Liturgy by TLW



Thanksgiving and Blessings for
the Anniversary of an Ordination

Or for Giving of the Title "Emeritus"


by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


L = Leader    A = Assisting Minister     P = Pastor with Anniversary    C = Congregation


The following order is intended for use prior to or within a social gathering honoring a pastor celebrating an anniversary of ordination or being given the title "emeritus" when a eucharist is not desired.   The Leader [L] may be the Bishop, Dean of the Conference, an Associate Pastor, or a colleague, lay or ordained. Lessons and hymns listed are advisory.  The Blessings may be assigned variously beyond those listed below.


The order may also be adapted for use within the chief eucharistic service of the congregation, in which case: The Dialog of Thanksgiving would replace the Apostolic Greeting and Kyrie. The Prayer of the Day below would follow the proper Prayer of the Day. The Litany of Thanksgiving would replace the Prayer of the Church. And the Blessings would follow the Post-Communion Prayer. In Lent, omit the Alleluias of the opening dialog.  If a public re-affirmation of ordination vows is desired, it may precede the Litany of Thanksgiving or the Blessings, using rubric #6 of the Ordination rite in the Occasional Services (1982), pp.193-94.




Dialog of Thanksgiving:


A. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

C. His mercy endures forever.


A. Open for me the gates of righteousness.

C. I will enter them and offer thanks to the Lord.


A. Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord.

C. Happy the people who are chosen as God's own.


A. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, says the Lord.

C. And they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed.


A. I will feed them with good pasture.

C. I will feed them in justice, says the Lord.


A. Alleluia! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.

C. In the assembly of the upright, in the congregation, I will give thanks. Alleluia!


Hymn of Praise    "All Creatures of Our God and King"


Prayer of the Day:

L. The Lord be with you.

C. And also with you.


L. Let us pray. Almighty God, through your Son Jesus Christ, you gave the holy apostles many gifts and commanded them to feed your flock. Inspire all pastors to proclaim your Word diligently and your people to receive it willingly, that finally we may receive the crown of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (LBW 543)

C. Amen


First Lesson: 2 Timothy 4:1-5.  Second Lesson: St. Mark 4:1-9. Homily (optional).   Hymn #286 "Bow Down Your Ear, Almighty Lord."  The Leader or an Assisting Minister may lead the Litany of Thanksgiving:


Litany of Thanksgiving:

A. Let us pray in thanksgiving for the ministry of our co-worker in Christ, the Rev. ____________, and for the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the whole world.

Almighty God, we give you thanks for pouring out your Spirit upon the Church and bringing forth abundant gifts for the ministry of the whole people of God. Fill the Church with truth and love, that all its members may serve you with true and godly lives. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


For an anniversary:

A. We thank you for raising up men and women of faith to preach your Word and administer your Sacraments, especially we pray for Pastor ______________. As you have blessed him/her during _____ years of ministry, grant that s/he may continue to keep his/her ordination vows, fulfill his/her duties of ministry, serve your people, build up your Church, and glorify your name. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


For giving of the title emeritus:

A. We thank you for raising up men and women of faith to preach your Word and administer your Sacraments, especially we pray for Pastor ______________, who we honor this day for his service and contributions to this congregation.  As we have come to know your goodness and love and been enriched in faith through him/her, grant that s/he (and his/her family) may live continually in your presence, be steadfast in faith, and  know your love in such abundance as to continue to share it throughout his/her/their live(s).  Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


A. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill Pastor ___________ with your love. Shepherd him/her who shepherds others. Guide him/her who guides others. Enlighten him/her who enlightens others. Give to him/her who gives to others. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


A. We give thanks as well [for ____________, his/her spouse, and] for all his/her family, who, in their love and support of Pastor ___________, have made a significant self-offering to the mission of your Holy Church. As they have shared their love, so shower them with your love and blessings. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


A. Bless all bishops and pastors and those who hold authority in the Church, especially ___________ our Presiding Bishop and ___________ our Bishop, and the pastors of our sister congregations. Grant that by their faithful service, faith may abound and your kingdom increase. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


A. Heal the divisions which separate us and bring peace to the Church, that we may speak with one voice of our one Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.


A. Make us all to follow the path of righteousness until we join that cloud of witnesses who have gone before, that we may together live in the joy of your heavenly kingdom. Lord, in your mercy,

C. Hear our prayer.

The Leader says the final petition:


L. Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

C. Amen


Hymn "Doxology"


During the hymn, Pr. ________ is brought to the chancel by those who will give the blessings.


Blessing by the Bishop or Dean:

____________, may the Lord God bless you and keep you always in his care. May the Lord equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight.

C. Amen


Blessing by an Ordained Colleague:

____________, may the Lord God always be with you, in your going out and your coming in. May the Lord fill your heart and your mind with his love in Jesus Christ. And may the Lord always inspire you to share that love with all those whose lives you touch.

C. Amen


Blessing by the President of the Congregation:

Pastor ____________, may the Lord God always be on your lips, that you may declare his saving word of grace and forgiveness to his people. May the Lord give you understanding of the Gospel, sincerity of purpose, diligence in ministry, and the beauty of life in Christ, that many people will be served and God's name be glorified.

C. Amen


Blessing by a Female Member of the Congregation:

Pastor ____________, may the Lord God bless you and reveal himself in you and through you. May the Lord bless those whom you bless, guide those whom you baptize, forgive those whom you forgive, strengthen those whom you feed with Christ's body and blood, and bring to eternal life those whom you commend to him. May the Lord prosper the work of your ministry for the salvation of souls and the increase of his kingdom.

C. Amen


Blessing by a Male or Youth Member:

Pastor ____________, may the Lord God be your rock and your refuge, that you may fear nothing except losing him, and that you may lay all your cares on him. May the Lord always hear your prayers, that you may be protected from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and that you may always know and believe in his love for you. May the Lord bless, guide, forgive, and strengthen you, that you too might be brought to eternal life.

C. Amen


The Leader says the Closing Prayer:

L. Let us pray. We give you thanks, almighty and gracious God, that you have blessed us with the ministry and friendship of Pastor _____________, and we pray that s/he may continue to exemplify in word and deed the Gospel of your Son. Grant that we, with him/her, may serve you now in the Church on earth and rejoice before your throne in heaven forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

C. Amen


The Pastor being honored gives the closing Benediction:

P. Let us bless the Lord.

C. Thanks be to God.


P. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.

C. Amen


Closing Hymn  "Now Thank We All Our God"




At a eucharist, the following Post-Communion Prayer may be said:

A. Let us pray. We thank you, almighty and gracious God, that you have fed us with the heavenly food of the body and blood of your Son, and have united us through him in the fellowship of your Holy Spirit. As you raise up faithful servants for the ministry of your Word and Sacraments, grant that we, with Pastor ____________, may joyfully serve you all our days and finally rejoice in your glory; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (LBW 539 alt.)

C. Amen