The story of St. Luke’s redevelopment over the last decade cannot be told without reference to the partnership we have shared with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM, formerly Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries). If it hadn’t been for a postcard mailed to congregations with open calls inviting them to include gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender candidates in their process, St. Luke’s might not have found a pastor willing to take a chance on a ministry of such radical transformation and re-imagination. ELM walked with St. Luke’s through the process of interviewing and calling a pastor to serve the congregation at a time before the denomination was ready to credential publicly identified LGBTQ clergy. ELM continued to support St. Luke’s through the early years of our redevelopment with over $50,000 in grants over five years that underwrote the costs of our slow growth as we moved toward self-sufficiency. Later, after our redevelopment had begun, ELM moved its offices from San Francisco to Chicago, making St. Luke’s the home base for its own rapidly expanding operations.
With our decision to list our building for sale, ELM was faced with the necessity of finding new office space in Chicago. At the end of March they closed their St. Luke’s office and are in the process of selecting a new permanent location. Given our long history together, we did not want this moment to go unmarked, so we set aside this coming Sunday, April 12th — the Second Sunday of Easter — to celebrate the new life awaiting both organizations as we move into the futures God has prepared for us.
We will be welcoming members of the ELM staff and board of directors this Sunday, along with friends and supporters, to our worship. Executive Director Amalia Vagts will preach. The Rev. Jen Rude will assist, and board member Margaret Moreland will be a reader within our service. We will be taking up a justice offering to support ELM’s on-going ministry as they continue to support and advocate for the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life and ministry of the Lutheran church. There will be a light coffee hour reception in the narthex immediately following worship, and all who would like are invited to join Pastor Erik and our guests for an informal brunch at El Cid afterward.
For more information, contact Pastor Erik.