• Section II, Item 1, of the former Lutheran Church in America bylaw was amended to read: “A minister of this church shall be a person [italics added] whose soundness in the faith, aptness to teach and educational qualifications have been examined and approved in the manner prescribed in the constitution and who has been properly ordained ....”
• The ELCA Department for Research and Evaluation reports that 155 women and 151 men were ordained in 2003. Of 17,754 pastors, 2,998 are women (2004 figures).
• Barbara Louise Andrews was the first woman ordained in the former American Lutheran Church on Dec. 20, 1970. She served Edina [Minn.] Community and Resurrection (Detroit) Lutheran churches and as chaplain of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, Detroit. She died in a house fire in 1978.
Brother and sister. This classic language in
the Christian tradition expresses a radical and countercultural claim:
We are beloved children of God in one family. Thirty-five years ago,
“sister” in Christ needed to be calligraphied by hand on the preprinted
ordination certificate presented to Elizabeth Platz on Nov. 22, 1970,
the first time the former Lutheran Church in America used the word to
describe an ordained pastor.
Platz had served as chaplain of the University of Maryland, College Park, for five years when the phone call came from Paul M. Orso, then bishop of the LCA Maryland Synod, asking her to put herself forward as a candidate for ordained ministry.
“Ordained ministry for women wasn’t a battle I fought. It was done over a period of years by men and women who wanted it addressed,” Platz says. “Here I sat with credentials, already in a call and connected to a parish. It was serendipitous.”
When a pivotal phrase in the LCA bylaws was changed from “men” to “persons” during the fifth biennial convention on June 29, 1970, the door was opened for Platz and now half of all ELCA leaders ordained in 2003 to walk through (see sidebar).
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