MILWAUKEE (RNS) — As they entered the worship service on the last full day of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Churchwide Assembly, some of the pastors clapped along with the upbeat music.

Some danced.

Others draped their arms around each other’s shoulders as they filed into the worship service, two by two. All were women, ranging in age from their mid-20s to the 104-year-old Rev. Maria de Jesús.

The processional was the kickoff of a year of celebrations leading up to the 50th anniversary of Lutheran women’s ordination in the U.S. in 2020, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton said in her opening remarks at the assembly.

Along the way, Lutherans will mark 40 years of women of color being ordained and 10 years of LGBTQ

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