2018 ReconcilingWorks Award Recipients

Jim Siefkes Justice-Maker Award

The Jim Siefkes Justice-Maker Award was established by Lutherans Concerned / North America in 1992 to recognize superior and tireless efforts of straight allies on behalf of LGBT Lutherans.

The Rev. Jim Siefkes obtained funding for and convened the initial meeting in Minneapolis in June of 1974 that resulted in the formation of Lutherans Concerned for Gay People, now ReconcilingWorks. The criteria for the Jim Siefkes Justice-Maker Award reflect the contributions of its namesake. Recipient must be a non-LGBT Lutheran who has made significant contributions to advancing justice for LGBT Lutherans. Actions should have a broad impact and not be limited to a particular locale or region. Nominees for the Siefkes Award are evaluated and the recipient is selected by the ReconcilingWorks Board of Directors, and the Award will be presented at the ReconcilingWorks Triennial Assembly

2018 Recipients: Rev. William and Rev. Victoria Hamilton

Pastor William C Hamilton, Jr. and Pastor Victoria L. Hamilton are co-pastors at St John Lutheran Church, in the Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, FL. Known affectionately as “PHam” and “Pr. Vicki”, they were called to this congregation in 2000. PHam and Pr. Vicki have been tireless vocal advocates in their community, most recently during the multi year effort to get the City of Jacksonville to adopt a Human Rights Ordinance to offer some protection for LGBTQ people in housing and employment. To understand that struggle, which split the faith community, St John “made the news” when Pr. Vicki opened its doors to offer support and healing to the LGBTQ community the morning after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Within the church, their advocacy is intersectional, and includes racial justice, justice for women, and LGBTQ justice. PHam is currently the dean of the First Coast Conference of the Florida Bahamas Synod and is also providing interim ministry at Mandarin Lutheran Church in Jacksonville. Pr. Vicki regularly organizes and leads a spiritual retreat for women at Luther Springs called “Come to the Well”.

Chuck Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is to recognize a member of the LGBT community who has given a life-time of exemplary service. Who has been a pivotal example of moving the pendulum of justice forward for people of all sexual orientations, gender ideates and expressions. It was first given to the Rev. Chuck Lewis in 2012. 

2018 Recipients: Leo Treadway

Leo Treadway has been an advocate of LGBTQ inclusion in the Lutheran Church on a local, national, and international level since 1974 when he became active with the forerunner of Reconciling Works within a month of its inception. He provided crucial pioneering leadership to form interfaith alliances which have worked to get legal protections for LGBTQ people in St. Paul and Minnesota.  Over the years his advocacy efforts have addressed the needs of LGBTQ organizations, youth, people living with HIV, elders,and the  preservation of LGBTQ archival material with the Minnesota Historical Society.

Posthumously Awarded to John Eric Rolfstad

He was raised in a wonderful Lutheran congregation in Williston, North Dakota, and was an organist who minored in music as an undergrad.  He was an active lay leader at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle in the early 90’s. In the years since then, the whole ELCA became his church, as he worked for reform and transformation. John Eric served in leadership in a variety of aspects of the LGBTQ movement in the ELCA.  He organized the Lutherans Concerned retreat at Holden Village for a number of years. He was an early supporter of LLGM and served on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries, and served on the national board of Lutherans Concerned/North America.  He was committed to the journey of full inclusion in the ELCA and traveled to attend extraordinary ordinations.  The generosity of his time, wisdom, love, and finances have made a tremendous impact on the Lutheran Church.

His career and civic activism was grounded in compassion. His passion for social work included supporting people living with cancer, AIDS, and other diseases, at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Harborview’s Madison Clinic. He served as Executive Director of People’s Memorial, a Washington State nonprofit funeral education and advocacy group, and he grew them into the largest low-cost funeral cooperative in the country. He was also a national leader in the green burial movement.

He died on April 4, 2018; he was almost 60 years old.

Jeannine Janson Distinguished Service Award

This award was first given in 2008 to Jeannine Janson. In 2010, it was awarded to Jerry Vagts and Phil Soucy. It award is given to give someone who has given a significant amount of their time and talents to further the movement of welcome, inclusion and equity for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions within the Lutheran Community.

2018 Recipients: Bishop Guy Erwin

Guy Erwin is the ELCA’s first synod bishop who is gay and partnered. Bishop Erwin is also part Osage Indian—born in and still active with the Osage Nation of Oklahoma—and his Native heritage makes him another “first” among ELCA bishops. In the ELCA Conference of Bishops, Erwin serves on the Executive Committee and as Region 2 liaison bishop to the ELCA Church Council, and on the bishops’ ready benches for Justice and for Middle East Peace. Bishop Erwin uses his person and voice in the life of the church and society working for the justice and equity of those who live in the margins.

Timothy Fisher

Tim Fisher had been a member of Lutherans Concerned, had worked to help his own congregation become RIC and was an active legislative organizer within the Minneapolis Area Synod before he was hired by our organization. His graceful engagement of friends and strangers on all sides of the issues, plus his seemingly endless ability to endure with genuine interest countless meetings of the ELCA Task Force on Human Sexuality, the Church Council, the Conference of Bishops, and Churchwide Assemblies earned him a place at increasingly crucial tables of conversation at all levels of the church.


Tim first served as administrative assistant and staff to the Lutherans Concerned led legislative team. He quickly emerged as a leader within that committee as it worked with increasing success toward the 2009 Churchwide Assembly and passage of the social statement on human sexuality and ultimately policy change. Tim is known for his passion for justice, abiding love of the church, tremendous commitment to our organization, and delight in a well-crafted rational argument. Tim's service to Lutherans Concerned and then ReconcilingWorks was indeed distinguished. He and his wife Christine Hurney, herself a volunteer on multiple occasions, deserve our thanks and more. The Janson Award serves as witness to our gratitude and acknowledgement of a job well done.



The Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Pace Setting Award

This award was first given in 2018. This award is given to give to a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) partner who has lived out a prophetic witness to welcoming, including, and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community in their faith community and neighbors.  This community understands this holy work is a lifelong journey filled with ongoing milestones to be reached.

2018 Recipients: Bishop Guy Erwin

Edina Community Lutheran Church became one of the first RIC communities in the country when they adopted their Welcome Statement on May 14, 1985. Edina has lived out the welcome, inclusion, and celebration of LGBTQIA+ people in countless ways over the past 33 years. In most recent years Edina Community has been front and center in the work in supporting the freedom to marry in Minnesota in 2012 and 2013, they have worked to ensure LGBTQIA+ Minnesotan’s have law protecting their basic human needs, and are continuing to lead the way in encouraging local faith communities to continue to deep and expand their welcome as a partner in hosting “Prophetic: Amplifying Queer & Colorful Voices.”

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