ELM Blog: When Coming Home Feels Less than Familiar

by Tom Gehring

Once again, we find ourselves entering the most sacred week of the church year.

As the child of two pastors, I consider myself intimately familiar with the church calendar as my life has been marked by its rhythms for 30 years now. Despite this long-running familiarity, however, the journey through Holy Week has always carried a meaningful significance. From washing feet and hearing the command to love as Jesus loved, to sitting through the painful emptiness of grief and keeping vigil, my spirit has always found peace and meaning among the familiar patterns. The Lenten runup and subsequent journey through this sacred week felt like a return home. It was a poignant reminder of who I am as an individual of faith as well as a member of the worldwide body of Christ. However, in recent years, Holy Week has not felt like much of a homecoming.

Four years ago, I was in my final year of seminary and navigating the early stages of a global pandemic that continues to mark our lives. As Holy Week approached, I struggled to find any peace, joy, comfort, or familiarity in the rhythms of the week because they had been so aggressively upended. I felt unable to feel much of anything through the observations of the week. Admittedly, I still struggle to some extent as the months and years since that first pandemic Holy Week have only grown increasingly chaotic and disheartening.

This year, however, I find myself wondering. If the familiarity of these sacred observances no longer brings a sense of comfort, introspection, and joy, then perhaps it can stir up something new within me, maybe in our communities as well. After all, the stories that shape and guide us, we profess to be a living Word. Though the structure and stories of this sacred week are relatively unchanged from year to year, we as individuals and communities have been shaped in myriad and tumultuous ways. I desperately want to believe that, despite living in a reality whose very fabric seems to be unfolding before our eyes, our collective journey through the days to come might help us face whatever comes next.

With everything in the world continuing to unfold, with each new and prolonged crisis, I cannot help but focus on the tenacity of this week. Perhaps, too I feel an indignant comfort in how staring down a world in chaos has only seemed to highlight the most important elements of this Holy Week: a protest through the streets that actively mocked an occupying empire, an intimate gathering of close friends sharing a meal amidst heightened anxieties, a desperate prayer in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, hours of keeping watch through the silence of night with a defiant hope.

However you approach this coming week, be it with anticipation and excitement or the numbness of enduring yet another year, I pray that the Spirit might find you and speak to you in the way you most need. May we all come home to this sacred moment and be transformed into the very Love we encounter in the altar, the cross, and the tomb. Amen.

Bio: Tom Gehring (He/They) is a pastor currently working as a chaplain in Metro Chicago providing spiritual care for individuals living with, or at risk for HIV. In their free time Tom loves to DJ, spend time outside, play lots of games (both video and board), read excessively thick fantasy novels, and work out with his lovely gym community. Tom has been serving as a member of ELM’s board of directors since October of ’23 and is honored to be a part of this ministry.

ELM Blog: Music Ministry to a New Beat

By Tom Gehring

The lockdown-era of the ongoing Covid pandemic had many of us exploring new hobbies and interests. For some, they nurtured sourdough starters and brought forth bountiful loaves. Others dove deep into the rabbit hole of brewing specialty coffee at home. Others still (most of us, if I remember) learned a lot about the world of exotic cats and the rather colorful characters who exist in that realm. For myself, it was an opportunity to do something I had been thinking about starting for decades: I started learning how to DJ.

Music has always been a major part of my life, and sharing music with others has been an integral part of how I enjoy the art. In elementary school, I always volunteered to provide music when we had a class party, and, as the child of a pastor, I attended more than my fair share of wedding receptions and was always enthralled by how the DJs could get an entire room of people out of their chairs, away from their food, and onto a dancefloor. And then, as a student at Luther Seminary, I had the chance to attend a house party planned and hosted by conveners of Decolonize Lutheranism. In between offerings of spoken word poetry, ongoing queer theology studies, and imbibing good food and drink, we danced to music provided by a DJ. It was one of the more authentic experiences I had of beloved community while a seminarian.

In January of 2021, I began my journey as a DJ, learning how to mix, how to match beats, how to blend between tracks, and transition across moods. I didn’t want the focus on me and my command of the tracks, rather I wanted to create a shared experience among the people who heard what I played. I was and still am fascinated and motivated by the concept of a group of people joining together and not just encountering the music I played, but co-creating a moment in time where we share in the same energies and emotions driven by the music.

