Until a few years ago, I had never attended an ordination or installation service.  That’s not surprising because many people have never had the chance to attend those services.  So what is an ordination service like?

It’s a church service.  Typically (at least in my experience), the ordination is set in a regular church service.  Several of the ordinations I’ve attended were vesper services.  My husband had Communion at his ordination, so the service was set to Divine Service III in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB).  The rite of ordination is generally placed after the sermon but before the Prayer of the Church.  That way a newly ordained pastor’s first action is to lead the prayer.

There are a lot of pastors.  Pastors in the area of an ordination typically try to attend the service.  They come as a source of support, as well as to lay hands on the newly ordained pastor.  Sometimes pastors travel a bit further to attend an ordination.  My husband was able to have his brother, his home pastor, and our college pastor come to his ordination–That was quite special!

Since the liturgical color for an ordination is red, all the pastors wear their red stoles.  At one point in the ordination rite, all the pastors lay hands on the new pastor at the same time.  Consequently, there is a sea of men wearing red and white surrounding one man.  If they all started saying, “Braaaaaaiiiiiiiins“, it would be like a scene from a zombie movie.  Wait, no, that’s not very dignified. . .oops.

The congregation is very excited.  Since they are getting new pastor, members are typically excited on ordination day.  They are also trying to make the service special, so they are very busy prepping.  Our congregation made a fantastic meal following the service.  I hope the cook like that often!

There is a difference between an ordination and an installation.  This can be confusing, especially since a lot of ordinations are combined with installations.  A pastor is only ordained once.  This is when he officially becomes a pastor.

A pastor can be installed several times throughout his life.  Every time he accepts a new call, there will be an installation.  This is also typically done in a service.

For a new pastor, he has a couple of choices of how he can be ordained and installed.  Some pastors opt to get ordained at one church and then get installed later at the church they were called to.  A pastor may choose to do this for several reasons.  Perhaps there was a church that was particularly influential in his life (i.e.–a home church where he grew up).  Sometimes this is done because the new pastor’s call is too far for most family members to attend.

Other pastors choose to have the ordination and installation rites done at one service.  This can be a nice way for the congregation to welcome their new pastor into the ministry.  It also means only having to prepare one service.  You know, kill two birds with one stone.

That’s about it

So there’s a brief rundown of what an ordination service is like.  My husband walked into the sanctuary on Sunday as Pastor-Elect and walked out as Pastor, with all the responsibilities that comes with the title.


2 Comments on “Ordination”

  1. KimS says:

    I also am a Lutheran pastor’s wife and stumbled upon your blog a short time ago. I used to not go to ordination/installation services when my husband visited a neighboring church, but I have begun to if I can. The reason I try to make it to these services is to welcome the new pastor and family, offering some sort of connection to the clergy world if I can. I appreciated when clergy families would introduce themselves to me when my husband has been called to serve a new congregation, but meeting so many people is a blur, even though I enjoy the “face to face” introductions very much.
    When going to these services now, sometimes I find it to have a “reunion” feel to it as clergy families are able to take the time to meet and chat, which is difficult to do in this way on a Sunday morning. At the last one we attended, the 5 or 6 clergy families were the last to leave as we were having fun getting to know the new pastor.
    I hope this is helpful for your blog!
    Blessings in your church work!

    • Katrina says:

      I understand what you mean about a “reunion”feel! We went to an ordination of one of my husband’s classmates yesterday, and there were a few other people from the seminary there. It was fun seeing familiar faces.

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