Hundreds of people braved sub-zero temperatures to gather at Salem English Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and ordain Jennifer Lea Nagel. Rev. Nagel is the 13th member of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries roster to be ordained extra ordinem because the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) does not allow the ordinations of individuals in same-sex relationships.
Nagel’s ordination occurred almost exactly 18 years after the first extraordinary ordinations of Rev. Ruth Frost, Rev. Jeff Johnson, and Rev. Phyllis Zillhart in 1990 in San Francisco, California.
“Now 18 years later,” Rev. Nagel told the congregation, “I experience awe in the witness of the Gospel alive in communities of faith, and frustration that extraordinary ordinations are even necessary.”
She continued, “Our tradition’s long history of reformation guides us as we stand with our hopes and prayers before God this day to participate in this extraordinary ordination. My heart is full of gratitude for your presence that mingles with the prayers of friends and colleagues far and wide.”
Preacher Rev. Angela Denise Davis continued the theme, recognizing the extraordinary action Salem English Lutheran Church is taking and their response to the Gospel.
“Being extraordinary is being open and willing to how God brings people into the fold.” Citing the story of Peter and Cornelius, she exhorted the congregation, “listen to Joppa; do work in Caesarea; and know there will be fallout in Jerusalem.”
The ordaining ministers in the service included three retired ELCA bishops – Rev. Darold Beekmann, Rev. David Brown, and Rev. Lowell Erdahl, and around one hundred clergy. During the rite of ordination and throughout the service stoles from the Shower of Stoles Project served as a backdrop. The Shower of Stoles Project is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other garments representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered religious leaders. Jen wore the red stole that was originally presented to Rev. Anita Hill at her ordination in 2000 and which has been worn by six openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender pastors since then.
Following the Saturday ordination, Rev. Nagel was back to work on Sunday presiding at worship with Rev. Erik Christensen, co-chair of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, preaching.
“There is a sense of urgency,” Rev. Christensen remarked, “with the acceleration of ordinations. More and more Lutheran Congregations, like Salem English, are recognizing that the best pastor for them may not be on the ELCA roster. They are standing in principled non-compliance against institutional policies that not only deny qualified people from serving as pastors, but also deny them the gifts of those pastors. It is an honor for ELM to work with these congregations and insure the credentials of the pastors they call.”
Help Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Get Greener
“We are also called to be stewards of God’s creation, to live more sustainable, responsible lives with others in the world.” – ELM Vision Document
Something about this holiday season and the way the letters E-L-M come together has got us thinking about trees and our commitment to be “stewards of God’s creation. As you read this, the latest newsletter of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is on its way to your front door. Each newsletters was printed on paper and transported by plane and truck to your front door. If you are willing and able to recieve your newsletters via pdf delivered to your email, please let us know so we can be better stewards of our precious resources. You can also save paper for envelopes and checks by making your donations online. As we continue to work on becoming greener, we will let you know more ways you can help.
ELM Radio Feature:
Amalia Vagts Talks about Clergy Debt Relief
Listen to a short clip from an interview of ELM Development Director Amalia Vagts that aired on Decorah’s 100.5. Hear Amalia talk about the seminary debt costs for pastors who chose to be honest about their sexual orientation and gender identity. You will also hear some songs from the ELM Benefit Album, Out of the Extraordinary that seeks to raise awareness of the issue, with 100% of the proceeds to debt relief for ELM seminarians and roster members.
Photos from Chicago Posted Online
Jen Rude became the first pastor to be ordained in the newly formed Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) and the first official challenge to the new ELCA policy of “Refrain and Restraint” that was passed at its biennial assembly August 6-11 in Chicago. View the photos …
Transformational Minneapolis Congregation Votes to Call Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Pastor
(Minneapolis, MN) Seeking to speak the language of their neighborhood, in 1889 Salem English Lutheran was one of the first Lutheran congregations west of Chicago to worship in English; on Sunday November 11th it also became one of the first Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations to call a member of the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) roster.
Jen Nagel has been serving as the Pastoral Minister of Salem Lutheran for four and a half years, and on January 19th she will be ordained and installed as a minister of Word and Sacrament and become their Pastor. Nagel will be ordained in an “Extraordinary Ordination” service January 19. The service is called such because it is performed outside the ordinary guidelines for Lutheran ordinations. Learn more…
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Awards Scholarship to Seminarian Matt James
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) announces the 2007 Joel Raydon Workin Memorial Scholar. This year’s recipient is Matt James. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries provides the $1,000 scholarship annually to Lutheran sexual and gender minority seminarians who, in their living and loving, embody a gospel-centered passion for justice and devotion to faith in Jesus Christ.
“Matt is an exceptional candidate, whose passion and gifts for ministry uphold the faithful integrity and courage that was central to the life and writings of Joel Raydon Workin.” Greg Egertson, Workin Memorial Scholarship Chair. Learn More…