Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries

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Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (https://www.elm.org)(ELM), founded on October 31, 2007, is an organization committed to the full participation of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life and ministry of the Lutheran church. ELM stands in opposition to the policies of discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender individuals in Lutheran churches around the world.

History and background[edit]

Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries was founded in 1990. LLGM enabled sexual minority people to pursue their calls to ministry and worked with congregations and communities to create ordained positions despite social and institutional prohibitions supporting and permitting openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) pastors and the congregations served by those pastors.

The Extraordinary Candidacy Project was founded in 1993. ECP credentialed openly gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender seminarians, candidates, ordained and commissioned ministers that were preparing for professional vocations in independent Lutheran parishes and congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The ELM roster currently has 34 ministers, 2 individuals approved for call and 3 seminarians. Discipline for congregations that call pastors from the ELM roster has varied throughout the ELCA. Members of the ELM Roster are/were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.[1]

On the 490th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 theses calling for reform in the Catholic Church, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries virtually posted its theology statement urging Lutheran churches around the world to return to their Lutheran core and end the practice of mandated celibacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender pastors.[2]

On January 1, 2009 ELM opened the official international office in Chicago, Illinois.

Extraordinary Ordinations[edit]

Rooted in the extraordinary ordinations that were performed by Martin Luther and the reformers as recorded in the Lutheran Confessions, 18 Extraordinary Ordinations have taken place to date. In the days before the first Extraordinary Ordination, Krister Stendahl, Harvard professor and Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Stockholm of the Church of Sweden, wrote to Jeff, Ruth, and Phyllis: “Since I cannot be with you at your ordination which—it seems—must take place extra ordinem, I want to send you a greeting affirming my conviction that the steps that your congregations and you are taking stand well before God.”[3]

  • 1 - 3 Extraordinary Ordination of Jeff Johnson, Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart- January 22, 1990: Pastor Jeff Johnson is called by First United Lutheran Church. Pastors Frost and Zillhart are called by St. Francis Lutheran. This first extraordinary Ordination resulted in a trial and the ultimate expulsion of First United and St. Francis from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.[4]
  • 4. Extraordinary Ordination of Donna Simon - October 28, 2000 in Kansas City: Pastor Simon was called by Abiding Peace Lutheran.[5]
  • 5. Extraordinary Ordination of Craig Minich - February 18, 2001 in Berkeley: Pastor Minich is called by two Oakland churches and University Lutheran in Berkeley [6]
  • 6. Extraordinary Ordination of Anita C. Hill - April 28, 2001 in St. Paul, Minnesota: Pastor Hill was called to St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota to serve with Pastor Paul Tidemann, a straight pastor in the congregation. The congregation is censured, but the censure is later repealed. Active ELCA Bishop Paul Egertson participated in Anita's ordination as did the Rev. Dr. Krister Stendahl, Bishop of the Church of Sweden.[7]
  • 7. Extraordinary Ordination of Sharon Stalkfleet - May 12, 2002 in the Bay Area: Pastor Stalkfleet is called to the East Bay Nursing Home
  • 8. Extraordinary Ordination of Jay Wiesner - July 25, 2004 in Minneapolis: Pastor Wiesner was originally called by Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis; he is now serving University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Philadelphia [8]
  • 9. Extraordinary Ordination of Erik Christensen - October 21, 2006 in Chicago: Pastor Christensen was called to St. Luke's of Logan Square.[9]
  • 10. Extraordinary Ordination of Megan Rohrer - November 18, 2006 in San Francisco: Pastor Rohrer was called to be the director of the Welcome Ministry with a call from HerChurch; Christ Church; St. Francis and Sts. Mary and Martha in San Francisco.[10] Queer in sexuality and gender, Rohrer became the first openly transgender person to be ordained in the Lutheran church.[11]
  • 11. Extraordinary Ordination of Dawn Roginski - June 16, 2007 in San Francisco: Pastor Roginski was called on March 25, 2007 by St Francis Lutheran Church of San Francisco to serve as its Pastor of Parish Programs.[12][13]
  • 12. Extraordinary Ordination of Jen Rude - November 17, 2007 in Chicago: Pastor Rude was called to Resurrection Lutheran and the Night Ministry in Chicago.[14]
  • 13. Extraordinary Ordination of Jen Nagel - January 19, 2008 in Minneapolis: Pastor Nagel was called to Salem Lutheran where she had been serving for four and a half years as a pastoral minister.[15]
  • 14. Extraordinary Ordination of Lionel Ketola - May 16, 2008 in Newmarket, Ontario: Pastor Ketola was called to Holy Cross where he will serve as associate pastor and Ambassador of Reconciliation.[16] Ketola became the first legally married gay man to be ordained in the Lutheran church. Later, the congregation and the pastors who participated in the ordination were censured by the local bishop, who is investigating whether or not to further discipline the congregation.
  • 15. Extraordinary Ordination of Lura Groen - July 26, 2008 in Houston: Pastor Groen was called to Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.[17]
  • 16. Extraordinary Ordination of Jodi Barry - October 25, 2008 in Minneapolis: Pastor Barry was the first pastor called by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries to a specialized ministry. Pastor Barry is a hospital chaplain.[18]
  • 17. Extraordinary Ordination of Jay Wilson - December 6, 2008 in San Francisco:[19][20]
  • 18. Extraordinary Ordination of Steve Keiser - January 5, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA: Pastor Keiser was ordained at Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.[21]

