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Extraordinary and Straight
Abstract: ELM makes room for pastor in jeopardy of being de-rostered by ELCA.
We hear through the grapevine that Pr. Susan Strouse, the ELCA pastor who serves First United Lutheran Church (SF), has been admitted to the roster of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries.
The ELCA regards Pr. Strouse as "on leave from call" because the congregation she serves is an independent Lutheran church. (First United was expelled from the ELCA in 1995 for its role in the calling and ordaining Pastors Frost, Johnson and Zillhart in 1990.) As a general rule ELCA pastors may be on leave from call for three years and after that are liable to be dropped from the clergy roster. Pr. Strouse has served First United since December, 2004.
In February we noted the Sierra Pacific Synod Council's offer of a conditional synodical call: Pr. Strouse could have the call on the condition that First United applied for membership in the synod. We do not know the current status of that offer.
Pr. Strouse becomes the first straight (though, in truth, our fact checkers were too shy to confirm this) pastor admitted to the ELM roster. This, we hear, departs from a long-standing practice. According to our sources, a number of straight ally clergy and seminarians have applied for admittance to the ELM roster to protest ELCA policy regarding LGBT clergy. To date, these applicants have been denied because other opportunities to be rostered for Lutheran ministry are available to them.