S'more Extra Ordinem: Our friends at Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) have announced that Ms. Jodi Barry will be ordained extra ordinem on Saturday, October 25 at Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.
What has not (yet) been announced is that Ms. Barry is the first person to receive a call to ministry from ELM: the ELM Covenant Circle voted in August to issue a call to Ms. Barry for the chaplaincy ministry she performs at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. Ms. Barry has served as lay chaplain at the hospital for several years.
Our network of clandestine reporters informs us that on Friday, October 24, ELM will host a campfire-themed fund raiser with s'mores (pictured). For details contact development@elm.org. While we are unable to vouch for the veracity of our sources, some reporters have intimated that the ELM Development Director will re-enact the entire history of ELM as a campfire skit.

You're Uninvited, An Unfortunate Slight: Pr. Katrina Foster (pictured, left), pastor of Fordham Lutheran Church in Bronx, New York and an alum of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) was invited to Newberry College for the week of 15-19 September to present two public lectures ("The Church and Human Sexuality" and "The Church and Social Justice: Working in the Community"), teach several classes, and preach in the College Chapel for Wednesday morning services.
Newberry College is near LTSS, and Pr. Foster was also invited to visit the seminary, stay on campus, eat with students and faculty, sit in on classes, meet and talk with students and preach at the seminary's Friday chapel worship. Her seminary visit was coordinated by Rev. Dr. Tony Everett, Professor of Pastoral Care and Dr. Robert Hawkins, Professor of Worship and Music and Dean of Christ Chapel at the seminary.
Thursday morning, Dr. Everett informed Pr. Foster that the invitation to preach on Friday had been withdrawn by the LTSS president Rev. Dr. Marcus Miller (pictured right). Thursday evening, she spoke with Dr. Michael Root, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Systematic Theology, who is reported to have said that the seminary's invitation had been withdrawn because Pr. Foster has declared her non-compliance with the ELCA's policy regarding homosexual clergy. Because she could not now be admitted as a student-candidate for ordination, she would not be allowed to preach.
We feel compelled to point out that ELCA policy articulates expectations of ordained clergy and that among ELCA seminaries there is no uniform policy regarding admission of LGBT students and that ELCA policy articulates expectations of ordained clergy.
Friday morning Pr. Foster met with Dr. Miller, who had apparently received a number of calls and emails protesting the withdrawal of the invitation to Pr. Foster. Our sources indicate that Dr. Miller expressed some frustration, apparently feeling that Pr. Foster had somehow caused the protest.

Unilu (Philadelphia) News: On Saturday, September 27, Pr. Jay Wiesner was installed as the 5th pastor of University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Philadelphia. Pr. Wiesner is rostered with Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and previously served Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. The Rev. Louise Johnson, Director of Admissions at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) preached. Bruce McCullough, Unilu's Head Verger, informs us that 113 people attended the installation. The chief sommelier was unable to say how many glasses of champagne were consumed at the festive reception following the service.

After LGBTQ: On September 24, Sierra Pacific Synod Bishop Mark Holmerud delivered the keynote speech ("Beyond Bureaucracies and Ivory Towers") at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) Founder's Day festivities. Pr. Robert Goldstein of St. Francis (SF) reports:
[T]he Sierra Pacific Synod’s new Bishop, Mark Holmerud called on the synod pastors and lay leaders to move on the LGBTQ issue to full acceptance and welcome of such pastors and laity and to address other justice situations that also call for prohetic leadership.


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    This refreshing candor and leadership was well received by the majority of clergy present. I did speak to a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights and he looked visibly shaken by the position taken by the new Bishop.

    Jubilee for Women's Ordination: On September 27, 1958 the Church of Sweden approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. On April 10, 1960, Elisabeth Djurle, Ingrid Persson, and Margit Sahlin became the first women ordained under the new policy (Djurle, left, and Sahlin, right, are pictured). Eleven more years passed before an ordained woman (Pr. Sahlin) would have her own parish. The first woman to serve as bishop in the Church of Sweden was appointed in 1997. Today, approximately 35% of the clergy in the Church of Sweden are women.
    The 50th anniversary of the decision was commemorated with festivities that coincided with the church's General Synod. The jubilee celebration began with a September 23 service at the Uppsala Cathedral. Bishop Antje Jackelén of Lund, one of two women bishops currently serving in the Church of Sweden, preached. Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori participated in the service.Also in attendance were members of the Swedish royal family: His Majesty King Carl XIV Gustaf, Her Majesty Queen Silvia, and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria.
    The celebration culminated on September 27 with special services in each of the church's thirteen dioceses.
    The ordination of women is not universally accepted in Sweden and in 2003, opponents of women's ordination formed the Mission Province, an independent ecclesiastical province that ordains candidates for the priesthood who are opposed to ordination of women and who are therefore not accepted for ordination in national churches of Sweden or Finland.

    Working with Bishops, Lesson 1: The 2008 conference of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries (NACDLGM) was held September 18 - 21 in Long Beach, California at the Hotel Queen Mary. The theme of the conference was I Am Who I Am by the Grace of God, and one of the featured speakers was Bishop Jaime Soto (pictured), the Coadjutor Bishop of Sacramento.
    Bishop Soto has 25 years experience as a a parish priest, is an advocate for immigration reform, has ministered to Latinos in the gay and lesbian community and has been involved in the church's response to the AIDS epidemic. The program for the event indicated that Bishop Soto would speak on John 10: "Christ came that we might have the fullness of life."
    We don't know what the conference organizers' expectations were, but given the theme of the conference, we feel safe in saying that Bishop Soto's remarks did not meet those expectations: the bishop re-iterated the Roman Catholic Church's stances against contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, and declared politely but firmly that sexual relations outside of marriage are sinful:
    We are called to live and love in a manner that brings us into respectful, chaste relationships with one another and an intimate relationship with God. We should be an instrument of God’s love for one another. Let me be clear here. Sexual intercourse, outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, can be alluring and intoxicating but it will not lead to that liberating journey of true self-discovery and an authentic discovery of God. For that reason, it is sinful. Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all. For this reason, it is sinful.
    Some attendees walked out, others demanded the opportunity to respond to the Bishop's remarks, and, as reported by the California Catholic Daily one NACDLGM board member offered an apology to those seated at a nearby table: "We had no idea Bishop Soto was going to say what he said."
    We are Lutherans, of course, and we have developed our own rules of thumb for working with bishops. Even given the significant differences between Lutheran bishops and Roman Catholic bishops, however, we feel that Bishop Soto has validated rule 1: No one ever has any idea what the bishop will say.

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