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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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She broke barriers

Andrews was the first female pastor ordained by the American Lutheran Church

Lutheran campus minister Barbara Andrews (left) visits with students at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

In this 1960s photo, Lutheran campus minister Barbara Andrews (left) visits with students at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She would soon break barriers for women and people with disabilities.

In December 1970, Andrews became the first female pastor ordained by the American Lutheran Church. One month earlier, Elizabeth A. Platz of the Lutheran Church in America became the first woman in North America to be ordained as Lutheran clergy.

Andrews, born with cerebral palsy in 1935, earned an master of divinity from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., in 1969.

While she was approved by the seminary, the church's convention would not authorize women's ordination until October 1970. Andrews went on to serve calls to a congregation and a nursing home before her 1978 death in an apartment fire. 


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