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.
Rev. Jenny Mason served as an ELCA missionary in Santiago, Chile before being removed from the ELCA clergy roster in 2001 because she was an openly lesbian woman in relationship. Jenny then served as Associate Pastor at Central City Lutheran Mission (CCLM) in San Bernardino, California, which was disciplined by the Synod for installing Jenny. This resulted in the loss of both funding and official ELCA status as a congregation in development for this unique social ministry and active worship community.
Jenny holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Proclamation from the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago. Jenny moved to the Twin Cities in 2005 to live with her partner, the Rev. Jodi Barry, and now works as a Congregational Partnership Organizer for a faith-based developer of affordable housing.
Well, what’s next for ELM? Many of you have been asking us in recent days, since the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to change their rostering policies regarding clergy in same-sex relationships.
In the coming days and weeks, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries will be talking about our next steps as we continue to support ministry opportunities people of all sexual orientations and gender identities called to ordained ministry in the Lutheran church. Check back in the next day or so for a response from the Covenant Circle of ELM.
We are interested in hearing from you! Share your thoughts by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Jay Wilson (ELM) and Pastor Megan Rohrer (ELM) joined hundreds of other transgender faith leaders in Washington, D.C. this past week for the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Religious Leaders Summit and Lobby Day.
Pastor Jay and Pastor Megan met with members during a critical week as the U.S. House debated the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H. R. 1913), moving one step closer to the passage of the first federal law to include gender identity and transgender people in a positive way. This bill would add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to the categories included in existing federal hate crimes law and would allow federal involvement in instances when the local government is unable or unwilling to address hate crimes.
Get the story directly from Pastor Megan here: queerbiblestudy.blogspot.com
(Photo: Rev. Megan Rohrer)