ELM + P.O. Box 14317 + Chicago, IL 60614-8503

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Meet our Staff

Executive Director – Rev. Amanda Gerken-Nelson (she/her/hers)
Location: Portland, ME

Photo by Emily Ann Garcia

Amanda grew up attending Immanuel Lutheran Church in her hometown of Attleboro, Massachusetts where she first encountered the wonder of faith. After attending Wheaton College (Norton, MA) where she majored in International Relations and German Studies, Amanda worked in development and public relations for a domestic and sexual violence agency in Southeastern Massachusetts. In the fall of 2010, following the 2009 ELCA Churchwide decision to allow openly LGBTQIA+ persons to serve as leaders of the church, Amanda moved across the country to attend Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California (part of the Graduate Theological Union) to follow her call.

On May 31st, 2015 Amanda was ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament and called to serve as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in East Hartford, Connecticut. Amanda joined ELM as the Executive Director in the summer of 2017 having been an active volunteer and a member of Proclaim, the professional community for Lutheran pastors, rostered lay leaders, candidates, and seminarians who publicly identify as LGBTQIA+. Amanda resides in Portland, ME with her dog Cinna.

Program Director – Olivia LaFlamme (they/them/theirs)
Location: Chicago, IL

Olivia is a Black queer feminist. They have an M.A. in Women and Gender Studies with an emphasis on queer theory and a B.A. in Comparative Women’s Studies with a concentration in Social Justice. Olivia is a budding filmmaker (focused in documentary) and their thesis project, entitled “Spirits Speak,” is an experimental documentary exploring queer temporality as it is demonstrated through ancestral/lineage projects (spiritual, archival and artistic). They have a background in organizing, administration in the university, and teaching.
Raised in the Assemblies of God Christian church, they have since cobbled together several religious traditions that inform their own spiritual identity. Olivia views faith in the Supernatural as crucial to their ability to move through this world that would seek to destroy their gender non-conforming, Black and queer body. They have an amazing and supportive partner, three younger siblings, and loving parents.

Associate Director of Development & Communications – Lewis Eggleston (he/him/his)
Location: Kaiserslautern, GA

Vicar Lewis Eggleston is an Air Force spouse currently living in Kaiserslautern, Germany with his husband Mitchell and dog-child Carla. He attended seminary at Pacific School of Religion and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA, and he interned with Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church in Seguin, TX and currently in candidacy for Ministry of Word & Service. He’s been an advocate for children’s access to the arts through both museum and symphonic educational programming and has worked with unhoused individuals and families for the past ten years. In his free time, he loves to attend musicals whilst fighting every urge to sing-along.

Operations Support – Sharei Green (she/her/hers)
Location: Chicago, IL

Biography Coming Soon!

3 Replies to “Staff”

  1. Greetings, my name is Galen Shriner and I am in the final stages to be consecrated as Deacon within the Lutheran Diaconic Association. Though I am not become ordained I am wondering how I might become a part of this community.

  2. I would seriously receive an email from a minister, Phyliss Zillart that I long to remember! has given compassion to my life! She will recall her devoted touch while Larry Rowel was dying, and her compassion, by God’s touch, made my loss a memorial of his passing.

    I have now no way to contact to this especial minister, other than to give my deepest gratitude for a moment in time, you gave a deep compassion to me and my dying Partner.

    I most would deeply appreciate a call so beyond more than my thanks, but again to know all is well with you and Ruth.

    In My Deepest Love,

    Chuck Hancock

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