In a ceremony that started with a public mea culpa and ended with a prolonged standing ovation, three lesbian ministers were officially embraced Saturday by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The three were the Rev. Anita Hill, pastor of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church in St. Paul, and two Minneapolis chaplains: the Rev. Phyllis Zillhart at Fairview Home Care and Hospice and the Rev. Ruth Frost at the Hospice of the Twin Cities.
Although they never had been officially recognized by the ELCA, the three of them have a combined 60 years of service as Lutheran pastors.
The official recognition of the three was set in motion a year ago when the denomination’s general assembly voted to drop its ban on gay and lesbian preachers who are involved in committed relationships.