Rites for Clergy
West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
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Contents
  • Installations
    • Logistics
      • Venue
      • Time
      • Feeding the 5,000
    • Dramatis personae
    • Words
      • Rite
      • Propers
        • Pericopes
        • Synactic & Eucharistic
    • Color
    • Bulletins
    • Invitations
  • Ordinations for Presbyters
    • Logistics
      • Venue
      • Time
      • Feeding the 5,000
    • Dramatis personae
    • Words
      • Rite
      • Propers
        • Pericopes
        • Synactic & Eucharistic
    • Color
    • Bulletins
    • Invitations
  • Ordinations for Deacons
  • Notes
Rite of Presbyteral Ordination
(Download in MS-Word)
Rite of Presbyteral Installation
(Download in pdf)
Rites will be added as they become necessary.

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 being 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

Logistics

Venue

Installations should normally be held in the setting of the ministry into which the pastor or deacon is being installed.

If the call is to a single congregation, then the church building of that congregation makes sense. Calls to multiple-point parishes usually force a choice between the sites.

Non-congregational ministries might involve a chapel or common room in a college, hospital, or nursing home. A ministry based in a church camp warrants a service on that camp's grounds.

Some ministries have no particular place associated with them, opening the door to any venue that is on the general territory of the ministry.

This is all, of course, flexible, various practical and political necessities coming into play.

Time

An installation for a congregational ministry should not be held 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 to the installation. Think about drive time and other travel issues related to time of year, weather, etc. Preferred times are

  • Saturdays,
  • Sunday evenings or afternoons (no earlier than 3:00 p.m.), and
  • 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 purposes.

Dramatis personae

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 the 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, but 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. Consult the bishop before issuing an invitation.
  • 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. If the installation is set within the context of an ordination, the one being installed does not preside at the table. N.B., mass at the installation of a prebyster is normal, but there may be rare circumstances that suggest a non-Eucharistic liturgy (e.g, a ministry with a significant interfaith component).
    • 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, but 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. Consult the bishop before issuing an invitation. 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, but 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. Consult the bishop before issuing an invitation.
  • Presenter of the one being installed: A representative of the ministry, usually an officer of the council/board.
  • Presenters of the instruments of ministry: Representatives of the congregation or ministry who present to the symbols of the instruments of ministry to the one being installed:
    • For presbyters: Pulpit (Bible), font (shell), and altar (paten & chalice);
    • For deacons: Pulpit (Bible) and towel (basin).
  • Interrogators and Chargers (optional for presbytetal installation): Within the installation rite, there is a series of questions and instructions posed to the one being installed.
    • For presbyters: The bishop usually interrogates and charges, but a presyter may request that other clergy assist in this.
    • For deacons: The bishop interrogates and charges deacons.
  • 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.

An individual may fulfill more than one role.

Words

Rite

Consult the bishop.

Propers

Pericopes

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 the list.

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 mentioned.

Color

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 a 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 that day in some way.

Bulletins

It is not necessary to print out the installation rite in full in the worship bulletin. In fact, printing out the installation rite is strongly discouraged. Consult the bishop.

Invitations

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 notice.

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 the future.

Ordinations for Presbyters

Logistics

Venue

Ordinations can occur almost anywhere, the basic distinction being between an ordination that is held in a place other than where the ordinand will serve vs. an ordination that is held in the place where the ordinand will serve.

Unlike some synods in which the Synod Assembly is the normal setting for ordinations, WV-WMD typically leaves the place of the ordination up to the ordinand (in consultation with the bishop). Some ordinands prefer to hold the ordination in the place that has issued the call. Others like to hold it in their home congregations. Still others have held it in their internship sites or their seminaries. Various practical and political necessities my suggest still other locations.

Time

An ordination is a service of the synod, not the congregation (or the ordinand). An ordination for congregational ministry should not be held during the regular Sunday morning service.  Timing should be such that clergy may reasonably attend. Think about drive time and other travel issues related to time of year, weather, etc.

Preferred times are

  • Saturdays,
  • Sunday evenings or afternoons (no earlier than 3:00 p.m.), and
  • 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 the bishop before fixing a date and time.

Feeding the 5,000

See the guidance for Feeding the 5,000 under installations.

Dramatis personae

In addition to the presbyter* being ordained, there is a cast of characters, some required in the rite, some optional.

  • Ordaining officer: This is usually the bishop of the synod from which the call has been issued, but, when the bishop is not available, the bishop may authorize another bishop to ordain.
  • Preacher: The bishop has first right of refusal of the pulpit. Typically (though not necessarily), the bishop offers the ordinand the privilege of selecting a preacher, but 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. Consult the bishop before issuing an invitation.
  • Eucharistic presider: A presbyter does not preside at his/her own ordination (even when combined with the installation). The bishop has first right of refusal of the altar. Typically (though not necessarily), the bishop offers the one being ordained the privilege of selecting an eucharistic presider, but the bishop does have veto over the selection. Other ELCA ministers of Word or Sacrament (bishops or presbyters) and those within the parameters of our full-communion agreements are fair game. Consult the bishop before issuing an invitation.
  • Synactic liturgist: The one being ordained 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, but 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. Consult the bishop before issuing an invitation.
  • Presenter of the ordinand/ordination sponsor: A representative of the ministry, usually an officer of the council/board.
  • 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: Pulpit (Bible), font (shell), and altar (paten & chalice).
  • Interrogators and Chargers (optional for presbyteral installation): Within the installation rite, there is a serious of questions and instructions posed to ordinand. Though the bishop can (and usually does) interrogate and charge, the ordinand 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.

An individual may fulfill more than one role.

Words

Rite

Consult the bishop.

Propers

Pericopes

The rite for ordination includes an appendix with suggested pericopes. Any of the suggested pericopes work, but the one being installed my select pericopes outside the list.

Synactic and Eucharistic

The propers for the synaxis and Eucharist (i.e., prayer of the day, verse [Gospel acclamation], preface, etc.) for ordination are included in the appendix just mentioned.

Color

The liturgical color for an installation is red.

Bulletins

It is not necessary to print out the ordination rite in full in the worship bulletin. In fact, printing out the ordination rite is strongly discouraged. Consult the bishop.

Invitations

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 the future.

Ordinations for Deacons

This section will be developed once need arises.

Notes

*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 chaplains.
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.). When the installation is not being held in the place of ministry, these additional items (Bible, shell, and chalice & paten) take the place of the furniture.

West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, ℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church,
309 Baldwin Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030  +  Porter@WV-WMD.org