Monday, September 21, 2009

Open Letter to the Bishop

Dear [insert name of your favorite ELCA Bishop]-

I've been hearing some rumors that Bishops are wondering if the pastors who were ordained extraordinarily (like myself) need to be re-ordained before they can be admitted onto the ELCA roster of approved pastors. This is of course following the church's decision to allow non-celibate gay pastors to be ordained (reversing a 20 year policy).

Re-ordination, really?

First these Extraordinary Ordinations follow our confessions, which outline how to ordain a pastor when Bishops make an (against the Gospel) requirement that celibacy is a requirement for the priesthood. How can the Bishops argue that following something in the confessions is not legitimate? Really, the ritual created by Martin Luther to ordain pastors who refused celibacy is not good enough?

Second, a parable:
A man refuses to attend a wedding because of his religious principles. Years later after seeing the faithful relationship the man changes his mind. When he goes to the married couple to tell them his principles have changed, he also asks the couple to get remarried now that he is willing to show up. Do you think the couple would agree? How would their children feel? Further, what if their salary was based on the number of years they were married or they had to pay for a new marriage license?

Third, what if the person who is now your bishop was present at your first ordination. What exactly would be the difference in this new ordination?
So dear Bishop [insert your name here], I understand that:
  • you may have missed our ordinations;
  • your principles may have changed or you may be living in bound conscience;
  • you may want to make nice with those who are afraid of change, so they don't leave the church
but you well know that:
  • our clergy minimum wage is based on the number of years we have been ordained;
  • that our candidacy process models the ELCA's;
  • that congregations are able to call pastors and ordain them without the approval of a Bishop;
  • even if you didn't show up for our ordination ritual, God(dess) surely did!
I pray for you during your time of leadership and cannot imagine the pressures and responsibilities that you have upon you at this time. I urge you to listen to your Lutheran gut, and make the right decision.


Rev. Megan Rohrer
called and ordained by:
Christ Church Lutheran (ELCA)
Sts. Mary and Martha Lutheran (ELCA)
Ebenezer (HerChurch) Lutheran (ELCA)
St. Francis Lutheran (formerly ELCA - until it was expelled for calling gay pastors 20 years ago)