Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies such as celebrating the sacraments. The process and ceremonies of ordination varies by denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordinal.
Most (although not all) Protestant denominations ordain church leaders who have the task of equipping all believers in their Christian service (Ephesians 4:11–13). These leaders (variously styled elders, pastors, or ministers) are seen to have a distinct role in teaching, pastoral leadership.
Protestant churches have historically viewed the Bible as the ultimate authority in church debates (the doctrine of sola scriptura); as such, the debate over women's eligibility for such offices normally centers around the interpretation of certain Biblical passages relating to teaching and leadership roles. The main passages in this debate include 1 Cor. 11:2–16, 1 Cor. 14:34–35 and 1 Tim. 2:11–14, 1 Tim. 3:1–7, Tit. 1:5–9
Increasingly however, supporters of women in ministry argue that the Biblical passages used to argue against women's ordination might be read differently when more understanding of the unique historical context of each passage is available. They further argue that the New Testament shows that women did exercise certain ministries in the apostolic Church (e.g., Acts 21:9, Acts 18:18, Romans 16:1–4, Romans 16:7; 1 Cor. 16:19, Philippians 4:2–3, and John 20:1–18. Often quoting Galatians 3:28,they argue that the good news brought by Jesus has broken down all barriers and that female ordination is an equality issue that Jesus would have approved of. They also quote John 20:17–18, and argue that in talking to Mary, Jesus is calling for women to evangelize
In turn, those who argue for a male only ministry will say that the claims to contexts that change the apparent meaning of the texts at hand to one supporting female ordination are in fact spurious, that the passages that appear to show women in positions of authority do not in fact do so and the idea that the good news of Jesus brings equality before God only relates to salvation and not to roles for ministry.
The very diverse organizations which employ the term Baptist in self-designation:
The Baptist organizations in Germany and Switzerland (Bund Evangelisch-Freikirchlicher Gemeinden, Bund Schweizer Baptistengemeinden) ordain women.
The Southern Baptist Convention (the largest of the various Baptist denominations) does not support the ordination of women; however, some churches that are members of the SBC have ordained women. Though each SBC church is autonomous and may choose whether or not to ordain women, the local associations and state conventions have the right to not seat messengers from those churches at the annual meetings, and some have done so.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain ordains women.
The Baptist Federation of Canada which includes the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada (CBWC), the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), and the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC) ordains women.
While the Church of Sweden ordained its first female pastors in 1960, there was a considerable debate in this church of the ordination of women, which led to marginalization of a vocal high-church minority, which successively subdivided into loyalist high-church adherents on one hand and the splinter group Missionsprovinsen which was formed in 2003 but in 2005 was separated as a church body from the Church of Sweden.
Although the ordination of women was accepted by the Church of Finland in 1988, controversy over the issue occasionally surfaces among the more conservative wing of the church. Occasional debate on the matter has caused church membership resignations.
The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) began to ordain women in 1967 and 2004 all obstacles that forbade women to be consecrated as bishops were removed although none have yet consecrated.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the largest Lutheran body in the USA. The church bodies that formed the ELCA in 1988 began ordaining women in 1970 when the Lutheran Church in America ordained Elizabeth Platz. In 2017 about 27% of the rostered leaders were women and about 50% of the seminarians preparing for ministry were women. In 2013 the first female presiding bishop of the ELCA, Elizabeth Eaton, was elected. In 2018 16 of the 65 synodical bishops (17 bishops including Presiding Bishop Eaton) in the ELCA were women 
The North American Lutheran Church, was founded in 2010 does ordain women. The NALC has established ecumenical dialog with a number of Lutheran bodies, both those that ordain women and those that do not.
The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church (GCEPC) has ordained women since its inception in 2000. Ordination of women is not a controversial issue in the LEPC/GCEPC. Women are ordained/consecrated at all levels, including deacon, priest, and bishop in the LEPC/GCEPC.
The United Methodist Churchordains women. In 1880, Anna Howard Shaw was ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church; Ella Niswonger was ordained in 1889 by the United Brethren Church. Both denominations later merged into the United Methodist Church. In 1956, the Methodist Church in America granted ordination and full clergy rights to women. Since that time, women have been ordained full elders (pastors) in the denomination, and 21 have been elevated to the episcopacy. In 1967 Noemi Diaz is the first Hispanic woman ordained by an Annual Conference. The New York Annual Conference did the honors. The first woman elected and consecrated Bishop within the United Methodist Church (and, indeed, the first woman elected bishop of any mainline Christian church) was Marjorie Matthews in 1980.Leontine T. Kelly, in 1984, was the first African-American woman elevated to the episcopacy in any mainline denomination. In Germany Rosemarie Wenner is since 2005 leading bishop in the United Methodist Church. Bishop Karen Oliveto, currently serving, is the first openly lesbian bishop in The United Methodist Church.
The occurrence of women pastors, often as co-pastors along with their husbands, is frequent in the Pentecostal movement especially in churches not affiliated with a denomination; they may or may not be ordained. Notable women pastors include Paula White and Victoria Osteen.
The United Church of Christ. Antoinette Brown was ordained as a minister by a Congregationalist Church in 1853, though this was not recognized by her denomination. She later became a Unitarian. The Christian Connection Church, which later merged with the Congregationalist Churches to form the Congregational Christian Church, ordained women as early as 1810. Women's ordination is now non-controversial in the United Church of Christ.
The United Church of Canada ordains women. The church was divided during the 1930s by this issue inherited from the churches it brought together, the United Church ordained its first woman minister, Reverend Lydia Emelie Gruchy, of Saskatchewan Conference in 1936. In 1953, Reverend Lydia Emelie Gruchy was the first Canadian woman to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity.
The Presbyterian Church of Australia does not ordain women. As mentioned above some of its congregations left to join the new Uniting Church in 1977, 14 years later in 1991 it ceased ordaining women to the ministry, but the rights of women ordained prior to this time were not affected.
'Christian Connection Church: An early relative of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, this body ordained women as early as 1810. Among them were Nancy Gove Cram, who worked as a missionary with the Oneida Indians by 1812, and Abigail Roberts (a lay preacher and missionary), who helped establish many churches in New Jersey. Others included Ann Rexford, Sarah Hedges and Sally Thompson.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church officially does not ordain women in most of the world, but in regions of the United States, the Netherlands, parts of Germany, and China may occasionally ordain women. These ordinations are considered irregular and are not officially recognized in the church yearbook. In some parts of the world the Adventist Church, commissions women instead of ordaining. They can perform almost the same duties as an ordained minister but do not hold the title of ordained. This is because recent votes at the worldwide General Conference Sessions turned down a proposal to allow ordination of women. There was a strong polarization between nations, with Western countries and North Asia Pacific generally voting in support and other countries generally voting against. A further proposal to allow local choice was also turned down. In practice, there are numerous women working as ministers and in leadership positions. The most influential co-founder of the church, Ellen G. White, was a woman, but never ordained.
2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada – Susan Johnson. First woman to serve as National Bishop of the ELCIC. She was consecrated 29 September 2007.
2008 The Wesleyan Church – Jo Anne Lyon. First woman to serve as a General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, and first to serve as the sole General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church in its history. She was elected in June of 2008 and 2012 respectively.
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