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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A few minutes with Elizabeth A. Platz

On being the first ordained Lutheran woman

The Lutheran: What has it been like for you to carry the distinction as the first ordained Lutheran woman?

Elizabeth A. Platz: The privilege of being the first ordained Lutheran women has provided a richness in discussing with a wide variety of people the pastoral office, Scripture, women and their diverse gifts, making choices and so many other subjects. I have learned a lot, been challenged and, hopefully, have grown and have met wonderful, searching and committed people.

The Lutheran: What's been hardest about that? What's been most wonderful?

Platz: Initially it was stereotypes and expectations. Then it was the sister clergy in the joys and sorrows of their calls and ministry. The support of the community was central at the beginning and is now.

Elizabeth A. Platz, surrounded by the students she serves at the University of Maryland
Elizabeth A. Platz and students at the University of Maryland, where she has served as campus pastor for the past 40 years.

The Lutheran: How do you stay current and contemporary when you're a historic figure in our church?

Platz: Working with students has shaped my life. Their questions, reflections and insights keep you on your toes. They don't know you're a historic figure, you're just "Pastor" and that's the best identity to have.

The Lutheran: What do you think is the next great hurdle for Lutheran women clergy?

Platz: It's always a hurdle to be too naive and therefore unaware that for some a woman pastor is still a difficult adjustment. It's equally a hurdle to be captured by an identity of being a woman pastor rather than a woman pastor.


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