I eventually created a persona for myself: DJ Happy Accidents (yes, in reference to the famous painter!) and started performing on the streaming platform Twitch. For just over 2.5 years now I have regularly played music on the internet and been intentional to keep the focus on the experience. For those who tune in, we not only enjoy the music and vibes together, but we share what we’re experiencing in life. Watching the people show up in Twitch Chat and support one another through hardships, while celebrating each other’s joys has been thrilling to see. When close colleagues first told me that in some ways, Twitch Chat was my mission field and my DJing was a ministry, I was resistant to the idea. I am of the opinion that we don’t need to ruin any more art forms by making Christian versions of them, and I have taken care to not bill myself as a Christian DJ.

However, in forming and creating this community online, as well as having opportunities to perform in-person, I do consider this hobby as a ministry. When we’re all caught up in the vibe of the music, I’ve found that people are willing and eager to show up as their authentic selves. The dance floor, or the chat window on Twitch, is a safe space for people to bring their full selves and engage in a co-creative process. We connect over the music, yes, but we also connect over the expression of emotion. And, for me at least, that is exactly why I continue to do this hobby.

If you’re interested in checking out my recorded mixes, want to tune in live on twitch, or shoot me an email, just follow this linktree: https://linktr.ee/djhappyaccidents

Tom Gehring (He/They) is a pastor currently working as a chaplain in Metro Chicago providing spiritual care for individuals living with, or at risk for HIV. In their free time Tom loves to DJ, spend time outside, play lots of games (both video and board), read excessively thick fantasy novels, and work out with his lovely gym community. Tom has been serving as a member of ELM’s board of directors since October of ’23 and is honored to be a part of this ministry.

ELM Blog: The Gay Man Who Became My Faithful Godmother by Mycah McNett

When I followed my heart after college to do a year with Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) with the ELCA, I did not expect that one of my best friends for years to come would be a 68-year-old Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.

To be honest, as a freshly graduated college student and someone who still was not quite out to herself, no less anyone else in my life, I was not sure what I was getting into by serving a church in Manchester, UK. What I found while I was there was the most welcoming, affirming, and diverse congregation that was excited to worship and be part of their local community for the benefit of everyone. It was the first congregation I had spent a significant amount of time in that so vocally and firmly believed that LGBTQIA+ people were beloved children of God and fully affirmed as we are.

One of my first outings with our church on the few days of arriving was to attend Manchester Pride and provide affirming messages of love from a faith perspective. We stood between the protesters and the rest of the parade, and it was from our spot on the sidelines that someone pointed out the float that one of our church members was riding. Alan was proudly in his full regalia as Sister Latex (OPI), waving with the other sisters.

(Left Photo) Alan and Mycah on a walk along a canal – he loved to walk around Manchester and share the city with me.

(Right Photo) Alan – Sister Latex OPI – posing with several Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at a Pride event. Alan is all the way to the left in this group.

Alan was the sacristan and always prepared the altar for worship (I learned more at his side about liturgical theology than I perhaps did in my own seminary class, sorry professor!). He also often prepared the other altar in our church, the counter where we hosted hospitality tea and cake. If no one baked a cake, he would pop around to the shops to get one and make sure we had enough tea to go around. In his spare time, he started a ministry teaching English to victims of human trafficking who lived near our church, getting a whole army of volunteers together to support our neighbors. He spent the rest of his volunteer time with an adult day center for people with dementia.

My friend, bless him, taught me what it was to be a follower of Jesus.

Alan came out as gay early in life, when he was sixteen and immigrated from a small town in Ireland to London, where he had a career in theatre and teaching. He joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence while there and shared so many wonderful stories of the loving chaotic ministry they did together.

We kept in near-weekly contact for a few years after I moved back to the US before he was diagnosed with cancer that he never recovered from. Even when he was too tired to respond, I would send him my latest updates from the States and remind him how deeply he was loved by his friends who became family, and by his creator.

Alan’s steady presence in faith and in my life was part of what brought me to my own understanding with God that I am a queer woman called to serve God’s people. I like to think of him as my faithful gay godmother who cheers me on in ministry every day.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are celebrating their 45th anniversary this Easter, and are distributing $45,000 in grants! The $250-$1000 grants are for projects that serve the Bay Area or particularly embattled communities in other locales around the country and the world that promote wellness, joy, tolerance, and diversity within our communities. Find out more about the grants and how to apply here.

The Rev. Mycah McNett graduated with honors in Biblical and Lutheran studies from United Lutheran Seminary. She was called as the second pastor at Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Devon, PA in the summer of 2023. Before seminary, Pastor Mycah served in church communication and youth ministry roles in Harrisonburg, VA, and was an ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission participant. Since 2022 Pastor Mycah has served on the Board of Directors for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and is an active member of the Proclaim Community for LGBTQIA+ Lutheran Rostered Leaders. Pastor Mycah lives in Downingtown with her spouse, Alyssa, and three cats, Minnie, Clio, and Clem.

