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Statement of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries Regarding a Proposed Rite of Reception to the Roster of Ordained Pastors

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Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries celebrates, rejoices in, and welcomes the proposed Rite of Reception to the Roster of Ordained Pastors offered this past weekend at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Conference of Bishops meeting.

This rite will apply only to those who were extraordinarily ordained and on the ELM roster. Those on the ELM roster who were previously on the ELCA roster and desire to return will enter through a reinstatement process, and those previously on the roster of another church body will enter through a reception process. Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is hopeful the proposed rite will be approved by the ELCA Church Council April 9-11, opening the door for all ELM pastors who desire to be received onto and reinstated to the roster of the ELCA.

We celebrate the honesty and integrity with which the proposed liturgical rite recognizes the extraordinary ordinations of ELM pastors and reconciles those in ELM and those in the ELCA. We rejoice in the thoughtful and careful deliberation of the bishops of the ELCA. Many expressed their desire to affirm the work of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and the ministry of the pastors on its roster.

We express our gratitude to Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, for his introduction of the proposed rite in which he described his intent by use of three words: “reconciliation, recognize and recognizable.” Bishop Hanson described the ELCA’s desire to be reconciled with the pastors on the ELM roster, the ELCA congregations and ministries they serve, and the community of ELM supporters; a desire to recognize the extraordinary ordinations of ELM pastors; and to do so in a manner that is recognizable to the ELCA’s ecumenical and Lutheran World Federation partners and the denominations with which the ELCA is in full communion partnership.

We thank Bishop Stephen Marsh (Southeast Michigan Synod), pictured left, for his motion to grant voice to a representative of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries. This rare opportunity to address the Conference of Bishops gave Rev. Erik Christensen the chance to put a face on the proposed rite.

This action recognizes continuing reconciliation between ELM and the ELCA and points us toward reconciliation with the wider church. These acts demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit and we are hopeful they will lead to continued change and joy for the ELCA and the greater Church.

ELM pastors Rev. Erik Christensen, Rev. Anita Hill and Rev. Jen Nagel, and ELM Executive Director Amalia Vagts represented the organization at the five-day meeting.

Click here for the ELCA press release

Press inquires: Contact Amalia Vagts, Executive Director, 202-744-8396 or director@elm.org.

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