Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (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

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

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]

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

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. 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.
  4. Pastor Donna's Bio
  5. Rebels with a cause - ordination of gay clergy by Lutheran congregation in SF Bay Area - Brief Article | Advocate, The | Find Articles at BNET.com
  6. 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
  7. On this Day Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Erik Christensen, ECP candidate, to be ordained and called to St Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square in Chicago
  9. "Consortium of san francisco lutheran churches to ordain a queer pastor on november 18th." Archived December 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. (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)
  11. ECP Candidate Dawn Roginski called by St Francis Lutheran in San Francisco
  12. Lesbian pathbreaker to be ordained in S.F. - Queer Lesbian Gay News - Gay.com
  13. Lakeview Lutheran church ordains lesbian minister | Chicago Free Press
  14. HRC | Rev. Jen Nagel's Extraordinary Ordination Archived March 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. CityNews: Married Gay Minister's Ordination Causes Unrest In Lutheran Church Archived May 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. OutSmartMagazine.com
  17. "ELM Roster and Affiliates - Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries". Elm.org. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  18. "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. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  19. "ELM Roster and Affiliates - Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries". Elm.org. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  20. "ELCA Council Authorizes Rite, Receives Report on 'Bound Conscience'". ELCA News. Archived from the original on April 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  21. "Lutherans Offer Warm Welcome to Gay Pastors". NY Times. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
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