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- Feeding the 5,000
- Dramatis personae
- Synactic & Eucharistic
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|Rite of Presbyteral Insallation
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The rituals for
ordinations and installations are more complicated than
your typical Sunday mass (though not nearly as complicated
as Easter vigil). That we do them so infrequently (and
there are local variations from synod to synod) adds to
our questions, perplexities, and general sense of not
knowing exactly what to do. The rubrics, of course, are a
great aid, but even they need to be deciphered when it
comes to various adiaphora. This page will, hopefully,
help you and your congregation navigate the complexities.
Installations should normally be held in the setting of
the ministry into which the pastor is being installed. If
a single congregation, then the church building of that
congregation makes sense. Multiple-point parishes usually
force a choice between the sites. Non-congregational
ministries might involve a college, hospital, nursing home
chapel. A ministry based in a church camp warrants a
service on camp grounds. Some ministries have no
particular place associated with them, opening the doors
to any venue that is on the general territory of the
ministry. This is all, of course, flexible. Various
practical and political necessities my suggest an
An installation into a congregational ministry should not
be done during the regular Sunday morning service. An
installation, while primarily a service of the
congregation, is also a service of the synod. Timing
should be such that neighboring congregations and clergy
may reasonably attend. It has been the practice in WV-WMD
to invite the conference associated with the ministry of
the installation. Think about drive time and other travel
issues related to time of year, weather, etc.
Preferred times are
- Sunday evenings or afternoons (no earlier than 3:00
- Friday evenings (though any weeknight can work).
Certain times of year should be avoided. Holy Week, for
example, is an awful time for an installation. Holy
Saturday is prohibited.
Consult with the bishop before fixing a date and time.
Feeding the 5,000
While not required, it is customary that some sort of
refreshment be provided. This has ranged from light
refreshments (punch and cake) to a full-blown dinner at
the local Knights of Columbus. Famously, pizza and ice
cream were once served at the Lutheran Campus Chapel in a
bid to be thoroughly contextual. Many congregations will
ask for an RSVP to get a rough estimate for planning
In addition to the presbyter* or
deacon being installed, there is a cast of characters,
some required in the rite, some optional.
- Installing officer: This is usually the bishop,
but, when the bishop is not available, the dean serves
as installing officer at the request of the bishop.
- Preacher: The bishop has first right of refusal
of the pulpit. Typically (though not necessarily), the
bishop offers the one being installed the privilege of
selecting a preacher, though the bishop does have veto
over the selection. Other ELCA ministers of Word
(bishops, presbyters, deacons) and those within the
parameters of our full-communion agreements are fair
game. Beyond that, dispensation from the bishop is to be
sought. A conversation before an invitation is issued
would be a good idea.
- Eucharistic presider:
- For presbyters: In the case of the
installation of a pastor, the pastor being installed
is the Eucharistic presider, taking over the liturgy
at the pax.
- For deacons: In the case of the installation
of a deacon, the bishop has first right of refusal of
the altar. Typically (though not necessarily), the
bishop offers the deacon being installed the privilege
of selecting a Eucharistic presider, though the bishop
does have veto over the selection. Other ELCA
ministers of Word & Sacrament (bishops and
presbyters) and their full-communion equivalents are
fair game. A conversation before an invitation is
issued would be a good idea. N.B., for the
installation of a deacon, a mass is not required;
depending upon the nature of the ministry, a
non-Eucharistic liturgy may suggest itself.
- Synactic liturgist: The one being installed
does not preside over the liturgy of the Word. The
bishop has first right of refusal of the chancel.
Typically (though not necessarily), the bishop offers
the one being installed the privilege of selecting a
liturgist, though the bishop does have veto over the
selection. Other ELCA ministers of the Word (bishops,
presbyters, and deacons) and their full-communion
equivalents are fair game. A conversation before an
invitation is issued would be a good idea.
- Presenter of the one being installed: A
representative of the ministry, usually an officer of
- Presenters of the instruments of ministry:
Representatives of the congregation or ministry who
present to the one being installed those things that
serve as symbols of the instruments of ministry:
- For presbyters: Pulpit (Bible),† font (shell), and
altar (paten & chalice).
- For deacons: Pulpit (Bible) and towel (basin)
- Interrogators and Chargers (optional for
presbyteral installation): Within the installation
rite, there are a serious of questions posed to the
presbyter being installed and also a series of
instructions. Thought the bishop can (and usually does)
interrogate and charge, the one being ordained may
request that other clergy assist in this.
- Lectors: Lectors may be chosen at the
discretion of the one being installed.
- Assisting ministers: Assisting ministers may be
chosen from among the baptized at the discretion of the
one being installed.
- Acolytes: A variety of acolytes (e.g., a
crucifer, lucifers, a thurifer, etc.) may be
chosen at the discretion of the one being installed.
Consult with the bishop.
The rite for installation includes an appendix with
suggested pericopes. Any of the suggested pericopes work,
but the one being installed my select pericopes outside
Synactic and Eucharistic
The propers for the synaxis and Eucharist (i.e.,
prayer of the day, verse [Gospel acclamation], preface, etc.)
for installation are included in the appendix just
The liturgical color for an installation is the color of
the day. Red, for example, is not used unless it is a red
day (e.g., Pentecost or martyr's feast). If the one
being installed has a desire for a color other than the
usual color for the day, find a martyr (if red is desired)
or a non-martyred saint (for white) or some other feast to
justify the color sought, and include it in the observance
of the day in some way.
It is not necessary to print out the installation rite in
the worship bulletin. In fact, it is strongly discouraged.
Consult with the bishop.
The synod will advertise the installation on The
Bishop's Roadshow, Facebook, and WV-WMD.org,
assuming the necessary details are provided Synod HQ.
Along with this, all conference presbyters and deacons
will receive a notices.
The congregation (and one being installed) will want to
think about inviting the following:
- Nearby ELCA congregations
- Nearby ecumenical partners
- Neighbors — this is an opportunity for outreach!
- Civic institutions — the mayor and city council, local
police, fire, and EMS officers and departments, social
service agencies, and others with whom the newly
installed presbyter or deacon may have to work with in
*Presbyter is used as a term for what
the ELCA terms minister or Word & Sacrament (excluding
bishops). Pastor has an historic and technical usage for
one that heads a congregation. Some of our presbyters are
†Items in parentheses
indicate items that may be given in addition to the
primary item listed (e.g., a Bible may be given in
addition to the pulpit, a shell may be given in addition
to the font, etc.).