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In 2020, the ELCA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of U.S. Lutheran churches' decision to ordain women, and continuing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the first women of color and the 10th anniversary of the ELCA's decision to officially ordain people in same-gender committed relationships.

As part of this celebration, we are collecting stories from pastors who are women from across the church. We want to hear from you whether you've been in ministry for decades or for days.

If you would like to participate, please send a story of no more than 1,000 words to womensordinationanniv@elca.org no later than Nov. 1, 2020.

Please respond to one of these prompts:

  1. What is a story from your ministry that you’d like to share?
  2. When you think about your formation as a pastor, what is one experience that comes to mind? This could be from before ordination or many years into professional ministry.
  3. What words of wisdom would you share with a woman or girl who is considering becoming a pastor?
  4. What was considered "normal" at the beginning of your ministry that might surprise people today?

After your story, please write a short prayer or benediction for the reader. Also include a one-sentence biography that includes the year of your ordination.

The stories will be shared in a PDF collection that will be available for free at elca.org/50yearsofordainedwomen. For guidelines and copyright information, see below.

Your ministry is valuable. We hope this project will be a way to share women's wisdom, witness and experiences with the church today and the church of the future.

God's peace,

Women's Ordination Anniversary Committee
Jessica Crist, Chair

Additional resources for the 50/40/10 anniversaries can be found at elca.org/50yearsofordainedwomen.
Guidelines: Stories should be no more than 1,000 words, submitted in an email or through an attached Word document to womensordinationanniv@elca.org. Writers will retain the copyright to their work, but the ELCA may lightly edit stories as needed. Please do not share names or stories of other people without their permission. If someone is being criticized by your story, please do not include identifying information. If the team is overwhelmed with stories, we will do our best to include as many as possible.

Each story should include:
  • Title
  • Story (indicating prompt number)
  • Benediction/prayer
  • One-sentence biography, including ordination year

Legal information: By submitting your story, you represent and warrant that it is true to the best of your knowledge. You represent and warrant that you will not submit any story that infringes the copyrights, right to privacy or other rights of any person. You understand that you will retain the copyright to your story, but you agree to give the ELCA any rights, permission and/or license required to reproduce the story in other publications and in all other forms of media into perpetuity. You further understand that the ELCA shall have the right to edit any stories submitted in any manner that does not substantially alter the meaning of the content. You understand that the ELCA cannot guarantee that all stories submitted will be published.

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