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