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
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
Associate Director of Development & Communications – Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer (she/her/hers)
Location: Seattle, WA
Anna came to love the Church and being a queer Lutheran by way of outdoor ministry. Daughter of a camp director, Anna grew up living and working at camps for 22 years before becoming the national events coordinator at Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center in the Cascade Mountains. She then returned to her home state of Wisconsin to serve for 3.5 years as founding Assistant Director of the St. Norbert College Cassandra Voss Center, centering transformative programming on race, class, gender, and identity. Anna also does freelance education and writing as a social justice consultant, and has published with Sojourners, Religion News Service, Teaching Tolerance (Southern Poverty Law Center), Religious Response, Ms. Magazine, and Parker Palmer’s Center for Courage & Renewal.
With a B.A. in Communication focusing on Critical Identity Studies and an M.A. in Liberal Studies focusing on management, ethics, and social justice, Anna dreams about how communities within Academia, Activism, and the Church can share resources towards a vision of justice.
Program & Administrative Assistant – Hannah Dorn (she/her/hers)
Location: Chicago, IL
Growing up Lutheran in Cary, IL, Hannah always felt a sense of attachment to her faith. However, as a teen attending church became a chore and she lost touch. Luckily, in college she stumbled upon the Christian Sorority Sigma Phi Lambda Sisters for the Lord. Phi Lamb helped re-establish her Lutheran faith by welcoming her with open arms and embodying the idea that our love for God binds us more than anything else. It was in a time of trial–the loss of a close friend–that her faith in Jesus forever rooted itself and has continued to guide her through life and now to ELM where she delights in being a cis, het ally to her siblings in Christ.
Hannah is an avid rock climber and manages a small bouldering gym in Chicago. When she is not rock climbing or working, she is probably trapped on the couch under one or both of her cats, Pablo and Lana.