Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) Collection

Span Dates: 1977-2017
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 7 linear feet


The Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) Collection documents the efforts of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Lutherans to support the theology of their denomination and like oriented ministers.

Hist/Bio Note

The Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) represent the efforts of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Lutherans to support the theology of their denomination and support like oriented ministers. The ELM represents a merger of two organizations, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries, founded in 1990, and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project. Founded in 1993), in 2007. Two San Francisco Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations, St. Francis Lutheran Church and First United Lutheran Church, joined together to form Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (LLGM) in 1990. They requested a gay man and a lesbian couple to become their pastors. However, as these qualified ministers were sexually active, this violated the ELCA rule that same sex-oriented ministers be celibate. After a grueling fight, this led to both churches being expelled from the ELCA in 1996. The Extraordinary Candidacy Project was formed in 1993 to credential openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons to be ministers in the Lutheran Church. The preparation matched the process by the ELCA. The focus was to assist ministerial candidates who had been denied commissioning and ordination due to their sexual orientation or who had been removed because of their sexual orientation. In 2009, the ELCA voted to admit gay and lesbian pastors into the clergy, sending an apology and invitation to reunite with the two San Francisco congregations. St. Francis voted to rejoin in 2009. First United rejoined in 2012.

Finding Aid

An online finding aid is available through Online Archives of California.


The collection is owned by the Center for LGBT and Gender Studies in Religion Graduate and is maintained by Theological Union Archives. Contact the archives for information about using this collection.


Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) | Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) | Activist (religious institutions)