The Rev. Erik Christensen

Rev. Erik Christensen

Rev. Erik Christensen was extraordinarily ordained and called to serve as pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square in October 2006. Prior to receiving the call at St. Luke’s, Erik served as the Director of East Coast Operations with StandUp For Kids, a national non-profit organization working with and for runaway and homeless youth.

Since taking the call to serve at St. Luke’s, the congregation has grown from a worshiping community of approximately ten to over fifty, and the community continues to grow. In 2009, Erik was elected Dean of the Central Conference of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod. In October 2010 Erik was received onto the roster of the ELCA.

A graduate of Macalester College (’95); Candler School of Theology, Emory University (’02); and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (’04), Pastor Erik brings a wide variety of interests and experience to his ministry with St. Luke’s. Since 2009 he has served as a mentor to a group of summer ministry interns through The Beatitudes Society, an ecumenical ministry organization fostering a new generation of Progressive Christian leaders in the church. Pastor Erik serves as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.

The Rev. Paul Brenner

Rev. Paul Brenner

Rev. Paul R. Brenner, M.Div., M. Mu., began attending St. Francis Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA, in 2002 and was taken into membership at the Easter Vigil, 2003. He has served on the Worship Committee, the Board of the Friends of St. Francis Childcare Center, the St. Vincent de Paul Committee, facilitated the Adult Study Group for over two years, served as an interim pastor for a year and a half during St. Francis’ vacancy, and sings in the choir. A motet he composed was sung by the Men and Boys choir of St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Leipzig, Germany.

He has 30 years of leadership in the hospice movement, serving programs in Jacksonville, Florida, West Palm Beach, Florida, Rockville, Md. and Jacob Perlow Hospice at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City. He served ten years as pastor of a Lutheran inner city parish in Jacksonville, Florida, and also served as an interim pastor in that community.

Presently he volunteers in the Creative Healing Project, a program with his son, Matthew, which provides art experiences for children and teens diagnosed with potentially life threatening medical conditions. Paul is  from the LCMS tradition.

Rev. Paul Brenner was received onto the ELCA clergy roster in 2010.

The Rev. Lyle Beckman

Rev. Lyle Beckman

Contact Info for the Rev. Lyle Beckman:

New Night Minister in Town, by Catherine Cromelin (from the Bay Area Reporter – 5/17/2007)

Giving assistance to those often living on the margins of society and those who are in need of help whatever their circumstance, the San Francisco Night Ministry will install a new night minister this Sunday.

The Revered Lyle Beckman, 54, succeeded Father Don Fox, who recently retired after serving 11 years at the ministry. Beckman had been an assistant minister to Fox for the past three years and has been ordained for 27. Beckman, who is gay, has been living in the Bay Area since 2001 and spent the previous 20 years in congregations primarily in inner cities. He has also worked as a prison chaplain, a chaplain in a hospital psychiatric unit and at a congregation that did gang intervention work.

“I’ve always related well to people in urban environments and people who are a little bit marginalized by the church or society in general,” said Beckman.

The night ministry was started in 1964 by two clergy, one Lutheran and one United Presbyterian, who were concerned about the people of San Francisco at night when virtually all other support agencies were closed. They started the ministry, welcoming all denominations to participate, with support from local churches and private donors. Over the last 43 years the night ministry has made itself available to people on the street from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. every night of the year with a hotline and at least one ordained clergy person available wherever he or she is needed. The ministers will go to homes, bars, coffee shops, or hotels and they fill a number of different needs for those who call on them.

“Anything from active listening, which can involve praying or not, to making some realistic referrals in terms of the programs or agencies that might be useful for them in the morning,” said Beckman of the types of services the ministry provides. “But generally, if someone is really in crisis, we’ll just be with them and stay with them until someone can take over for us in the morning or until we know they’ll be fine.”

He said that most of the time, the ministry doesn’t create long-term relationships; rather, its role is to get people over a crisis. A few people do call the ministry on a regular basis and Beckman said that for those people, the ministry is a stable source of support.

“I think crisis is a relative term,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of someone being lonely. At that moment in their life, that’s a crisis. At that moment they need to talk to someone because they’re feeling that loneliness so acutely. They can’t call their friends or they don’t have any. Older people can’t call their children because they’ll be afraid ‘mom is losing it.’ And so they call us.”

The night ministry has a fair amount of focus on those living in the Tenderloin, but staff will go anywhere in the city where they are needed. Beverly Barrows, administrative assistant, said that callers to the ministry’s crisis line are from all over the Bay Area and even from other cities such as New York.

Beckman’s new role as lead minister of the night ministry will include working with the agency’s governing board to plan for the future as well as talking about financial aid and promotion of the night ministry. He will also be responsible for training assistant night ministers and counseling staff who man the phones. In the coming year, he hopes to increase the number of ministers out on the street to three every evening, communicate with donors and supporters of the ministry more regularly through e-mail, and to establish a daytime phone line. Currently, there is at least one minister on the streets every night and a couple times a week, there are two.

In addition to Beckman, there are eight other assistant ministers working at the agency and approximately 38 volunteers who answer the telephones. Beckman estimates that they typically receive 15 to 20 calls a night and the minister out on the street will have the same number of significant conversations with individuals.

“I’ve never been frightened or scared. I’ve been uncomfortable,” Beckman explained about his work at night. “It’s not the people, it’s the situations they find themselves in, and therefore, I’m in as well. Some of the rooming hotels in the Tenderloin are not the cleanest places. The assault on the nostrils from some of the hotels: the bugs, the roaches. I’ve spent quite a few nights sitting on the curb with folks and there’s rats running at your feet and that’s an uncomfortable experience. But, I’ve never been uncomfortable with a person.”

The night ministry’s crisis line is (415) 441-0123, 10pm to 2am everyday

The Rev. Jodi Barry

Rev. Jodi Barry (left)

Rev. Jodi Barry has been a chaplain at Mercy Hospital since May 2003. Prior to that, she was an on call chaplain at North Memorial Medical Center and Regions Hospital. Jodi is also the youth director at Grace University Lutheran Church.

Jodi was baptized, raised, and confirmed at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Maplewood, MN.  She graduated from Bethel College, St. Paul, MN with a B.A. in Literature (1990). Jodi has felt called to ministry since high school, and explains, “Once I started my “coming out” process regarding my sexuality, I thought my calling and my sexuality were incompatible.”

After college, Jodi went to Texas and left the church. Thankfully, she was invited to attend The Cathedral Of Hope, Metropolitan Community Church (MCC).

“While I was at church that first Sunday, I cried through the whole service, and especially during communion.  It was the first time I’d ever seen a woman preside, and the invitation to communion has stayed with me:  “you don’t have to be a member of this church, or of any church; all we ask is that you be seeking a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.”  It was my first time back in church as an “out” lesbian, and I wondered where this new relationship with God would lead.”

After moving back to Minnesota, Jodi attended United Theological Seminary (UTS) of the Twin Cities, graduating in 2001 with a M.Div. A year of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency followed, 2001-2002. Jodi is extremely grateful to her residency mates: Diaconal Minister Patty Lee, Rev. Karla McGray, and Rev. Pam Arends, and CPE Supervisor: Janet LaBrecque.

Jodi’s passions and callings include ministering to un-churched people, emergency preparedness, training, and starting new ministries at the hospital.

“Working at Mercy Hospital has been amazing! When I went there for my first job interview, I was quite sure that I had driven to the North Dakota border.  When patients ask me if I have a church, I joyfully respond that the hospital is my church, and my congregation changes every day. Chaplaincy ministry is ministry in the moment, and I feel so honored and blessed to minister to folks in extremely difficult times; it is a gift.”

Jodi and her spouse, Rev. Dr. Jenny Mason (pictured at right), live in North St. Paul. The love biking, yard work, eating out, and having family and friends over.  Jenny is currently working as a Congregational Partnership Organizer with Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation, a developer of affordable housing. They met at an ECP/ELM roster retreat and dated long distance before Jenny graciously agreed to move to Minnesota. We also enjoy time with our “kids”: Ralphie our Sun Conure Parrot and Trixie our Golden Doodle. They really are the cutest, and a sure sign of what unconditional love looks like.

Rev. Jodi Barry was received onto the ELCA clergy roster in 2010.

The Rev. Richard Andersen

Rev. Richard Andersen

Rev. Richard Andersen received his Life Coaching training from the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, California. He is a Certified Life Coach of adults and their organizational systems.  A graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul,  Andersen was ordained in 1986.  He was approved for reinstatement to the roster having served a Lutheran parish earlier in his life. His second career as a senior financial consultant at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans allowed him to help clients shape their futures. He draws on these life skills in his passion for coaching people through life-enriching change.

With colleague, Ruth Frost, Richard founded Third Act Life Discovery, a spiritual journey of the heart designed to help people live purposefully and embrace a full life. Andersen is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at United Theological Seminary.  Richard is currently the Director of Congregational Relations for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.  “My life has revolved around being gay and acknowledging my call to serve the church,” Richard explains.