As the new academic year begins, the Rev. Elizabeth Platz is welcoming students at the University of Maryland in College Park – as she has has for nearly 45 years. On November 22 this year, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will mark the 40th anniversary of her ordination – when her theological training and years as an assistant Lutheran chaplain at the university led to a benchmark ordination — the first time a woman was ordained a Lutheran pastor in North America.
“My congregation keeps changing,” Chaplain Platz said. “To be able to be with young people and watch them change over four years and mature — it’s exciting.”
Those whose lives she has touched speak highly of Chaplain Platz’s influence. “What she brings to the church is the notion of church leadership as servanthood — both a servant of the gospel and the people of the church — in little practical ways and in larger ways,” said the Rev. Richard H. Graham, bishop of the Metro D.C. Synod and longtime friend of Chaplain Platz’s. Read more about her ministry from church leaders and former students in this ELCA News Release (8/23/10).