For many years Gloria Dei has supported Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and ReconcilingWorks, two organizations working for the full inclusion of LGTBQ people in the Lutheran Church. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) works to create welcome in the pulpit while ReconcilingWorks works to create welcome in the pews. These are separate important ministries that are unique and complementary.
Among other things, ReconcilingWorks administers the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) program, a way for Lutheran congregations to publicly declare their welcome of LGBTQ people. Gloria Dei has been an RIC congregation since the year 2000. In 2015, the Reconciling in Christ program served 440 congregations and today 849 congregations have become RIC. Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, violence has increased 87% towards LBGTQ community and the biggest request of ReconcilingWorks is how to talk and understand the terminology in the LGBTQ world.
Aubrey Thonvold, Executive Director of Reconciling Works, shared with the Social Justice and Outreach Committee that “Reconciling Works is deeply grateful for the partnership we have with Gloria Dei. Your community lives out its welcome statement in public and bold ways.”
ELM believes the public witness of LGBTQ ministers transforms the church and enriches the world. ELM acts on belief through three main programs:
Proclaim is a professional community of publicly-identified LGBTQ rostered ministers and seminarians. (Both Pastor Bradley and Pastor Javen are members of the Proclaim community.) This program has been growing rapidly. In 2014 there were 135 Proclaim members across the country and today membership exceeds 300.
The Accompaniment program supports LGBTQ candidates who are engaging in the Lutheran candidacy process, preparing for ordained ministry. The purpose of Accompaniment is to walk with candidates, recognizing that even though the ELCA policy has changed to welcome LGBTQ ministers, it is not always a welcoming journey. Today, about 10% of ELCA seminarians are members of Proclaim.
The Ministry Engagement program works with congregations, synods, and other ministry sites to open a diversity of calls to qualified LGBTQIA+ candidates. ELM has volunteers who attend Synod assemblies to share information and support candidates. And we help congregations to become welcoming to LGBTQ ministry staff.
In the Month of June, Gloria Dei’s second offering will be splits between ReconcilingWorks and Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. Please give generously to support these two organizations!