The controversial female pastor and writer Nadia Bolz-Weber has been appointed the first pastor of public witness for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
A pastor of public witness is a new modern role often created and promoted within denominations, where an individual is called to a public form of ministry, both in representing the denomination and advocating for its interests. One of the most notable examples of such a role would be Fred Rogers. He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church (USA) as an evangelist for television.
When asked what this role entailed, Bolz-Weber told Religion News Service that her motivation originates from "having a pastoral concern and wanting to have a broader reach than a single congregation." This work will include speaking before different congregations, hosting a podcast in partnership with The Moth and PRX, and other duties. Bolz-Weber doesn't see this role as a significant change from her current employment. Instead, it allows her to declare it pastoral and within the realm of her denomination.
Bolz-Weber was called to the role by the Rocky Mountain Synod of the ELCA and ordained on Friday, January 20. The theologian has built a large national brand in the last decade. Nadia Bolz-Weber originally started as a comic in Colorado, only to enter into ministry later in her life. Bolz-Weber became a founding pastor for the Denver-based House for All Sinners and Saints, a reasonably progressive church concerning its conduct and members.
Bolz-Weber has penned several books, including two New York Times bestselling books, Shameless: A Sexual Reformation and Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. The female theologian's perspective on the world has caused controversies in the past. For example, she encouraged women to send her their purity rings in 2018 so she could melt them down and make a sculpture of a vagina. The statue was then given to feminist activist Gloria Steinem.