On August 30th, north across Logan Boulevard from the white-topped tents of the Logan Square Farmer’s Market, individuals and households from St. Luke’s, physically distanced and masked, steadily gathered in and trailed out to say thanks and farewell to Pastoral Intern Elle Dowd. The end of August, which marked the anticipation of several upcoming transitions for our congregation, also brought with it the conclusion of Elle’s year-long internship at St. Luke’s. St. Luke’s Council gives a special thanksgiving for Elle’s ministry this September, especially as it follows Elle’s graduation from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and ELCA Candidacy approval. Adding to the long list of students and interns cultivated throughout the years in our congregation, St. Luke’s is proud to have nourished Elle’s gifts in ministry and Council is grateful for the ways Elle both contributed and helped expand our congregation’s ministry, theological imagination, antiracism work, climate activism, and substantive actions for worldly justice.
Additionally, Council recognizes our members who faithfully served on Elle’s Internship Committee: Debra Morris(Chair), Brian Klassen, Sarena Griffin, and Eric Halvorson. The recent sermon series “Stories You Don’t Hear in Church,” was especially indicative of Elle’s work, according to members of the Internship Committee. “I’ve been going to church all my life,” said one member, “I know the standard evangelical spins on the usual biblical texts, and I’ve internalized some of their toxic messages about sexuality, gender, and sin. But …there’s something so fresh and challenging about Elle’s sermons.” These members further said that “worth mentioning is Elle’s leadership with St. Luke’s Public Faith team. Aside from developing member’s social justice organizing skills, [Elle’s] work on that team has reframed ‘power,’ not as something dirty and to be avoided, but something that people of faith should claim and use.”
St. Luke’s further gives thanks for the blessings and magnanimous presence of Elle’s family: her daughters Alice and Jessica and husband Adam Dowd. They have undoubtedly shaped Elle’s compassionate ministry with children at St. Luke’s, with a special vigor for seeking ways to include kids to participate in liturgy and worship. For all the ways Elle has made our members feel “seen” by her ministry, and the ways Elle has likewise been shaped by the experiences and relationships (including navigating ministry during a pandemic!), St. Luke’s wishes Elle the best in her future endeavors.