ELM Board

Coming Out, Being Proud

ELM Board
The ELM Board is thankful to lead the way in giving to ELM.

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 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
Amalia Vagts

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.

Pastor Jen Rude Honored

In 2000, Windy City Times established an award to acknowledge the young movers and shakers of the LGBT community: the 30 Under 30 Awards. Thirty young activists, journalists, students, HIV/AIDS volunteers and performers who were each under the age of 30 were honored for their achievements in moving the LGBT community forward. Each year since, another 30 get their day in the sun.Awards were presented at the Center on Halsted Tuesday, June 24, 2008. Please follow the links to read about this year’s honorees.


Jen Rude is a 28-year-old Pisces. She knows all the 50 states in alphabetical order and has lived in six of them, having moved to Chicago three years ago. Although as a child she aspired to be the first woman president of the United States, she currently serves as associate pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Lakeview and on the Youth Outreach Team at The Night Ministry ( working with young people who are experiencing homelessness and queer youth ) . Rude was the 12th “extraordinarily” ordained queer Lutheran pastor in November 2007. She graduated from Augustana College in South Dakota, and then thought she would try a more progressive and queer-friendly area of the country. In Berkeley, Cal., she earned her Master’s from Pacific School of Religion and learned why the city is affectionately nicknamed “Bezerkeley.” Her favorite things about Chicago include the lake, summer festivals, public transit and Midwestern friendliness.

DID YOU KNOW? A childhood gymnast, Rude has been sighted more than once doing cartwheels on the streets of Chicago. Her first job was at Dairy Queen and she continues to love ice cream and all things sugary. As for her childhood, although she doesn’t remember it, surely her subconscious is still working through the trauma of the time when she was two and a half years old and she slept through the whole night with a dead mouse in the foot of her pajamas. She is not a fan of animals to this day.

Reprinted from: http://www.wctimes.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=18731

Day Two: Ordination Day May 16th, 2008

What a wonderful day. Holy Cross Congregation (their church is to the right) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada ordained Lionel Ketola as their pastor. The first extraordinary ordination in Canada and the first extraordinary ordination of a legally married ELM rostered pastor.

Lionel’s day began with talking to the media. In fact that’s what’s he’s been doing for the last two weeks. He has appeared on most of the local news stations. You can watch the video of one of the local news stations here. I caught a picture of Lionel talking to the Finish press at a press availability held just before the ordination service.

Hopefully all of the attention will be wonderful evangelism for Holy Cross. We’ve heard that the press at several of the past ordinations has produced a number of new members and friends at the congregations of our newest ELM pastors.

At 7:30 the service began. And despite the letter from the bishop threatening discipline to any clergy that attend the service more than three dozen attended the service (and happily posed for a photo too). Those present noted that the Canadians have been working for this moment for more than 30 years. It has been 20 years since Lionel was first told that he could not be a pastor in the ELCIC because of his sexual orientation.

Today, Lionel’s 20 years of faithful waiting and preparation ended. When all of these hands were laid upon him. In this moment, Lionel became the 14th person to be ordained extraordinarily.

Congratulations Lionel and the members of Holy Cross!

We hope to see you all in Houston in July for the ordination of Lura Groen.

-Rev. Megan Rohrer
Communications Chair

Photo Journal May 15th: Ordination of Lionel Ketola

Day One: Traveling to Newmarket Ontario

I left San Francisco on a red eye and headed to Ontario. There was a very beautiful sunset at the airport.

In the morning I arrived in Buffalo, NY where I hopped in the rental car and headed to Canada. The boarder guard seemed a little suspicious that I would enter Canada to attend an ordination. I guess he didn’t read the story in the paper about the historic ordination that will happen tomorrow in Newmarket!

Then I drove for about a half hour to stop at Niagara Falls. While it may be a bit cheesy, the rainbow in the falls made me smile and wonder if my journey was being blessed.

Before becoming the sign of GLBTQ pride in the modern day, ancient Christians associated the rainbow with gender queerness. They believed anyone who walked under a rainbow would recieve a miraculous sex change from God(dess)*.

After visiting the falls I set off to Newmarket. And settled in for some rest before the all the ordination activities tomorrow.

*I use God(dess) not only because the 4 congregations that called me name God differently (some use male pronouns, some female and some androgynous). But also to have a gender queer understanding of God(dess) that more accurately matches the greek/hebrew. This is a way of describing God(dess) as both male/female.

-Rev. Megan Rohrer
Communications Chair

First Extraordinary Call in Canada

Canada Congregation Votes to Call ELM Roster Member
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) is proud to announce that the members of the Newmarket Ontario, Holy Cross Lutheran Church (ELCiC) voted to call Lionel Ketola, which will result in the first extraordinary ordination in Canada.

Lionel first served at Holy Cross Lutheran Church as an intern, with the support of a grant from ELM (who was Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries at the time). Today the congregation voted to call Lionel as Associate Pastor, deployed as an Ambassador of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:16-21) in the ELCIC, to further the work of full inclusion in the ELCIC. Major funding for this position will come from a three year seed grant from Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Learn more about Lionel