Deacon Liz Colver
Deacon Liz Colver (she/her) has been an ordained Deacon in the ELCA since 2015. She lives in the Seattle area with her spouse and 3 children (Hazel-Xe/xem is 14, Shepherd-he/him is 9, and Amos-he/him until otherwise declared is 4). Liz, Hazel, and Shep are all queer-identifying. Liz has served the church and her community in various ways including leadership formation, discernment with individuals and organizations, on the synod candidacy committee, as a community organizer and organizing trainer with the Organizing for Mission Network and IAF, and served on task forces for the ELCA. She is currently serving as a transition minister for a semi-rural RIC congregation, and is working on building a new ministry in the NWWA Synod that supports LGBTQIA+ Elementary-aged kids and their families.
Rev. Lauren Muratore
The Rev. Lauren Muratore (she/her) had a rocky relationship with the Church as she was growing up, but finally found welcome when a friend invited her to check out a local Lutheran youth group. It's incredible what a simple invitation can do; years later Lauren found herself enrolled at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (now United Lutheran Seminary), learning how to extend to others the same radical hospitality she was shown, in the name of Jesus. Ordained in 2014 and called to be the Director of Admissions, Assistant Dean of the Chapel, and Coordinator of Spiritual Formation for Gettysburg Seminary, she served in that role for three years before returning to Baltimore, where she currently presides over a cooperative ministry as the Redevelopment Pastor for Salem Lutheran Church (in the RIC process!) and the Priest in Charge for the Episcopal Church of the Redemption.
Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Leadership Development from West Chester University, leads annual anti-racism/historical truth-telling study tours to South Africa, really really likes art and her cat a whole lot, and is passionate about the work of reconciliation (with restitution), peace (with justice), and the Spirit of the Living God (in, with, and through God's people).
Rev. Ellen Taube
Ellen Taube (she/her), from Virginia, Minnesota, is a retired ELCA pastor and a member of Reconciling In Christ congregation, Gloria Dei in Duluth, Minnesota. In 2015 Ellen co-founded two LGBTQ support groups: “S.A.F.E. in Virginia MN” for adults (“Supporting Allies, Family, Friends & LGBTQ for Equality”), and “Range Together for Youth” for ages 14-20 (affiliated with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota). Married to Marlise Riffel since October 2013, her interests include divine comedy, power tools for home maintenance, gardening, and hydroponics.
Jennie Strunk (she/her) was born a Southern Baptist in Manassas Park, Virginia. She lived in Virginia for 13 years, and then in Idaho for the next 13 years, where she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing. In 2011, she found her first Reconciling in Christ Congregation. There she experienced God’s fully inclusive love for all LGBTQ persons for the first time and was moved to dedicate herself to expanding ReconcilingWorks’ mission in order to create more spaces for LGBTQ Christians to worship in safety and belonging. Jennie now lives in Savage, Minnesota with her wife and two cats.
Dan Michel (he/him) is the Director of Digital Product Management for the ELCA Churchwide Organization and lives in Chicago. Prior to the ELCA, he worked at Feeding America for 20 years in a variety of digital roles. He has been an active participant of the first LGBTQIA+ ELCA employee group and looks forward to its growth in the organization. He is a lifelong Lutheran and attended Gustavus Adolphus College but there have been holes to his church activity so don’t look at his attendance to closely. The one thing that has always remained is his faith in God and knowing he is being led to where he needs to do the best work.
Dan enjoys spending time at home and cooking with his husband, Cory and their appropriately-named dog, Sparky. When he is not working or at home, you can find him as part of the singing staff of Davenports Piano Bar. He does hold an MFA degree in theatre which is skill that proves useful every day.
Carley Houseman (she/her) was roped into the Lutheran Church as a pastor's wife and has been joyously making her own way through connections and friendships ever since. Born in Altoona, IA, she and her wife A.J. moved to Gettysburg, PA for seminary and currently reside in Baltimore, MD where she is the Associate Director of Medical Annual Giving at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Her interests include running, singing too loudly in the car on road trips, and snuggling her dog Maci.
Mert (he/him) is a life-long Lutheran starting his activist gig in high school as President of his home church’s Luther League! Recently retired from his professional materials management position for a hospice in Ann Arbor, MI his passion is for everyone to know there is a place for them here, in this place that is Christ’s church, this place we call Lutheran.
His first contact with RIC was at Lord of Light Lutheran church and Campus Ministry in Ann Arbor, MI already a long term RIC congregation, where he learned anew about God’s welcome for all people, a place, he says, that changed his life forever. That led to involvement with Lutherans Concerned at the local Great Lakes chapter and as a Regional Director for LC/NA in the 1990s. Currently he is a member of the SE Michigan Synod’s Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression. He is passionate about RIC and excited about the work that still needs to be done, the widening and deepening of the welcome that RIC is, telling the truth that God’s love has no limits.
Mert is thrilled to meet and walk with folks inviting everyone to join him as we journey together to this new place.