Extra Ordinem, Again, Again!: On Sunday, November 11, the congregation at Salem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis voted to call Jen Nagel to be pastor of the Congregation. Jen is rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) (formerly ECP). She will be ordained extra ordinem on January 19, 2008.
Jen has served Salem as Pastoral Minister since July, 2003.
Remembering Our Dead: Since the murder of Rita Hester in 1998, November 20 has been set aside as a Transgender Day of Remembrance, a time dedicated to the memory of those who have died from anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. You can find stories of some of those who are remembered on this day at Remembering Our Dead.
Online resources for churches who wish to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance are available from the Transgender Ministry Team of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).
The Top of All Tops, One Year Later: November 18 is the first anniversary of Rev. Megan Rohrer's ordination at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Megan at about the time she was ordained:
Though neither a pastor nor a queer person, my grandmother, Darlene Audus, has most significantly shaped my identity as a pastor and a queer person.
The pastor at my grandmother's church in a very rural town in South Dakota was a woman that everyone in town believed was a lesbian. Who knows if it is true, they never asked and she never told. I was lucky enough to grow up worshiping all of the major holidays in a church led by a presumed lesbian whose congregation loved her. Later I was invited to preach at that same church, as an out lesbian, most likely because no one had the guts to tell my grandmother "no." Ironically the preordered bulletins for the day had a large picture of a bible and proclaimed, "This is what I came out to do" on the front.
Pr. Rohrer is director of the Welcome Ministry which serves the homeless community in San Francisco.
Saintly Auspices: November 17, the date set for Jen Rude's ordination at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Chicago, is also, we are told, the anniversary of the death of St. Elizabeth of Thuringia (Hungary). Owing to some confusion in the historical record, St. Elizabeth is usually commemorated on November 19, but we have no qualms about claiming St. Elizabeth as an inspiration and sign for Jen Rude's career in ministry.
Elizabeth was born in Hungary in 1207, and at a very early age she was betrothed for political reasons to Louis IV of Thuringia. She spent her childhood with her future husband's family at Wartburg Castle, and they were married in 1221.
Elizabeth was strongly influenced by Franciscan monks who arrived in 1223, and her Franciscan ideals put her at odds with the Thuringian nobility who charged that she dressed too simply, prayed too much, and was irresponsible in almsgiving. (Legend has it that she gave away robes and other ornaments of the state to the poor.) She aroused scandal by nursing the sick with her own hands. (In one episode her husband is said to have had first a fit of rage and then a conversion experience upon discovering that Elizabeth had used to couple's bed to care for a leper.) She also apparently refused to eat any food that might have been the fruit of injustice or exploitation.
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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.
After her husband died of plague while on a crusade, Elizabeth left Wartburg Castle. Early on it was believed that she was expelled by her in-laws, but more recent investigators believe that she left voluntarily for moral reasons. In any event, she spent the rest of her life in poverty in a cottage in Marburg. She died on November 17, 1231 and was canonized three years later.
Das Onlinespiel zum Elisabethjahr: 2007 marks the 800th anniversary of St. Elizabeth's birth in some parts of the church (and particularly the evangelischen Kirchen in Hessen) the occasion merits a year-long observance, Elisabethjahr.
We can safely say that the Internet has changed the way we commemorate our saints, and the surest indication of that is Elisabeth-Spiel, an on-line game that takes the player through a typical day in the 13th century: Es erwartet Sie ein interaktives Strategiespiel - viel Spa�!. Play well and you can add your name to the list of top scorers. (We hear Pr. Sophie is practicing day and night.)
There's also a downloadable version for those wishing to play offline.
The Oil in the Engine of the ELCA: The ELCA Church Council met in Chicago November 9 - 11 and the Council heard the first report from newly elected ELCA Secretary David Swartling (pictured). Secretary Swartling does indeed think of the office of secretary as the "oil in the engine of the ELCA".
In his report, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson urged the Church Council to look beyond the Social Statement on Sexuality that is expected in 2009:
We cannot let that social statement define solely the life and work of this church or our leadership... If we become so preoccupied with 2009, we are conveying a message that sexuality defines this church, and (because of) sexuality, this church could potentially be divided. Frankly, that's heresy. That's absolute heresy. The gospel of Jesus Christ defines this church.
I think this (the social statement) is hugely important work for us in these next two years. I'm committed to it, but I will not let it solely define my leadership of this church, because I think that's not responsible.
Among topics considered by the Church Council were mission funding, disaster response, inter-religious relationships, the "Book of Faith" initiative, world hunger, social policy regarding "Sponsorship of Legal Gaming by American Indian Tribes", and the "Lutheran Malaria Initiative".
A Shop of Her Own: No doubt Pr. Sophie will return soon with oodles of helpful advice for all our readers. In the meantime, however, she appears to have launched an on-line store with all manner of Sophie Stuff.
We hear the Ask Pr. Sophie sweatshirt will make it's debut at the ordination festivities for Jen Rude in Chicago this weekend.
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