11/19/2015 2:25:00 PM
CHICAGO (ELCA) – On the 45th anniversary of the ordination of Lutheran women in the United States, “I give thanks for my sisters who were the first women pastors,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). “I give thanks for all women in ministry. We are doing what Mary, the mother of our Lord, and Mary Magdalene did before us – proclaiming the gospel.”
Eaton is the denomination’s first female presiding bishop, elected in August 2013 by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly. She was ordained in 1981, 11 years after the first Lutheran woman, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Platz, was ordained Nov. 22, 1970, by the Lutheran Church in America, one of the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies.
“Even as a young girl I felt called to service in the church, to word and sacrament ministry,” said Eaton. “In the face of sometimes vehement opposition, I questioned it. My ordination was not a feminist statement but a response to an irresistible call from God to serve.”
This November the 3.7 million-member church is lifting up the anniversary as an occasion to “celebrate the many gifts and talents rostered women have brought and continue to bring to the ELCA,” said the Rev. Cherlyne Beck, program director for the support of ELCA rostered leaders.
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