Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries organizes queer seminarians and rostered ministers, confronts barriers and systemic oppression, and activates queer ideas and movements within the Lutheran Church.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries anticipates a church in which queer leadership is valued, empowered, and celebrated: queer-led ministries are dynamic and thriving; all marginalized communities are liberated and honored; and justice flows from the sacraments as they overwhelm us and bring us to life.
Our organization began as a movement in 1990 within the Lutheran church in resistance to an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) policy that required celibacy for gay clergy. At a time when the ELCA barred noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy from serving, our predecessor organizations, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, supported lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy and the congregations and ministries that called them. We maintained a credentialing and rostering process for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy who were previously barred from serving in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), (as well as currently in other Lutheran bodies); worked with congregations and ministries to secure calls for members of our roster; and provided direct financial support to the ministries led by these pastors. In 2007, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project merged to form Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
When the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted in August of 2009 to open its ministry policies to partnered gay and lesbian pastors, some observers wondered if Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries would end its work. Initially, we focused on the process by which people who received their credentials through ELM would transition to the ELCA roster.
Far from feeling it was time to close our doors; we concluded that by creating a network for publicly-identified queer 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 queer people seeking to become rostered leaders in the Lutheran church. Queer people know what it is like to be on the margins of the church. Through their ministry, queer-rostered ministry 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. Lastly, we saw a need for deeper engagement with allied congregations and ministries committed to the visible ministry of the current 350+ queer rostered leaders.
Thank you for your supporting queer ministry leaders! We're always eternally grateful to our donors for your support and for GiveOUT Day 2021. 😍 We hope you can GiveOUT today to ELM! Blessings!