These ordinations were later validated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America when the extraordinarily ordained pastors where brought into the church through a "Rite of Reconcilliation." [22] The first rite was held in San Francisco with the "SPS7," when the Revs. Jeff Johnson, Paul Brenner, Megan Rohrer, Dawn Roginski, Ross Merkel, Craig Minich and Sharron Stalkfleet were received into the ELCA.[23] Currently all the extraordinarily ordained pastors have been received into the ELCA except for Jay Wilson.

Passing of the stole[edit]

Each ordination since the Rev. Anita Hill has received a traveling stole: The red stole was presented to Pastor Anita Hill by the Rev. Lynne Lorenzen at Anita’s ordination on April 28, 2001. Lynne had received it from the Rev. Rebecca Hostetler, a member of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church and a lesbian who left the ELCA roster at her bishop’s request when he learned she was in a committed relationship. Lynne passed the stole to Anita with the request that she pass it to the next ordained from the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (now, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries) roster.

Anita passed the stole to the Rev. Sharon Stalkfleet when Sharon was ordained a month later. Sharon held onto the stole, presenting it in 2004 to the Rev. Jay Wiesner. Jay presented it to the Rev. Erik Christensen in 2006. A month later, it was passed to the Rev. Megan Rohrer, then in 2007 to the Rev. Dawn Roginski, then to the Rev. Jen Rude ordained at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago who kept the stole for two months before passing it along to the Rev. Jen Nagel. A few months later, it was passed to the Rev. Lionel Ketola, who then passed it to the Rev. Lura Groen.

At ELM's annual retreat for pastors in 2011, celebrating the reception of ELM pastor's onto the roster of the ELCA and the Proclaim group for publicly recognized GLBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians, a service used the traveling stole to symbolize the changed church policy and to create healing for the pastors ordained extraordinarily.


  1. ^ Who We Are - Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries
  2. ^ News and Press Information - Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Archived December 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Jane Gross, Special to the New York Times (January 22, 1990). "San Francisco Journal; Milestone In Church: Gay Clergy Ordained". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  5. ^ Pastor Donna's Bio Archived 2008-05-15 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Rebels with a cause - ordination of gay clergy by Lutheran congregation in SF Bay Area - Brief Article | Advocate, The | Find Articles at BNET.com
  7. ^ A joyful ordination breaks the rules; Anita Hill became a minister, going against the ELCA policy that lesbian clergy be celibate.(NEWS) | Article from Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) | HighBeam Research
  8. ^ On this Day Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Erik Christensen, ECP candidate, to be ordained and called to St Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square in Chicago
  10. ^ "Consortium of san francisco lutheran churches to ordain a queer pastor on november 18th." Archived December 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20080705230414/http://www.goodsoil.org/press/ministry_booklet.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ ECP Candidate Dawn Roginski called by St Francis Lutheran in San Francisco
  13. ^ "Lesbian pathbreaker to be ordained in S.F. - Queer Lesbian Gay News - Gay.com". Archived from the original on 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  14. ^ Lakeview Lutheran church ordains lesbian minister | Chicago Free Press Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ HRC | Rev. Jen Nagel's Extraordinary Ordination Archived March 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ CityNews: Married Gay Minister's Ordination Causes Unrest In Lutheran Church Archived May 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ OutSmartMagazine.com Archived 2008-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ [2] "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2008-10-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "ELM Roster and Affiliates - Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries". Elm.org. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  20. ^ "Home:: Welcome - a communal response to poverty: san francisco, homeless, hunger, education, san francisco, whole body care, trauma counseling, community gardening, communal cooking, mental health care, housing, shelter, social worker, lutheran, interfaith, religious, presbyterian, episcopal, neighborhood". Welcomeministry.org. Archived from the original on 2010-03-14. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  21. ^ "ELM Roster and Affiliates - Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries". Elm.org. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  22. ^ "ELCA Council Authorizes Rite, Receives Report on 'Bound Conscience'". ELCA News. Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  23. ^ "Lutherans Offer Warm Welcome to Gay Pastors". NY Times. Retrieved 2010-04-16.

External links[edit]