Lutheran Ordination

The Lutheran Experience at HDS

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America needs needs thoughtful, imaginative, well prepared and practical leaders to guide the church as it makes its way, as the morning prayer says, “on paths untrodden.” It needs leaders who have diverse backgrounds and connections. It needs leaders who are equally well-versed in scripture, theology, politics, and service to the community and the world.

Lutheran students at HDS gain these advantages, among others:

  • Student companions. You study with an unusually able group of students, of many different backgrounds, experiences, and faiths, committed to being leaders in religious and secular endeavors.
  • The resources of Harvard University. You have access to all the Harvard libraries, and you can take classes at any of the university’s schools, including the schools of law, business, government, and public health and study with some of the world’s best teachers and scholars. You are able to do field work at more than one hundred sites in religion, health care, social services and advocacy, and education.
  • Lutheran community. You become part of the active local Lutheran community, including the two nearby Cambridge Lutheran churches and other churches in Boston and inner suburbs. At HDS, you have the fellowship of the HDS Lutherans student organization and the support of the Lutheran Denominational Counselors.
  • The Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium. HDS is part of the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium, a consortium of ten Christian, Jewish, and Orthodox seminaries and theological schools. You may cross-register for classes at any of these schools.
  • Vibrant and diverse city. You live in the Boston area, a city known for culture, politics, history, sports, social activism, and religious heritage.
  • Rich denominational, ecumenical, and interfaith life. You live, work, and can worship with students and teachers of many denominations and faiths.

Meeting Lutheran Requirements for Candidacy at HDS

All Lutheran students who wish to be ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have to follow the guidelines listed in the Candidacy Manual 2016. Part of those guidelines call for “structured Lutheran learning and formation opportunities approved by an ELCA seminary.” In the past, this requirement could only be satisfied by studying one year at a Lutheran Seminary (the so-called “Lutheran year”). That is still an option, but there are now other ways for HDS students to meet that requirement. Lutheran students should read the candidacy manual for details, but the key is to affiliate with an ELCA seminary and work with them as study at HDS. The earlier you do this, the better. The seminary will guide you to make sure that while at HDS you meet the ELCA requirements.

Lutheran students have many resources available at HDS, in other nearby schools, and in the community. HDS is part of the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium, and you can take courses at any of the BTI Consortium schools. There are nearby Lutheran churches and campus ministries in Boston and Cambridge. There are many Lutheran-connected sites for field education. You can download “Meeting ELCA Requirements at HDS” (PDF) that summarizes the requirements of ELCA candidates and compares them to courses and opportunities for Lutheran community at HDS. For more information, you can speak to the Lutheran Denominational Counselor at HDS.