The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Women in the pulpit

Challenges remain after 26 years of women's ordination

In 1992 Bonnie Hoffman wandered through the dark, quiet sanctuary of Memorial Lutheran Church, Shippensburg, Pa., deciding whether to accept the offered call. The full impact of what was ahead was visually represented: The names of previous pastors of the 225-year-old church, inscribed on two plaques, were all male.

"Am I ready to take on this challenge, and is this congregation ready?" Hoffman asked herself.

People agree on the main role of any parish pastor, male or female. "The pastor should be the means by which the word of God is made known to the people of the parish. What a pastor preaches and teaches is the most important thing," says Franklin D. Fry, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Summit, N.J.

"Lutherans understand the office of pastor, and the respect they offer the position has more to do with theology than with gender," says Nancy Winder, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Seattle.

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February issue


Embracing diversity