50 Years On: a Half Century of Ordaining Lutheran Women

Like other mainline Protestant groups, in the midst of the second wave of feminism, in 1970 American Lutherans voted to ordain women, joining several European Lutheran churches which already did so.

This two minute video introduces the themes and discussions
presented in this website.

Anticipating the 50th anniversary of American Lutherans’ decision to ordain women, the 40th of ordinations of women of color, and the 10th since barriers to lesbian women’s ordination were removed, this website tells the story of the 1970 decisions, reports on women pastors’ experiences, and highlights how the church has changed in the past half century.


  • Proof of the Pudding: narrative account in three sections: study and decision, first steps, and more milestones.
    (May take 20 minutes to read)
  • Biographies: information about individual women, links to other projects and sources.
  • American Cultural and Religious History: timeline places these events in the larger American cultural context.
  • Maps and Figures:  information about numbers of women ordained, when they were ordained, where they served, and their experiences.
  • Bibliographies: primary sources, scholarship about Lutherans, and about American Protestantism more generally.



Maps & Figures