Dear Partners in Mission:
Today, November 22, 2020, is the 50th anniversary of the ordination of the Rev. Elizabeth Platz. Rev. Platz was ordained by the Lutheran Church in America, becoming the first woman ordained by a Lutheran denomination in North America. Throughout this year, we have been celebrating this anniversary, along with the 40th anniversary of the ordination of a pastor who is a woman of color and the 2009 decision to allow LGBTQ pastors in a committed relationship to serve openly. At our 2020 synod assembly, we gave thanks and recognized those pastors/deacons/authorized leaders who are women in our synod:
In addition, at our 2019 NT-NL Leadership Convocation, pastors/deacons who are women were invited to be interviewed to tell their story of ministry. To share with us the joys and challenges they have faced in ministry. To help us all better understand the unique gifts and challenges that women face as ordained leaders in our church. The stories they share have as bishop touched me deeply, and I am so deeply grateful for their willingness to share. Here’s one example:
That full playlist of interviews with NT-NL leaders can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE1z_uxSxKHZig65yRzBgbLhXcdDDMtto. Other resources for celebrating the ministry of women in our church can be found at elca.org/50yearsofordainedwomen.
In worship today across our synod, congregations have been invited to give thanks for our pastors who are women. To encourage all of our young people, and particularly our young women, to know that if God calls them to serve, the church desires their gifts. There have been, and will be, great challenges, disappointments, and barriers. But today, we give thanks for the gifts we as a church have received from women in ministry and, I pray, take encouragement to continue to lift up the gifts of all those who feel called to serve.