ELM Ash Wednesday Haiku by Gretchen Rode

Molded from the mud
God breathes in us life and love
Ash to belov'd ash


Bio: Gretchen Rode enjoys preaching God’s all-encompassing love as the pastor at House of Hope Lutheran Church in New Hope Minnesota. She lives in the Twin Cities with her wife, Pastor Jill Rode, her four vivacious children, and her loveable hound dog. In her free time, she can be found contentedly reading in the sunshine or joyfully crushing her children at card games. 

Photo credit:

ELM Blog: Both/And by Alex Aivars

The story of the Samaritan woman meeting Jesus by the well (John 4:5-42) was never supposed to happen. Jesus, an unmarried Jewish man, and the unnamed woman, an unmarried Samaritan woman, were not supposed to meet. They were supposed to remain separate.

However, Jesus crosses the divide and speaks to the Samaritan woman. She is understandably surprised and says as much (verse 9).

This doesn’t stop Jesus. He keeps talking to the Samaritan woman. And the Samaritan woman keeps talking right back. Even when the Samaritan woman challenges Jesus, Jesus still stays in relationship.

In the end, the Samaritan woman becomes a believer in Jesus. And she tells EVERYONE, becoming one of the first evangelists in the Gospels.

I see similarities in this interaction of the Samaritan woman and Jesus, and the queer community. The Samaritan community was separate and cast out from the broader Jewish community. Queer history has been one of queer people either not being allowed in Christian spaces, or being required to change, or being required to hide. Historically there was more often than not some type of separation between those who are queer, and those who are Christian.

But Jesus and the Samaritan woman break the divide and have a conversation. I think of the many queer pioneers before me who broke the divide between the queer and Christian communities. I think about those who said, yes, I am both queer and Christian, and were loud about it. And then those that said yes, I am both queer and a ministerial leader, ordained by God, and were loud about it.

We have made strides in queer rights over the last few decades. In the Lutheran church, the 2009 decision allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly as pastors. Gay marriage being legalized nationwide in the United States in 2015.

And yet, the progress hasn’t been the same for everyone.

The people most helped by this progress have been white, cis-gender, gay men.

People like me.

While those in the queer community who are black, trans, women have not seen this progress benefit them in the same way.

Which means there is still work to do.

As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

My own freedom as a white, cis-gender, gay man is wrapped up in the freedom of those who are black, trans, women.

I’m Lutheran after all.

This is not either/or. This is both/and.

Bio: Alex is in his second call as pastor of Christ United Church in Dewitt, MI. Since this is a part-time call, he also develops websites for businesses, non-profits, and churches. In his spare time he likes to dance, be outdoors, travel, write and read.

ELM Announcement: Saying Goodbye to Olivia LaFlamme-Washington

Dear Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries & Proclaim Community,

After over five years as Program Director for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, Olivia LaFlamme-Washington will be concluding their time with ELM at the end of December. We are so incredibly thankful for the many gifts that Olivia has shared with us during their time with ELM. As Program Director, Olivia brought a clear vision and vibrant energy to accompanying Proclaimers, engaging leaders and volunteers, and partnering with the organization as a whole. In addition, during our recent period without an Executive Director, Olivia took on a myriad of additional responsibilities that ensured the continuing work of ELM. Their labor, dedication, and wisdom will forever have an impact on the life of our organization.

What does this mean for the immediate future for ELM, and specifically the Proclaim programs? Olivia has worked hard to engage, uplift and empower the volunteer leaders within Proclaim to work closely with the board and lead ministry teams, in particular the chaplains, welcome team, first call coaches, and identity-specific subgroups. If you have questions about specific program pieces, or simply would like accompaniment as you process this announcement, please reach out to us at board@elm.org.

What’s on the horizon for ELM? There is a team working on putting together an updated job description for an executive director and assembling a hiring team/call committee. We will be reaching out in early 2024 to Proclaim and the wider ELM community to recruit for individuals to serve on this team.

Board Secretary Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum and the chaplains are currently planning a farewell gathering on zoom on December 28th, 4pm EST (3pm CST, 2pm MST, and 1pm PST). We hope you will join us to give thanks for Olivia’s time with us and wish them well on their endeavors to come.

May your Christmas be blessed and your new year full of promise and abundant life,

Board of Directors
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries

ELM Blog: You are God’s Pride & Joy!

A Coming Out Day Reflection By Jessica Davis

This past month, something miraculous happened. I made a commitment to correct people whenever they misgendered me, and I actually followed through with it, and I didn’t go up in flames. I didn’t shake so hard that I felt like I would fall apart. Best of all, I didn’t poop my pants in terror, for which I definitely deserve a round of applause, lolsob. 

I’m a tough old goat who isn’t surprised or intimidated by much at this point. I’ve worked for years in prisons and forensic psychiatric facilities. I’ve lived through homelessness, domestic violence, and life in the ELCA as a Black disabled person (if that ain’t scary, I don’t know what is!) So I didn’t expect coming out as non-binary/agender to be so damn hard. But it is terrifying. Still. Despite all the progress that’s been made, there is still a very long way to go towards constructing a world/church where queer people are safe, affirmed, and fully welcomed (Ngl, it still feels weird using the term “queer” to apply to myself, as though I haven’t earned my place. I will likely never know even a fraction of the oppression, and outright violence that those who came before me endured, and that so many, especially Black trans women, still endure today. But it feels better knowing that they probably felt that imposter syndrome too.)

When I first joined the ELM board, I identified as female and insisted I was there as “just an ally.” I thought that constantly feeling like your gender was an itchy sweater you could never take off was just part of the human experience, especially for Black women, whose lived experiences of femininity will never be enough for white culture to give them full access to the category of “womanhood.” But during my time with the organization, I met more and more BIPOC non-binary folks. I realized our experiences and feelings and struggles aligned, and that it was ok to test out different pronouns and ways of identifying and see which fit the best. I had my first of many “coming outs/inviting ins” in a board meeting two years ago, and received so much support and acceptance and love. There have been more since then, including the big hurdle that this last month has represented. There will be many more in future. They will not all go well. But when they don’t, I know that I have a beloved community in ELM to reach out to, where I will find others who understand, who have “been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt”, and who have paved the way for me. 

My time serving on the ELM board has been intense, especially in the last few years. We have weathered the pandemic, massive funding losses, and huge questions and divisions around our mission and vision for the future, especially where racism is concerned. We haven’t always done it well. But I’m still here because I see and experience the constant desire to do better by vulnerable people, to cultivate healthier relationships, to lead from a position that affirms that queerness is not to be just tolerated, but celebrated. That’s why I serve and why I donate to support the work of this organization. It’s why I’m inviting you to do the same on this National Coming Out Day where we are so blessed to be able to have 400+ members of Proclaim and so many allies who remain committed to doing this crucial work. Will you join me in celebrating this moment in our lives together with a contribution of $4, $40, or $400? (Or maybe $400,000-somebody out there has got to have that winning Powerball ticket, right?!?)

Whether or not you are able to make a financial contribution, whether or not you are officially “out,” wherever you might be in your journey of the constant comings-out that is queer existence, that continual revelation of who God was and is creating you to be…You are loved. Mightily. Riotously. God has seen you and declared you (and me!) queerly beloved. Your picture hangs on Their refrigerator, and They wear the macaroni necklace you made in kindergarten as a crown, because you are Their pride and joy. Be safe this day, beloveds. If you’re ready to, be bold, secure in the knowledge that your queerness is divine and that you are not alone. Reach out to us at board@elm.org if you need prayer, a listening ear, or cheering on as you embark on a difficult conversation today. God loves you and so do we.


 Jessica Davis, MA (they/them) is a Christian educator, pastoral counselor, D/E/I educator, and freelance writer and speaker living in the Philadelphia area. Their ministry passions include: youth ministry, church music, and community visioning. When not doing churchy things, they can usually be found knitting, volunteering with refugees and asylum-seekers, or working as a freelance makeup artist. You can connect with their work through Jessica Davis Church Consulting on Facebook.

ELM Blog: Dance On, Beloveds by Rev Kelsey Brown


O’Shea Sibley loved to dance. It came out of his pores. Just even looking at the pictures and videos that have been shared since his life was cut short you can see it. He was made to move. He was created to share his gift – and boy did he share it. 

