Amalia Vagts, ELM Executive Director
October 11 was International Coming Out Day. For some, this is a day to help make the decision to start coming out about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. For many, the day becomes an annual ritual of “coming out” again. Visibility leads to understanding, to acceptance, to celebration.
Now we’re inviting you to come out and be proud about your support for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Many people say they support LGBTQ leaders in the church. We want to celebrate you for investing in these leaders and their ministries.
We’ve launched new Friends Circles to bear witness and give thanks to the wonderful people who sustain this ministry. These circles give us a chance to say thank you, and give you a chance to celebrate your work with ELM. We encourage you to share the good news of your support for ELM. We’ll thank our friends in our 2015 Annual Report and in new ways throughout the year.
- Extraordinary Friends – those giving $10+ monthly
- Faithful Friends – those giving $300 yearly (or $25 monthly)
- Fabulous Friends – those giving $600 yearly (or $50 monthly)
- Faithful & Fabulous Friends – those giving $1,000 yearly (or $84 monthly)
- Extraordinarily Faithful & Fabulous Friends – those giving $2,500+ yearly
Matthew 6:21 states it so beautifully: ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I also like the version in The Message: “It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
When you invest your treasure in Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries…
- You help host the Proclaim retreat for a growing number of LGBTQ rostered leaders, candidates, and seminarians (now up to 170!).
- You help create resources like the candidacy guide, the call committee guide, and the First Call candidates handbook.
- You help address new trends, like a growing number of LGBTQ seminarians (currently 48!) through projects like the Proclaim Seminarian Team and Proclaim Seminary Advocates
- You help educate churchwide and synodical staff about the gifts LGBTQ leaders bring to the church.
You tell me it feels great to support this work. One long-time wonderful supporter was excited to find out they were now “Faithful & Fabulous Friends.” She told me, “I’ve been faithful before, but I’m not sure I’ve been fabulous!” We are thankful for ALL our friends!
Amalia Vagts, Executive Director, is thankful for a faithful and fabulous spouse who took part in a serious stewardship conversation and decided that he felt “extraordinarily” good about their decision to increase their monthly support.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Co-Chair Pastor Erik Christensen and Executive Director Amalia Vagts (pictured at right) were in Washington, D.C. last week for the Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call. Pastor Erik and Amalia joined several hundred others, including ELM friends Pastor Jim & Diane DeLange and Pastor Bradley Schmeling, for the two-day conference and lobby day.
The first day consisted of speakers and conversation about transgender issues (including information about HRC’s new transgender curriculum) and diversity; and an update on marriage equality; and updates from President Obama’s Council on Faith-based Initiatives. The day ended with a lively two hour interfaith service.
The group met with members of Congress to discuss legislation that would add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disability to federal hate crimes legislation and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which would make prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
During this time of reflection and anticipation, we invite you to virtually visit some of the pastors on the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries roster as they examine and experience Holy Week in their own communities.
Pastor Megan Rohrer is on her annual Lenten Street Retreat. Follow her Street Retreat blog.
Pastor Donna Simon is blogging here.
Pastor Erik Christensen is posting his sermons here.
Pastor Dan Hooper is blogging here.
May these pastors’ words bring insight, reflection and connection to your week.