Friday, May 09, 2008

Simply Extraordinary

Shrimp here. Thanks in part to Cap'n Bill's post last Sunday of the report of two more extraordinary calls by ELCA congregations, we clicked the link to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
ELM provides financial, pastoral, and legal support to sexual minority pastors and to the congregations and organizations that support them. In addition we encourage congregations to consider calling sexual minority clergy approved by the Candidacy and Credentialling Ellipse. ELM has provided assistance to scores of Lutheran pastors, often after their congregations, colleagues and bishops have deserted them. Annually, ELM provides financial support to congregations who call our pastors.
On the front page you'll find the announcement of ELM's first Canadian venture.
Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) is proud to announce that the members of the Newmarket Ontario, Holy Cross Lutheran Church (ELCiC) voted to call Lionel Ketola, which will result in the first extraordinary ordination in Canada.
ELM's announcement of its Canadian invasion is here. Learn more about Mr. Ketola here.

A bit further down is the music CD Out of the Extraordinary...
...a compilation album project to raise visibility of the issue of ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer (GLBTQ) pastors and raise funds for scholarships and debt relief for the GLBTQ pastors that have chosen to be or have been forced outside of the ELCA roster of pastors.
Shrimp confesses to being rather impressed that the artists on the album include the Indigo Girls and the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. The other artists we'd never heard of. Except for one that we are familiar with because of a long association with the ELCA's national Youth Gatherings, other youth-oriented ELCA-related events, Lutheran Men in Mission, etc. The group: Dakota Road.


And then there's the highlight of the entire ELM site: its roster of ordained clergy, those "approved" for ordination, and seminarians. With only a few exceptions, each has a short biography on the ELM site there for all to read. Many offer quite interesting testimonies.

One of them includes this paragraph:
Gruel is currently affiliated with Peace Lutheran Church, Lake Como, Florida, a congregation of the Association of Free Lutheran Churches (AFLC). With full support of the congregation’s current minister, he functions there with full recognition of his sexual orientation and his ordained and rostered status. In addition to leading a weekly Bible study and preaching, he served as Eucharistic celebrant on Reformation Sunday in 2006, the first time he had been allowed to do so in a congregational setting in over 25 years.
Now that is truly extraordinary: a homosexually partnered man functioning as a pastor in a congregation of the Association of Free Lutheran Churches. Read it here!

It's not just the ELCA folks. Shrimp out.


Anonymous said...

Hi there Shrimp. Checked out the AFLC issue, and the church mentioned by ELM is no longer on the AFLC roster. This is not a congregation of the AFLC, although there are congregations removed from the roster who continue to use the name.

There are three AFLC congregations in Florida. They are Peace Lutheran Church of Crescent City; Cornerstone Christian of Riverview; and Rivers Edge Community Church of Sarasota.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler, Pastor AFLC

Anonymous said...

Hi Shrimp!

I goofed. The Peace Lutheran Church of Crescent City is the one mentioned by ELM. I am going to the AFLC convention in Oklahoma City and will ask about this. I will let you know what they say.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler, Pastor AFLC

Anonymous said...

"ELM provides financial, pastoral, and legal support to sexual minority pastors and to the congregations and organizations that support them."

Perhaps Megan or someone can tell us just what in in the budget line under "lawyers"?

Shrimp said...

Thank you, Pastor Buechler, for checking into this.

Anonymous said...

Greetings Shrimp!

I had an emai exchange with Nate, who is mentioned by ELM as serving an AFLC congregation. This was part of his response.

"It never would have occurred to me that service in Christ’s Church in any context requires the consent of the AFLC, AELC, LC-MS, etc. If you are implying that I am pastoring a congregation of the AFLC, you are incorrect."

What this may mean is either he is no longer serving the AFLC congregation, or the AFLC congregation is no longer on the roster of the AFLC.

I'll check further.

Peace in the Lord!
Rob Buechler

Rev. Megan M. Rohrer said...

There is no line item for lawyers. Every lawyer that has worked on the defense for openly queer folk who are put on trial by the ELCA have worked pro-bono. Though ELM did have a special appeal for Bradley Schmeling's trial which helped the congregation with other expenses related to the trial. We raised more than $12,000. That compared to the more than $150,000 the ELCA spent is a drop in the hat.

Nearly 80% of ELM's budget goes towards mission partners - to help ministry to happen.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...