O’Shea was freedom, when the world had placed shackles on his feet. He was joy, in the face of horror and despair. He was love, and for him and his beloved community, Vogue was so much more than a Madonna song, or a jaded fad. For O’Shea and their siblings it was life. Renaissance and Beyonce’s nod to the Ballroom community made them (and me) feel seen and valued. It gave life. Heck… it still does because If I know anything about the vogue category… it doesn’t stop. If I know anything about the ballroom community – it doesn’t stop, no matter the forces of oppression that try to snatch away its crowns and dull its shine 

Ball culture and the houses which call its halls home are not just a commodity. They’re not some ancient relic from the 1980’s and 90’s, not a pastime, not wiped out by the AIDS epidemic only to be revived for tv profit. For the community, those houses and the families found within their doors are a beacon, a bright light in a mineshaft.  For our Black and Brown siblings in particular, they are a refuge, a welcome shelter from the storm.

When a hate crime is committed, especially towards a member of our own LGBTQ2SIA+ community it can be easy to hide away in fear. To be shamed and scared back into the closet… or into the shadows. That’s what they want – those who would try to hurt us.. those who sometimes succeed.

O’Shea never lived life in the shadows – even up until the moment he was taken from this world he was cutting up, he was oozing joy… he was caring for his community, he was putting his body, elegant lines, whirling motion, and all on the line. He stood up for his chosen family and was struck down for it. 

Today and every day forward we honor his life and the lives of all those Black and Brown bodies who didn’t make the headlines. We march for him, we cry out for him, and we DANCE FOR HIM.

O’Shea Sibley’s life mattered. It was complex and joyful. It was camp and extra.
it was worth all this life had to offer and we will not rest, we recommit ourselves to the work of making sure this doesn’t happen again. And we will push back against those who attempt to use his death as an excuse for Islamophobic hate. 

We gathered at that same Mobil station where on July 29th our sibling was struck down – a ball hosted by BlackTransLiberationKitchen– where we danced and shouted and gave thanks to God that O’Shea was with us and for us – and that we were with him. 

Each dip will be a blessing, each pose and chant a hallelujah, each fan clack an Amen. 

Rev. Kelsey Brown (she/her) describes herself as sometimes funny, frequently anxious, and completely committed to the liberation of all marginalized persons. Hailing from Suffolk County, Long Island, New York – she comes equipped with the accent & attitude to back it up. In her free time Pastor Kelsey can be found at the beach with a book of spoken word poetry, breaking it down on the dance floor, and exploring with Christian ritual creation. She believes with her full heart that God’s delight in diversity is call for us all to embrace the fullness of humanity.

ELM Statement regarding denial of Megan Rohrer’s on-leave from call status

Dear ELM constituents and supporters,

You have likely heard about Interim Bishop Claire Burkat’s (she/her) announcement last week that she has decided to deny former Bishop Dr. Megan Rohrer’s (he/they) request for On Leave From Call status, effectively removing Dr. Rohrer from the roster of Ministers of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA. This announcement has evoked a wide variety of responses from LGBTQIA2S+ church members and leaders across the ELCA and beyond, many of whom have contacted ELM to ask questions and express their feelings and thoughts. 

First, we’d like to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Many are asking if the racist actions that led ELM to suspend Dr. Rohrer’s membership in Proclaim were included in Bishop Burkat’s decision. To our knowledge, they were not. Representatives from ELM were interviewed by the Listening Panel that conducted the first investigation into Dr. Rohrer’s racist actions against Rev. Nelson Rabell-González and Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina (formerly Misión Latina Luterana). However, we were not interviewed for subsequent investigations. In addition, ELM is an independent non-profit organization that serves queer rostered leaders and candidates in the ELCA and ELCIC. As such, Dr. Rohrer’s actions in this organization are not within the purview of the synod or the Churchwide organization. However, it is understandable that the similar timelines of ELM’s announcement of Dr. Rohrer’s suspension of membership in Proclaim – or persistent and unrepentant racism towards fellow Proclaim members, board members, and ELM staff in December 2021 – and the public outcry regarding Dr. Rohrer’s racist actions toward Rev. Dr. Rabell-González and Iglesia Luterana Santa María Peregrina in December 2021, could lead outside observers to assume the events were connected. They were not, except in the sense that racism is an evil that infiltrates every aspect of our lives and that when racists are permitted to mistreat people of color in one organization, they become increasingly likely to do so in others.

Another common question is whether or not Dr. Rohrer is pursuing legal action against ELM. To our knowledge, he is not. Should this change, you will be notified. It is our understanding that Dr. Rohrer is pursuing legal action against the ELCA and the Sierra Pacific Synod for discriminatory practices. 

