Join our Movement:
Join us in this work by adding your name (or anonymous support) as a signatory to our summary statement (below), using the form below.
If you can, please put your name and your Title or Position in the ELCA (pastor, congregation member, deacon, youth minister, choir director, former member, bishop, etc.). If you would like to support the movement, but cannot risk putting your name on the statement, please put “Anonymous” in the Name field, and your Title or Position in the ELCA.
To be included in future communications, add your email address as well.
Naked & Unashamed Statement Summary
(Written by the LSTC Gender and Sexuality Coalition, 2016)
As a coalition for Gender and Sexual Justice in our church, the ELCA, we are calling for justice in the regulating of socially acceptable intimate relationalities. We are ELCA Lutherans, ordained and lay leaders, rostered and unrostered, seminarians and theologians, in candidacy and outside of candidacy, participating in the life of the church and leading the people of God in our journey following Jesus. We take seriously the Word of God as revealed in the scriptures and the traditions of the church in living out the Christian faith in various cultural contexts.
The plethora of stories we hear in our conversations demonstrate that life and liberty are being oppressed in the pressure for church leaders to be in marital relationships, or otherwise abstain from all sexual intimacy. The common good of both parishioners and church leaders would benefit from the freedom to be in a variety of healthy relationships, and to hold each other mutually accountable to ensuring that these relationships are life-giving for all involved, including the larger communities.
“An important way that Christians carry out their citizenship is through participation in voluntary associations and movements, both religious and secular. At times, these groups may serve a prophetic function as they protest particular evils, question unexamined assumptions, challenge unjust or immoral practices, and organize for structural changes in the work place, local community, and wider world.” (Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective 5) We as a coalition for Gender and Sexual Justice have come together voluntarily to do this work of issue raising, protest, and organizing for change in the ELCA.
CS Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective
DGD Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline
HS Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust
V&E Vision and Expectations for Ordained Ministers
ELCA Documents and Problematic Sexuality in the Church
- The documents listed above are being used to perpetuate a pressure for leaders in the ELCA to be married, and to additionally conform to oppressive relational and sexual standards set by our church that are often in contrast with our values and lived experience.
- The expectations surrounding “chastity” purport an ethic of works-based righteousness, positing that certain practices of our sexuality make us a better steward of our pastoral call.
- Singlehood and non-sexual relationships are undervalued by the overemphasis and limited definitions of marriage and family.
- The recent inclusion of same-gender relationships in HS, V&E, and DGD still utilizes heteronormative language that sets narrow expectations of what an acceptable committed relationship looks like.
- V&E and DGD have created a culture of shame in our community, one that manifests itself in both our experience with candidacy committees and among our cohorts. This culture sits in juxtaposition to our current context, politically, economically, scientifically, and medically.
Relational Theology and Sexual Ethic
- We as Lutherans believe in an incarnational God, whose presence sanctifies flesh and allows us to see sexuality as a “gift and trust,” not a sinful curse we need to control.
- Theological and ethical arguments that prioritize purity and chastity are in contradiction with our incarnational and baptismal theology.
- Defining “bad” sex should not be done using theologies of purity. Assessments of good or bad Christian relationality should not be evaluated based on the presence or absence of sexuality, but on healthy power dynamics.
- There should be no blanket pastoral model of cultural expectations, but instead contextual ministries. The ELCA already practices contextual matchmaking of leaders with their communities under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and expectations of sexuality should function within this system.
- We maintain a healthy respect for marriage, without elevating it to the level of sacrament and seeing it as a necessary means of grace. Marriage is one form of committed and intimate relationality, and not the default setting for every relationship.
- We call for a moral deliberation and discernment process as described in CS initiated in the ELCA where V&E, DGD, and HS are evaluated based on an expanded theology and ethic of Christian relationality. Specific changes we would like to see include:
- No longer privileging marriage as the only acceptable form of sexual relationality
- Updating ELCA policies to reflect marriage equality in the United States
- Editing out language that perpetuates heteronormativity and sexual oppression
- CS states that moral deliberation in the church is done by gathering a diverse group of people, including “those who feel and suffer with the issue; those whose interests or security are at stake” (6). In light of this, we call for individuals in our coalition to be participants in this process as representatives who are affected by these policies.
This summary is intended to be an introduction to our position. The full statement,which expands on each of these points, should be referred to for clarification and deeper understanding of our stance.
We raise these issues in love and Christian kinship.
Iren Raye, PhD Student, Naked & Unashamed co-founder
Malina Keaton, Seminarian, Naked & Unashamed co-founder
Elle Dowd, Seminarian
Rev. Asher O’Callaghan, Pastor
Christian Scharen, ELCA Pastor, Vice President of Applied Research, The Center for the Study of Theological Education
Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rev.
