Extra Ordinem in the City of Brotherly Love: On Sunday, January 25 nineteen years and 5 days after the current wave of extraordinary Lutheran ordinations began, about 500 people including 40 vested clergy gathered at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Philadelphia for the ordination extra ordinem of Steve Keiser (pictured). Pr. Keiser is rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries .
Rev. Margaret Ainslie a seminary classmate of Pr. Keiser and now pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church in Philadelphia preached. The Gospel for the occasion was John 4: 5 - 42, the story ofJesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
Presiding over the rite of ordination were Rev. Kari Hart, Rev. Daved E. Farley, Rev. Raymond M. Kvanda, Rev. Timothy Poston, Rev. Jeffrey Ziegler, Rev. Jay Wiesner, Rev. Andrena Ingram, Rev. Kris Hill, Rev. Regina Goodrish, Rev. Bruce Todd, and Rev. Violet C. Little.The acclamation of the newly ordained pastor is usually done by the presiding minister, but Pr. Keiser's ordination was acclaimed by Ms. Dorothy Stevens, a senior member of the congregation. In conversation with one of our reporters after the service, Ms. Stevens noted that in her 90 years, she had outlived many of the congregation's pastors.
Choral and intrumental music for the service were uniformly excellent and included both the Holy Communion Choir (directed by music director Joe Buches) and Brotherly Love the small group ensemble of the
Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus. Our reporter was especially enthusiastic about the offertory, Joel Bryant's elegant jazz arrangement of A Mighty Fortress for solo piano.
At the reception following the service, our reporter, eavesdropping on a conversation between Pr. Ainslie and ELM Development Director Amalia Vagts, learned that the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia Class of 1999 is making a donation to ELM in honor of Pr. Keiser.
Pr. Keiser's ordination is the first ordination extra ordinem by an ELCA congregation in the eastern United States. Our reporter notes that, except for the absence of Bishop Claire Burkat (Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod and also a member of Holy Communion Lutheran), it would have been difficult to discern the extra ordinem character of the event.

Faith and Freedom Conference: The National Lutheran Alliance will host Faith and Freedom, the alliance's first national conference, on March 19-21 in Washington, D.C.
Conference speakers will discuss the role of faith in citizenship and the benefits of religious freedom.The program will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 1998 religious freedom victory of KFUO Radio in litigation with the Federal Communications Commission.
Founded in 2007, the National Lutheran Alliance is a partnership of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon; and the Chicago-based Lutheran Education Association (LEA).
The alliance exists:
to build relationships, encourage good citizenship, bring the expertise and experience of Lutheran entities to help strengthen government, give expression to values and theological positions, and to develop internship and other education opportunities for a variety of individuals and groups.


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    ELM To Get First Executive Director: In an email dated January 20, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) co-chairs Pr. Erik Christensen and Ms. Lois Voss announced that beginning Feb. 1, Development Director Amalia Vagts (pictured) will become ELM's first Executive Director. Ms. Vagts has served as development director since October, 2006.

    BXVI Stars on YouTube: On January 23, videos of Pope Benedict XVI debuted on the Vatican's YouTube Channel. The Catholic News Agency reported that the channel's initial offering included footage of the Pope's Christmas Message and Blessing, the January 1 celebration of the World Peace Day, and segments in which the Pope speaks about the advantages of new social technology.
    Fr. Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See’s press office, has declared that the new channel will be updated daily with new video clips.

    Run On Water Date Set: The 2009 Run On Water will be held on February 28, 2009, the first Saturday in Lent.
    The event is sponsored by the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce and benefits the Bayfield Recreation Center. Participants can choose to run, walk, ski, or snowshoe the 5-mile course across frozen Lake Superior from Bayfield, Wisconsin to Madeline Island and back. The race will begin at 11AM. Bishop Thorvald "Wally" Noe-Effingway (Central Great Lakes Synod), has begun training for the event and, as in years past, is expected to lead the synod's team. The Run On Water is not for the faint-hearted, and this year's registration form includes the following disclaimer:
    Knowingly I am entering the "Run On Water" understanding that it may be held in harsh weather. I have trained adequately for this event and will not hold liable the sponsors, volunteers, Chambers of Commerce for Bayfield or for Madeline Island nor the City of Bayfield or Town of La Pointe for any injury or illness I may incur while participating in this event. In the event that the Ice Road conditions are deemed unsafe, analternate route will be used.

    Filed Briefs: Two important deadlines passed recently in the on-going legal challenge to California's Proposition 8: January 15 was the last day for filing amicus curiae briefs, and January 21 was the last day for filing responses to those briefs. The next milestone in the case will be oral arguments which could begin as early as the first week of March.
    In all, 63 organizations and individuals have made filings in the case. According to the San Francisco Chronicle more than two-thirds of those filing have opposed Proposition 8. Interested parties with time on their hands may read all the briefs and responses.

    ELM Gathering: On February 14, friends of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries will gather at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco to exchange information about the various ministries in which ELM roster members, congregations, and groups are engaged. Events are scheduled from 9:00AM to 5:00PM and include worship, fellowship, conversation, and entertainment by the talented Bay Area queer duo Coyote Grace. There will be a special service opportunity from 5:30 - 7:00 PM at the Welcome Ministry for those who are interested. The gathering is free, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance. To learn more, send email to Rachael at operations@elm.org.
    We were unable to determine if Bishop Mark Holmerud (Sierra Pacific Synod) will attend.

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