Imagery of church-related people and places.


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

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Meet our Staff

Read more about ELM and our 4-day work week here.

Executive Director- Amalia Vagts (she/her/hers)
Usual Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9-6 Central Time
Location: Decorah, IA

Amalia Vagts

Photo: Parker Deen.

Amalia began serving in 2006 as development director for Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries and was named executive director for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries following LLGM’s merger with Extraordinary Candidacy Project in 2007. Amalia is a lifelong Lutheran, with Midwest roots and branches on the East and West coasts.

Amalia graduated from Luther College with majors in Religion and English. Prior to working for ELM, Amalia spent nine years working for sexual health justice at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A publicly-identified bisexual person, Amalia is an advocate for LGBTQ justice in her home state of Iowa. After living in Madison, WI; Ann Arbor, MI; San Francisco, CA; Washington, D.C.; Indianapolis, IN; and Holden Village, WA she returned to Decorah, Iowa where she now lives with her partner, David Lester. She is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah.++



Program Director – Rev. Asher O’Callaghan (he/him/his)
Usual Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9-6 Central Time
Location: Long Beach, CA


Photo by Emily Ann Garcia.

Before becoming a Lutheran pastor, Asher fancied himself spiritual but not religious. He thought he was done with organized religion after growing up transgender and bisexual in a fundamentalist church. But then he stumbled into a church called House For All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado where God messed up all his plans. There he heard an invitation he couldn’t help but share.

From Christ’s open table he heard: “Behold who you are. Become what you receive.”Becoming what he’s received has led him to earn a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary, to pastor a small mountain congregation called Zion Lutheran Church in Idaho Springs, Colorado, and now to serve as ELM’s Program Director. Asher is a member of Proclaim, a former Joel R. Workin scholar, and served on the ELM Board of Directors until March of this year.


Communications & Development Coordinator – Christephor Gilbert (he/him/his)
Office Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9-6 Central Time
Location: Chicago, IL

Christephor Gilbert. Photo by Jason McGovern, LSTC.

Photo by Jason McGovern/LSTC

Christephor is a student in the Master of Divinity program at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, is in candidacy with the ELCA toward Word and Sacrament ministry, and a member of Proclaim.  He is the 2016 Joel R. Workin Scholar. Prior to seminary, Christephor worked as the Program Manager for the Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts in Louisville, KY, which was a natural move from his first career as a dancer, dance educator, and choreographer (MFA Dance, University of Hawaii, 1993).  Christephor lives in Hyde Park with his partner Donald and their three cats.  He is a member of Third Lutheran Church in Louisville, KY. Christephor works two days a week from Chicago, IL.