Diaconal Ministry

Diaconal Ministers are consecrated for service in ministries at the intersection of church and world. This is a ministry of Word and Service. The serving is through agencies, institutions, and traditional church programs as diaconal ministers build bridges between the church and the world. A Master’s degree is necessary for this roster and the approval/endorsement of the synodical candidacy committee.


Diaconal Ministry

 The Center for Diaconal Ministry -- at Gettysburg since 1994


The Board for the Division for Ministry appointed Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, in cooperation with the newly formed Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries (Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and Southern Seminaries), as the ELCA Center for Diaconal Ministry Preparation. 

In following years interest in diaconal ministry blossomed - throughout the church. Although the words may be different one thread is consistent in conversation: "How are diaconal ministers embodying the call to service?" Inquiries come from persons considering service as diaconal ministers, members of our synods' Candidacy Committees, staff persons from the 65 ELCA Synods, representatives of our international Lutheran and ecumenical partners in ministry, students preparing for service as pastors or associates in ministry or deaconesses, seminary faculty where students prepare for service, etc.

 *2015-2016 affiliation fee is $950



Note as of February 4, 2016:   This January 2016 DMFE was the last DMFE being offered before the ELCA goes to one lay roster.  Please consult with your Synod and candidacy committee to discuss the Deacon roster.

January 7-12, 2016-residency at Gettysburg Seminary campus with on-line component running January 2-27, 2016 


Application; cost outline; Synod assessment:

 January 2016 application

Questions: contact Dr. Mark Oldenburg, moldenburg@ltsg.edu  

Katie Dodds, Office of Field Education kdodds@ltsg.edu  


The Congregational and Synodical Mission unit of the ELCA and the ELCA Center for Diaconal Ministry Preparation (located here at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on behalf of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries) co-sponsor the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event. Successful completion of this event meets the formation event component requirement for approval as a diaconal ministry candidate.


A variety of learning and community building experiences will include lectures, reading, writing, small group and individual reflection, field trips to diaconal ministry sites and optional tutorials. Worship, spiritual formation and community life are central to the experience. The primary faculty members come from the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries. Guest lecturers and ecumenical guests are also involved. There is some time in the schedule for relaxation and touring in the area.


The formation event is considered integral to the preparation of diaconal ministry candidates. Ideally the formation event precedes seminary study and will assist the candidate in shaping their course of study and field experience. Candidates will:
Study and explore the biblical, theological, historical and ecumenical roots and expressions of diaconal ministry;

Examine current diaconal approaches and models for ministry in a variety of settings through study and contextual site visits;

Gain deeper understandings of Lutheran theology as it relates to all forms of ministry, call and ecclesiology; [and]

Develop spiritual insights and disciplines for active ministry through worship, prayer and group processes designed for spiritual formation, development of community and mutual vision for diaconal ministry (accepted by the Board of the [former unit of the Division for Ministry], Oct. 22-25, 1995).

Requirements Positive Entrance

A positive entrance decision from a synod candidacy committee is required prior to attendance at the formation event. However, an application to attend the Diaconal Ministry Formation Event may be submitted prior to an Entrance Interview. The Division of Congregational and Synodical Mission and Education and the ELCA Center for Diaconal Ministry must receive a copy of a positive Entrance Decision prior to a participant's arrival at the formation event. Currently rostered associates in ministry or pastors must apply as a candidate for diaconal ministry.


All participants are in residence at Gettysburg Seminary for housing and meals during the event and attend all components.  


Participation in the entire event is required. Plan for complete focus on the event; personal business or work assignments will be difficult to accomplish. Family members are asked not to attend so that the participant can fully engage in this event.


A pre-event required reading list will be sent to all applicants with registration forms.


Participation Fee: $1,200 for each participant (includes communal meals throughout the event).

In addition to the Participation Fee, students attending ELCA seminaries will register and pay tuition to their own seminary in order to receive 3 credits for taking the DMFE.  Students enrolled in a non-ELCA seminary who seek to take the DMFE for 3 credits will register and pay a tuition fee of $1,575 to LTSG (contact Dr. Marty Stevens, the Registrar).  Participants who choose not to take the DMFE for academic credit pay only the participation fee but no tuition fee.

Travel, housing and books are additional. A $200 non-refundable deposit is due with your application (applied toward fee). 

Those enrolled in a seminary or academic institution should check with their financial aid office about financial assistance (formation event costs may be included in a student's annual budget).


For those needing housing in January we will have on-campus housing at the student rate of $25 per person per night for single rooms. Towels and linens are provided.  


Transportation arrangements to Gettysburg Seminary are provided from Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) for those arriving Thursday, January 7 and from Gettysburg to BWI is provided on Tuesday, January 12 following the last activity of the event. Scheduled flight departure must be after 3 p.m.

A travel equalization fund is available. Any participant whose travel expenses exceed $200 is eligible for up to $250 in travel equalization funds for the portion exceeding $200. Applications for travel equalization are available during the formation event - please bring a copy of your ticket receipt. Car mileage requests are computed at .575 cents per mile or the equivalent flight rate whichever is lower.