In 1990, a pair of Lutheran congregations in the “Castro”, the San Francisco neighborhood called the “gay capitol of the world”, ordained an openly gay man and a lesbian couple.  That was the start of Lutheran Gay and Lesbian Ministries.  Later renamed Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), this agency would ordain and roster over thirty gay and lesbian Lutheran ministry candidates because the ELCA refused to do so.  Of course, ELCA policy changed with the momentous churchwide assembly of 2009.

So, what should ELM do now?  A new course was charted for ELM at their January board meeting.

Far from feeling it was time to close our doors; we concluded that by creating a network for publicly-identified LGBTQ rostered leaders in a major Protestant denomination, we can participate in changing the church and transforming society. Furthermore, we concluded that we are strongly positioned to provide much needed support to LGBTQ people seeking to become rostered leaders in the Lutheran church. LGBTQ people know what it is like to be on the margins of the church. Through their ministry, LGBTQ rostered leaders are poised to offer an evangelical outreach to many and to work alongside others longing to be connected to a church that truly welcomes all.

ELM will soon be hosting a workshop/retreat at Stony Brook Conference Center in New York.  Here are the details, cut and pasted from the ELM website:

Proclaim logoThe Proclaim retreat is a gathering of publicly identified LGBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians for a time of renewal, community building, and professional development. The 2012 retreat will be held at Stony Point Center, New York, April 18-21. Our keynote speaker is Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, who will join us for most of the retreat.

This retreat is open to members of Proclaim, significant others, and children 3 and under. For information on joining Proclaim go here.

The retreat begins with dinner on Wednesday evening and concludes with lunch on Saturday.

More about the Event:

This retreat will be the second gathering of Proclaim. We will gather together and embrace what it means to be publicly identified leaders as we care for ourselves, as we live in and amongst our communities, and as we serve as public witness to the Gospel.

The keynote speaker this year is Bishop Gene Robinson, the current bishop of the New England diocese of the Episcopalian church. Bp. Robinson is the first publicly identified gay person to be elected bishop in a major Christian denomination. His story is featured in the 2007 feature-length documentary, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” and his book In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (Seabury Books, New York) was released in 2008.


Here is a sample of sessions and discussion items for our time together:

  • What is the banquet that we are invited to? What motivates/propels us forward? What feeds our souls?
  • Discuss how LGBTQ leaders can shape and reshape church and community in the present and into the future.
  • Examine how LGBTQ leaders are a gift to the church.
  • Offer opportunities for LGBTQ leaders to hone and sharpen skills for ministry.
  • Create a vision of what this community and church might look like in 10 years–when we are all moving/going together.

Registration is OPEN. Go here to register.

Registration Deadline is March 16, 2012.

If you have questions, please contact Rachael Johnson,