Jodi was the 16th person to be extraordinarily ordained, since the first ordinations of Pastors Ruth Frost, Phyllis Zillhart and Jeff Johnson in 1990. Pastor Jodi is the 8th person to be extraordinarily ordained in the last two years. We called these ordinations "extraordinary" because they happen outside the "ordinary" process of the Lutheran church. Jodi identifies as lesbian and is in a committed partnership. The Evangelical Lutheran Church currently prohibits gay pastors from serving unless they abide by church policy requiring celibacy for gay pastors. The tradition of these ordinations stems from the early Reformation writings in the Book of Concord: "When the regular bishops become enemies of the Gospel or are unwilling to ordain, the churches retain their right to do so..."
You can read about the event in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune by clicking here.
The ordination was beautiful and moving, with over 200 people in attendance and several dozen clergy involved in the service. Pastors Mary Halvorson and Dan Garnaas from Grace and Pastor Anita Hill from St.Paul-Reformation Church (in St. Paul, MN) led the service.
The next day, I attended church at Grace. Many members of the congregation greeted me and thanked me for the work Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries has done to make Jodi's ordination possible. Pastor Mary Halvorson's sermon was about being "true," in the sense of "faithful." She referenced Saturday's reforming act of ordination in her message and the first prayer of the day was for Pastor Jodi and her ministry. At the end of the service, members got up to make various announcements. Jodi stood to thank people for Saturday. She introduced herself as "Jodi Barry." Several people called out, "no, PASTOR Jodi Barry!" and then there was rolling and sustained applause. Jodi talked about what the day meant to her. Another member, referencing the sermon, called out, "It was true!" And it was.