Rites for Clergy
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Contents
  • Installations
    • Logistics
      • Venue
      • Time
      • Feeding the 5,000
    • Dramatis personae
    • Words
      • Rite
      • Propers
        • Pericopes
        • Synactic & Eucharistic
    • Color
    • Bulletins
    • Invitations
Rite of Presbyteral Ordination
(Download in MS-Word)
Rite of Presbyteral Insallation
(Download in pdf)

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

Logistics

Venue

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 chapel or common room in a college, hospital, or nursing home. A ministry based in a church camp warrants a service on camp 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 my suggest an alternate location.

Time

An installation into 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 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. A conversation with the bishop 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, 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. A conversation with the bishop 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, 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. A conversation with the bishop 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 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:
    • 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.

Words

Rite

Consult with 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 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.

Bulletins

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

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