It was nearly twenty years ago that two San Francisco congregations of the ELCA defied the official ban on partnered gay clergy by extraordinarily ordaining a lesbian couple to a joint ministry call and a gay man to a second congregation. Since then, a number of other ELCA congregations and gay pastoral candidates have faced official sanctions for similar acts of civil disobedience, and the number of extraordinarily ordained clergy swelled to over twenty.
After the ELCA church wide assembly actions of 2009 (CWA09) reversed the ban on partnered gay clergy, these extraordinarily ordained clergy have been welcomed onto the rolls of rostered ELCA clergy through very public Rites of Reception. The first two, in particular, were especially symbolic as the three groundbreaking pastors from San Francisco and other pioneers in the Extraordinary Ordination movement were received as officially recognized ELCA clergy.
The Rites of Reception have continued in recent months.
- Jen Nagel, Minneapolis, Sept 26th
- Erik Christensen, Chicago, Oct 10th
- Donna Simon, Kansas City, Oct 28th
- Jodi Barry, Minneapolis, Oct 30th
- Lura Groen, Houston, Nov 7th
- Jay Wiesner, Philadelphia, Dec 12th
Pastor Jay Wiesner is a Facebook friend, and the list of well wishers is endless. Another Facebook friend, Pastor Anita Hill, was scheduled to be the preacher at Jay’s service yesterday, but with the historic blizzard in Minnesota, Pastor Hill’s flight was cancelled, and she was unable to preach. Sounds like another Facebook friend, Ross Murray, stepped into the breach. Jay and Ross are founders and mainstays behind the Minnesota camp for gay youth called “The Naming Project.”
Blessings on the continuing ministries of all.
UPDATE: Here is photo of the Rite on Sunday for Jay Wiesner and a link to a very nice article on the website of the SE Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA.