As a ministry working within the Lutheran church, ReconcilingWorks receives many newsletters and emails updating us on all sorts of doings in the ELCA, ELCIC, and beyond, including news about faith-based advocacy, administrative developments in the churchwide offices, youth program updates, etc….
One of the recent newsletters crossing our desk, “ELCA Worship News,” came from the Worship and Music office of the ELCA. In this update, we noted three particularly happy items:
- The ELCA’s Executive for Worship, the Rev. Kevin Strickland, is developing liturgical resources appropriate for same-gender couples to use within the marriage service of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW). It’s anticipated that these resources will be available online later this year. ReconcilingWorks will share the link to these resources as soon as they become available.
- The same issue of “ELCA Worship News” also features a story from a churchwide staff person writing about how her sense of ministry was transformed by a confirmation ceremony she attended, performed by the Rev. Bradley Schmeling. The Rev. Brenda Smith, program director for ELCA Faith Practices and Missional Leadership, recounts how, “At the service, Rev. Schmeling spent time talking about each confirmand so that by the time he finished, you felt you knew the person well and how Rev. Schmeling had been influenced by the student. . . . I left that experience knowing that when I became a pastor, I was going to use this model in my congregation.”
- Pr. Bradley recently served as contributing editor of Inclusive Marriage Services: A Wedding Sourcebook, which provides a collection of marriage resources that can be used by LGBTQ and straight couples. He presented a workshop based on this work at the ReconcilingWorks assembly in 2015.
- The newsletter also highlights a photo of the Rev. Teresita Valeriano. The picture is from the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh, where Pr. Tita was the first publicly identified LGBTQ minister to preside at a churchwide assembly. Pr. Tita is mission developer in the Southwest California Synod. She is a member of the Proclaim Community of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, and was a workshop presenter at the ReconcilingWorks assembly in 2015.
Blessings to the ministries of Pr. Kevin, Bradley, and Tita!