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Abstract: Extra ordinem may be status quo, but it still fascinates: high points from Jen Nagel's ordination, who was seen and who was not.
Pr. Jen Nagel's ordination extra ordinem on January 19 was attended by about 500 people. The event was covered in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and precious few other places.
After 18 years, it may be that extra ordinem has become status quo.
Status quo or not, however, this was an exciting and unusual event. The procession was led not by a phalanx of clergy, but by several dozen children waving red banners. The red-vested clergy, more than 100 of them, followed.
The ordaining ministers were The Reverend Darold Beekman, Bishop Emeritus, Southwestern Minnesota Synod, The Reverend Lowell Erdahl Bishop Emeritus, St. Paul Area Synod, and The Rev. David Brown.
The laying on of hands, which so often happens in two separate movements (first by clergy, and later by the laity) was done in one movement with the whole congregation filling the aisles, hands on the shoulder of the person in front in a great chain of connection.
And of course, there was a sermon, a powerful sermon delivered by the The Reverend Angela Denise Davis, a blind, lesbian, African-American woman ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Her text was the Epistle for the day (Acts 10) and the message was: "Listen to the Spirit in Joppa, do God's work in Caesarea, knowing full well there will be fallout in Jerusalem."
We looked for local luminaries, but being from out of state, we were unable to identify any. We can neither confirm nor deny attendance by Bishop Craig Johnson.
We did hear that there was one Minneapolis Area Bishop's Assistant in attendance who did not vest and, unprepared for the unconventional laying on of hands, seemed reluctant to reach out a hand to the shoulder of the next person lest this be misconstrued.
At the reception following the ordination we met The Reverend Susan Engh, ELCA Director of Congregation Based Organizing.