Lay Rosters (Word and Service)

Significant ministries are being carried out on behalf of the ELCA through the service of leaders who are called associates in ministry, deaconesses and diaconal ministers. The Candidacy Manual of the ELCA explains in detail the ministry and path to ministry of these three lay rosters.

The men and women who serve on these rosters go through the candidacy process of the ELCA before they are commissioned or consecrated for public ministry. They may be called by a congregation, a synod or the churchwide expression. They serve within congregations as well as outside of congregations in schools, agencies and institutions. They strive to be witnesses to this church and the world. They represent the church in settings and positions other than the traditional role of pastor.

Following several consultations on the ministries of associates in ministry, diaconal ministers and ELCA deaconesses, a report prepared in 2010 recommended that the three rosters become one roster and that the word “lay” no longer be used to describe this roster. In response to the report, the ELCA Church Council requested the formation of a task force. In November 2012 this task force, now called the Word and Service Task Force, recommended that the ELCA move toward the creation of one new roster. The Church Council affirmed the recommendation of the task force and authorized the task force to facilitate the creation of such a unified roster.

The Word and Service Task Force sent out e-mails to rostered leaders in February and July of 2013 with updates and a timeline up to the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, when the proposals may be voted on. Those e-mails can be found in the resource section of this Web site under lay rostered Leaders. The e-mail sent in July contains working documents concerning the name of the new roster, the core values of the roster, and suggestions for how the transition from three rosters to one will take place.

Until 2016, the lay rosters of the ELCA will remain as they are described in the Candidacy Manual.