 word reflection on the passage below:
    • As an LGBTQIA person, where have you heard and spoken “Yes, period” and “No, period” on your journey of call thus far? In this challenging and uncertain time of pandemic and polarization, do you see the church being called to move more fully into God’s “Yes, period” and what particular gifts do you think LGBTQIA people bring to God’s people?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *