from your friends at ELM!
If the songs fall flat this year and the traditions don’t live up to their usual warmth, that’s okay. Christ, Immanuel, is in our midst and with us in our grief.
The love that came into the world on that day continues to surround us, and our resilience as the beloveds of Christ is greater than we may realize.
May you and yours find the place in your body and spirit where the spark of that unconditional love resides and cherish it this blessed Christmastide.
On Thursday, November 26th, ELM posted a GIF to our Facebook and Instagram accounts that included the phrase “Happy Thanksgiving.” In sharing this message without further analysis of the holiday and the narratives it perpetuates, ELM was complicit in the erasure of both the current and historic experiences of oppression and genocide that our Indigenous siblings face. For this, we are deeply sorry and repent our actions.
In our efforts to deepen our knowledge and awareness of both the historical and contemporary struggles faced by Native communities, ELM’s staff commit to additional training and learning. We will acknowledge the stolen land on which we reside at both in-person and virtual meetings and will get to know the histories of the Indigenous nations in the communities in which we reside.
We commend the videos below to you, our community, as they have been commended to us by Native friends of ELM. We also invite you to join us in our efforts to grow in awareness and appreciation for the gifts of our Indigenous siblings.
This Advent season members of the Proclaim community have graciously offered moments of reflection with Advent-inspired haiku. We hope you take this time to reflect, wait, & prepare for what new life might lay ahead. Peace.
* Photo Description: Scene of a flower petal blooming in snow, with the words: Anxiously waiting, the eternal mystery, when…when will she come? Haiku by: Anna Gordy.
This Advent season members of the Proclaim community have graciously offered moments of reflection with Advent-inspired haiku’s. We hope you take this time to reflect, wait, & prepare for what new life might lay ahead. Peace.
* Photo Description: Scene of the sun peering through a forest with the words “Soft mornings, mourning, Dwelling in the deep earth-soil. (God’s enfolding love)” on the forest floor. Haiku by Reed Fowler.
an excerpt from
Dear God, I Am Gay- Thank you
by Joel Workin
CW: mentions of scriptural ableist language
First, I want to say that God hates AIDS. God hates the suffering, the dying, the agony and loss that AIDS causes, just as God hated the disease, death and blindness and suffering of Jesus’ time. God hates it. God does not cause AIDS, nor is AIDS God’s judgment or punishment on anyone. There is no one in this church whose life is immune from tragedy- death, hardships, sorrows, maybe AIDS- bad and horrible things happen to us all, but this does not mean that God is punishing us with each bad thing that happens. We live in a fallen world. Bad things happen- to good and to bad people. Good things happen- to bad and to good people. God can maybe use the bad, can turn it into good, but God still hates it and does not cause it. The God who came to earth to be with the sick and the outcast, to give sight to the blind, and to set the prisoner free, who came to wipe away every tear from our eyes- this God is not up in heaven zapping those people with illness.
Now I know that many people in this room know what it is to be one of those people. Some of you know what it is like to be stared at in stores and restaurants because you are different. Some of you know what it is like to be discarded and disregarded at work, overlooked for a promotion because you are one of those people. But it seems to me many of us have also experienced that when the world rejects, God accepts. Because we know we have the love of God who will not refuse or abuse, discard or disregard. Others may have left us, but God is with us. Others may say no, but God says yes. Others may say, “You are one of those people,” but God says, “You are one of my people.”
What Jesus says is this- that God came to earth to be with those people, the outcasts and the discarded. And since that is so, then let us each say this: “Lord, let me be one of those people. Let me be one of those people who love too much. Let me be one of those people who sits with and eats with the refused and abused. Let me be one of those people who knows that perfect love casts out all fear. Let me be one of those people who knows that ‘in Christ there is no east or west, no north or south, but one great fellowship of love, close binding humankind.’ Yes, Lord, make me one of those people. I have been refused by the world, now let me be infused by your love.”
Greetings from the ELM Board of Directors!
Thank you for the extraordinary support you continue to provide ELM and the LGBTQIA+ leaders we serve! Your ongoing commitment to our organization inspires and empowers us to continue in our belief that the public witness of gender and sexual minority ministers transforms the church and enriches the world.
No doubt, you will not be surprised to hear that 2020 has been a year unlike any in the recent history of ELM. Some of the plans and priorities we set at the start of this year have had to be paused or delayed in getting going as our Board and staff adapted to the realities of a global pandemic.
Canceling the 2020 Proclaim Gathering was a hard and sad decision to make — the staff and many of the Proclaim members and Spice (Spouses of Proclaim members) on the Board know how integral that event is to the sustained care and celebration of our community. We are proud of the ELM staff and volunteers for the ways they have continued to buoy our community through creative programming and unceasing advocacy.
This fall, the ELM Board of Directors made significant progress in our strategic planning efforts as we look to discern ELM’s mission and vision in our current time and context. We engaged a visioning consultant as well as strategic conversation partners to help our Board and staff articulate both who ELM is and how we engage our mission in the church and in the world today as well as into the next five years. We are excited to share the results of our work with you in the new year!
ELM is an organization that takes anti-oppression seriously and strives to be anti-racist in all of the ways we engage both our ELM community and the wider community of the church and world. As such, the ELM Board underwent the first of a two-part training on ableism at our fall retreat and we continue our efforts to interrogate and review existing policies and practices while at the same time creating new organizational documents that help to articulate our values and give shape to how we function as a staff, Board, and community.
We are thrilled that the ELM Endowment will be making its first grants this winter to ministry partners who share ELM’s commitment to lifting up and supporting queer ministries and leaders. The ELM Board anticipates receiving recommendations from the ELM Endowment Committee (Peter Beeson, Amanda Gerken-Nelson, Jim Kowalski — chair, Margaret Moreland, and Margarette Ouji) at our December meeting with announcements and grants offered in early 2021. Thank you to Blanche Grube and Joe McMahon, who rest in light eternal, for their love and shared belief in our mission that inspired them to set the foundation for this Endowment. And, our thanks go to all of you who have ELM as part of your estate plan who will continue to make bold, faithful, queer ministries possible for years to come!
Finally, our thanks to our fellow ELM Board of Directors for their dedication, passion, and wisdom which help to fan the flame of our movement and to ensure ELM remains the beacon of hope, liberation, and justice for all queer leaders we strive to be.
Emily Ann Garcia, Co-Chair
Matthew James, Co-Chair
The ELM Board of Directors
Emily Ann Garcia, Co-Chair
Matthew James, Co-Chair
JM Longworth, Secretary
Jan Peterson, Treasurer
Emily E. Ewing
Des Moines, IA
Clyde Andrew Walter