The third question we have encountered frequently this past week is if we regret our decision to suspend Dr. Rohrer’s membership in Proclaim in light of Bishop Burkat’s recent decision, and in light of the significant decrease in financial support that followed our decision. We do not. But we do regret not taking action sooner. Dr. Rohrer engaged in severe and persistent racism within ELM that was allowed to continue unchecked for years. When leadership finally began to take the reports from BIPOC members seriously, we tried to “fix” the problem by repeatedly engaging in unfruitful conversations with Dr. Rohrer and expecting that the behavior would magically change. When, in 2021, we finally listened to the alarm bells being raised by people of color and invited Dr. Rohrer into an intentional process of reconciliation, it was too little, too late. Dr. Rohrer declined our request and we made the difficult, but necessary decision to suspend them from their role in Proclaim and ELM, preventing them fromcontinuing to put BIPOC queer people at risk. If we had acted earlier, perhaps Dr. Rohrer would not have been able to go on to cause harm to BIPOC people (some of them also LGBTQIA2+) in his bishopric. This is something we continue to repent. We likewise repent not sharing our decision with the trans people in our constituency in a way that truly acknowledged how their own traumas around exclusion and expulsion from church spaces might be activated anew.

Lastly, many folks are asking how we feel about the announcement regarding the denial of Dr. Rohrer’s request for On Leave From Call status. That is a question that is harder to answer. There are people in and connected to our organization who are people of color, some of whom were directly harmed by Dr. Rohrer’s racism. There are transgender people in and connected to our organization, some of whom were removed from calls or churches because of their trans identity. There are QTBIPOC people in our organization who carry all of these painful experiences and more. There are QTBIPOC youth who have been watching a racist bishop being allowed to threaten and deride multiple BIPOC people and communities, while also watching that same bishop being threatened and derided because of their transness. It is for them that we continue endeavoring to do the crucial work of dismantling kyriarchy. This is a challenging goal indeed, but one for which we are uniquely suited. Queer Christians, especially queer Lutherans, and most especially QTBIPOC Lutherans, know how to hold multiple truths in tension. The first openly trans bishop in the ELCA has effectively been defrocked. That is something to mourn. And for the first time, an ELCA bishop faced real consequences for racist behavior and is not being permitted to continue to engage in that behavior in our denomination. That is something to celebrate. We can do both, and we know that God envelops us in loving care as we do so.

As for ELM’s plans for moving forward from this announcement, our goals are simple. We seek to listen closely and carefully to all people affected, especially QTBIPOC people, both simply to hear and honor their experiences and to better take action in the future. And we seek to pray for one another as we all navigate these complicated feelings, many of us doing so as our own traumas are being reactivated. This is incredibly difficult work, but we rejoice that we are not doing it alone. If you are in need of prayer, assistance in processing these events, or simply a listening ear, we are here. Please reach out to our Proclaim chaplains via the Proclaim Facebook group, or the ELM board at board@elm.org

As you go forward in this work, please know that we are praying for each of you in the name of the One who turns our mourning into dancing, who looses our sackcloth and clothes us with gladness, who promises eternal accompaniment.

God loves you and so do we,
ELM Board of Directors

ELM Blog: Remembering Marsha P. Johnson

ELM Blog: Remembering Marsha P. Johnson

As far as Queer saints go, Ms. Johnson is at the top of the list. She is joy, and light, and a constant companion in the search for God at work in this world. She worked tirelessly throughout her life to create a welcoming, loving community for LGBTQIA+ young folks through the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) which she started with Sylvia Rivera. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are often remembered as the first to throw a brick at the Stonewall Uprising which started in Greenwich Village in 1969. While they were not always welcome at Pride celebrations by cisgender members of the LGBTQIA+ community, they paved their way into the space through love and determination.
One of our favorite things about Marsha is the often-overlooked role she held as a spiritual leader in the community. This article touches on a bit on Marsha’s relationship with spirituality, and her life as a Saint of Welcome.
Here are a couple of our favorite videos of Marsha. Particularly on the day of her death (which, whatever way it went down, was likely terrifying), it is important for queer folks, esp. BIPOC queer folks, to see her happy.
Here she is singing Climb Every Mountain. Performed by the Hot Peaches at the Harvest Moon Cabaret at the Theater for the New City, NYC, 1990. Sung by Marsha P. Johnson with Ron Jones, Teri Paris, Jimmy Camicia, Tony Fish Nunziata, Michael Lynch, Mark Hannay. Steve Kauffman on the piano.
Here is an interview of Marsha talking about the importance of community care, and the importance of reaching a hand out to help each other in the LGBTQIA+ community.
This post was crafted by Board Members Jessica Davis (They/Them) and Mycah McNett (She/Her)