Liturgy by TLW



Rite of Ordination
with Litany

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


The Rite of Ordination below is substantially taken from the Occasional Services 1982 (Augsburg Fortress).  But it is expanded to include a litany for the Prayer of the Church that I wrote for my own ordination many years ago.




The ordinands are presented, each in turn, to the bishop and to the congregation:


Presenter:      I present for ordination to the holy ministry of Word and Sacrament      full name,   who has been prepared, examined, and certified for this ministry and who has been called by the Church to the office of pastor.

C. Thanks be to God.



The bishop addresses the ordinand(s):

P. According to apostolic usage you are now to be set apart to the office of Word and Sacrament in the one holy catholic Church by the laying on of hands and by prayer.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ says: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:21-23)

    And again: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Malt 26:18-20)

    St. Paul writes: I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:23-26)


The bishop questions the ordinand(s):

P. Before almighty God, to whom you must give account, and in the presence of this congregation, I ask: Will you assume this office, believing that the Church's call is God's call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament?

R. I will, and I ask God to help me.


P. The Church in which you are to be ordained confesses that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and are the norm of its faith and life. We accept, teach, and confess the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds. We also acknowledge the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses and faithful expositions of the Holy Scriptures. Will you therefore preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and these creeds and confessions?

R. I will, and I ask God to help me.


P. Will you be diligent in your study of the Holy Scriptures and in your use of the means of grace? Will you pray for God's people, nourish them with the Word and Holy Sacraments, and lead them by your own example in faithful service and holy living?

R. I will, and I ask God to help me.


P. Will you give faithful witness in the world, that God's love may be known in all that you do?

R. I will, and I ask God to help me.


P. Almighty God, who has given you the will to do these things, graciously give you the strength and compassion to perform them.

C. Amen



A. Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

     For the holy catholic Church, that it may be filled with truth and love and by your grace be found without fault at the last day: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For all members of the Church, that they may serve you in true and godly lives: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For ___________, our presiding bishop, and for ___________, our bishop, and for all those responsible for the care and nurture of your people: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For      Name(s),      chosen to be a pastor(s) in the Church, that he/she/they may faithfully fulfill the duties of this ministry, serve your people, build up your Church, and glorify your name: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For the peace of the Church, that our divisions may be overcome and that we may serve the world as one people in one Lord Jesus Christ: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and understanding may grow among nations and peoples: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, the lonely, the forgotten, and all who suffer; for refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger; that they may be relieved and protected: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


A. For the glorious company of all the saints, those who have died in faith and those who live in certain hope, we praise you. That their witness may give us courage until the day of Jesus Christ: Lord, in your mercy,

C. hear our prayer.


P. Into your hands, 0 Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

C. Amen

The ordinand(s) may kneel.


HYMN      "Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire"      Veni creator spiritus


The bishop begins the thanksgiving.

P. The Lord be with you.

C. And also with you.


P. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

C. It is right to give our thanks and praise.


P. Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father, we bless you for your infinite love in Christ our Lord, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. We thank you that by his death your Son has overcome death and, having been raised by your mighty power, has ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. We praise you that Christ has poured out his gifts abundantly on the Church, making some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, to equip your people for their work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.


The bishop lays both hands on the head of the ordinand(s).  Other clergy may impose their right hands.

P. Eternal God, through your Son, Jesus Christ, pour out your Holy Spirit upon name and fill him/her with the gifts of grace for the ministry of Word and Sacrament.

Bless his/her proclamation of your Word and administration of your Sacraments, 0 Lord, so that your Church may be gathered for praise and strengthened for service. Make him/her a faithful pastor, patient teacher, wise counselor. Grant that in all things he/she may serve without reproach, that your people may be renewed and your name be glorified in the Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

C. Amen



A stole is placed over shoulders of the ordinand(s) as the bishop says:

P. Receive this stole as a sign of your work, and walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus, serving his people and remembering his promise: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt 1128-30)


The newly ordained stands.


P. "Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith." (1 Tim. 6;11-12)

"Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the Church of the Lord which he obtained with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)

"Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory." (1 Peter 5:24)

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." (1 Cor. 4:1-2)


P. Care for God's people, bear their burdens and do not betray their confidence. So discipline yourself in life and teaching that you preserve the truth, giving no occasion for false security or illusory hope. Witness faithfully in word and deed to all people. Give and receive comfort as you serve within the Church. And be of good courage, for God has called you, and your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The newly ordained kneel for the blessing.


P. The God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever.

C. Amen


The bishop and newly ordained turn to face the congregation.

P. Will you, assembled as the people of God and speaking for the whole Church, receive name(s)   as a messenger(s) of Jesus Christ sent to serve God's people with the Gospel of hope and salvation?  Will you regard him/her/them as a servant(s) of Christ?

C. We will.


P. Will you pray for him/her/them; help and honor him/her/them for his/her/their work's sake, and in all things strive to live together in the peace and unity of Christ?

C. We will.


P. Let it be acclaimed that     name(s)    is/are ordained a minister(s) in the Church of Christ.  He/She has / They have Christ's authority to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, serving God's people.

C. Amen. Thanks be to God.

The congregation may offer acclamation with applause.



Acknowledgment: Occasional Services, copyright 1982, by permission.