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.
ELM welcomes the following new people to volunteer leadership roles with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
Fred Wolfe (Philadelphia, PA) – Candidacy and Credentialing
A long-time member of University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Philadelphia, PA and currently serves as Administrator. He is active on the SEPA South East Pennsylvania Synod’s LGBTQ Task Force, serving as Camp Director for “Wonderfully Made,” a camp for LGBTQ high school youth, and has been active with the YES! Coalition, a Delaware Valley Inter-Faith LGBTQ organization. Fred lives in Philadelphia with his partner, Gary Bronson.
Rose Beeson (Phoenix, AZ) – Congregations & Ministries
Currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is a member of Faith Lutheran Church. Rose was central in her congregation’s process to open calls to the ELM roster. She serves as Secretary of Lutherans Concerned/North America and is a past Regional Coordinator for LC/NA. Rose is moving to Berkeley, CA this summer and will begin a master of divinity program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall.
Vance Blackfox (Tulsa, OK) – At large member
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, lives in Oaks, Oklahoma and serves as Director of Annual Fund for the Oaks Indian Mission. Vance was very active in the Lutheran Youth Organization, including service as the President of the Churchwide Board of the LYO and serving on many planning teams for the ELCA’s Youth Gathering. Vance is moving to Chicago this summer to begin his studies toward a Ph.D. at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago this fall.
Pastor Paul Egertson (Thousad Oaks, CA) – Vocational Support & Oversight
A retired ELCA pastor and bishop emeritus of the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA. He resigned as bishop in 2001 after presiding at the extraordinary ordination of Pastor Anita Hill. He is currently the only ELCA bishop who has presided at an extraordinary ordination while in office. Pastor Paul Egertson resides in Thousand Oaks with his wife, Shirley, and serves as senior lecturer at California Lutheran University.
Favorite food dish
Fred: I’m dying to taste candied grapefruit rind dipped in dark chocolate. I have more of a bitter tooth than a sweet tooth. Don’t know what that means.
Vance: Korean BBQ!
Rose: Running with Scissors, Tipping the Velvet, Real Women Have Curves, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Paul: Anchors Aweigh (I saw it 12 times as a kid).
Fred: When I’m not at church, I always seem to either have a camera in front of my face or a trowel in my hand, sometimes both at once. Most of our garden grows in containers, either on our roofs or in the yard (to keep out of the path of the dogs).
Vance: I am a movie watcher! A weekly trip the theater, with friends or alone, is a must if at all possible.
Rose: Traveling, volunteering with the theater, participating in a bi-weekly Socrates CafÃ©, meeting friends at a bar after the Socrates CafÃ© to discuss the definition of words.
Paul: Reading and exploring the Internet.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries rosters qualified candidates
for extraordinary ministry and connects them with extraordinary congregations and ministries who are committed to the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Lutheran life and ministry.
We just created a fun facebook application that enables you to send your favorite Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries pastors to your facebook friends:
Not only are all of these pastors “out” about their sexual orientations and gender identities, we are “out” about who they are and how our candidacy process works.
Learn about the faces and names on our roster.