Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries affirms and supports LGBTQIA+ Lutheran rostered leaders and those pursuing a call to rostered leadership, while engaging allied congregations and ministries to proclaim God’s love and seek justice for all.
Our organization began as a movement in 1990 within the Lutheran church in resistance to an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) policy that required celibacy for gay clergy. At a time when the ELCA barred noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy from serving, our predecessor organizations, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, supported lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy and the congregations and ministries that called them. Over the past twenty years, we maintained a credentialing and rostering process for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy who were previously barred from serving in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), (as well as currently in other Lutheran bodies); worked with congregations and ministries to secure calls for members of our roster; and provided direct financial support to the ministries led by these pastors. In 2007, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project merged to form Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted in August of 2009 to open its ministry policies to partnered gay and lesbian pastors, some observers wondered if Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries would end its work. Initially, we focused on the process by which people who received their credentials through ELM would transition to the ELCA roster.
Far from feeling it was time to close our doors; we concluded that by creating a network for publicly-identified LGBTQIA+ rostered leaders in a major Protestant denomination, we can participate in changing the church and transforming society. Furthermore, we concluded that we are strongly positioned to provide much needed support to LGBTQIA+ people seeking to become rostered leaders in the Lutheran church. LGBTQIA+ people know what it is like to be on the margins of the church. Through their ministry, LGBTQIA+ rostered leaders are poised to offer an evangelical outreach to many and to work alongside others longing to be connected to a church that truly welcomes all. Lastly, we saw a need for deeper engagement with allied congregations and ministries committed to the visible ministry of LGBTQIA+ rostered leaders.
Freed and compelled by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to proclaim God’s love and seek justice for all, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries envisions a church where all can serve God according to their callings.