Amalia Vagts, Lay Leader
Jason Chesnut, Pastor/ Mission Developer
Francisco Herrera, Convener #decolonizeLutheranism
Rev. Kwame Pitts, Pastor
Shane R Brinegar, M.Div., STM, Advanced Studies Student, LSTC
Andrew Baumgartner, Seminarian
Andrew Tobias Nelson, Pastor
Rachel Slough-Johnson, Lay Member
Courtenay Reedman Parker, Associate Pastor
Zsófi Schmiedge, Pastor – ELCIC
Aneeta, Intern pastor
Laura Gomez, Congregation Member
Hannah Podshadley, Director of Youth Ministry
Jaeymes Childers, Diaconal Ministry Candidate
Amy Asendorf, MDiv Candidate
Beth Ann, Off the Roster Pastor
The Rev. Fr. Ángel Marrero Ayala, Priest
Erin Coleman Branchaud, Seminarian
Emily Scott, Pastor
Joshua Warfield-May, Youth Minister
Jessica Obrecht, Seminarian
Analyse Triolo, Vicar
Charles H. Featherstone, Pastor & Counselor, Psalm 10 Ministries
Sherianne Molzahn Caldwell, Congregation Member
Kim Triplett, Pastor
Lenny Duncan, Seminarian
Maria Anderson-Lippert, Pastor
Lianna Branham, Former Member
Michelle, Former Member
Kiah Shaw, Congregation Member
Carol van Deelen, Congregation Member
Deborah Ahl, Lay Leader
Mark Hernes, Congregation Member
Mary See Kennedy, Member
Alice Connor, Campus Minister
Anonymous, Youth Ministry Leader
Joan Braun, Congregation Member
Rachael, Congregation Member
Rene Paquin, Administration
Libby Denton, Congregation Member/ Future Seminarian
Elyssa Salinas, PhD Student
Allison Westerhoff, Congregation Member
Tyler Freckmann, Lay Person
Amanda Hancer, Congregation Member
Shelby Harrah-Ferguson, Member
Catherine Slabaugh, Student-California Lutheran University
Anonymous, Youth Minister
The Rev. Rachel K. Anderson, Pastor
Patricia Kuehner, Congregation Member
Kali Hill, Congregation Member
Dennis Bux, Retired Pastor
Scott Maxwell-Doherty, University Pastor
Tori Dahl, Congregation Member
Christina Montgomery, Seminarian
Jeff R. Johnson, Rev.
Christina Espegren, Lay Person
Rebecca Deming Rumpf, Congregation Member and Choir Member
Sierra Ronning, Lay Person
Eric Renn, Congregation Member
Steven Rizzo, Director of Ministry
Kristen Lee, Seminarian
Casey Kloehn, Rev.
Sarah Kretschmann, Seminarian
Emily Miller, Lay Leader
Leandra Rizzo, Congregation Member, Former ELCA Missionary
Melissa Melnick, Rev.
Rev. Matthew Stainz, Pastor
Craig Johnson, Synod Vice President
Day Hefner, Seminarian
Ryan Muralt, ELCA Member
Zac Baker, Churchwide Assembly Nominating Committee
Nathan Graham, Congregation Member
Rachel Johnson, Congregation Member
Alexandra E.H. Smith, Seminarian
Jess Meibeyer, Congregation Member
Edwina Rockman Baethge, Mdiv. Pulpit Supply Preacher
Jenna Pulkowski, Rev.
Kayla, Congregation Member
Sarah Coen-Tuff, Seminarian
Kevin Beebe, Seminarian- PLTS
Joelle Dahl, Customer Professional
Jo Hobbs, Church Council Secretary
Carolyn Carpenter, Congregation Member
Peder Hinderlie, Pastor
Paul Carlson, Pastor
Elizabeth Clark, Seminarian
Sarah Derrick, Seminarian
Pamela Shea, Congregation Member
Mathew Berger, Seminarian
Moose Flores, M. Div, Youth Director
Mary Dungy-Akenji, Congregation Member
Ray Gentry, Worship Director
Cole McGlynn, Incoming Seminarian
Julie M. Merrill, Lutheran
Sharon Janot, Pastor
Kate Wulff, Lay Leader
Nikoli Falenschek, Rev.
Anonymous, Candidate, CSS and Seminarian
Catherine Tietjen, Congregation Member
Anonymous, Pastor (on leave from call)
Ben Hogue, Seminarian- PLTS
JD Mechelke, HS Youth Minister
Tuhina Rasche, Rev.
Andrés Albertsen, PhD Candidate
Christine Therriault-Merkel, Pastor
John M. Brett, Seminarian
Reed Fowler, Congregation Member/ Future Seminarian
Christephor Gilbert, Seminarian and ELCA Candidate
Gary Schaeffer, Executive Director, Deacon
Jessica Davis, Christian Educator
Margaret Grimes, Congregation Member
Keith Walbolt, Pastor
Debbie Ahl, Lay Leader
Jane Garvey, Congregation Member
Amy Kumm-Hanson, Rev.
Chelsey Olson, Seminarian
Barbara Denton, Congregation Member, Church Council Steward
Anna Hurley, Congregation Member
Charlotte Trent, Congregation Member, Future Seminarian
Samantha Markman, Congregation Member
Maria Markman, Seminarian
Christine Hitt, Director of Worship and Music
Devin, Praise Band Director
Lou Ann Wischnewski, Congregation Member
Shelby Denton, Congregation Member
Bethany Ringdal, Candidate for Ordained Ministry, Seminarian
Lainey Wolff, Cradle Lutheran
Anders Nelson, Seminarian
Karl Anliker, Seminarian
Makayla Marinack, Seminarian
Fanya Berry, Seminarian
Michelle Steiner, Seminary Graduate, MAPL
Carolyn Carpenter, Congregation Member
Hannah Anderson, Program Director
Dennis Dezort, Music and Arts Director
Emily Papke-Larson, Seminarian
Rev Chris Brown, Pastor
Anonymous, Congregation Member
Taylor Hagbo, Seminarian
Anonymous, Youth Leader
Susan Lee, Congregation Member
Alyssa Kaplan, Seminarian
Jessica Edelman, Seminarian
Brian Robert Campbell, Pastor
Scott Fielder, Pastor
Brandon Peck, Seminarian at PLTS