Anita Carol Hill was ordained to the Lutheran Ministry of Word and Sacrament in an extra ordinem service on April 28, 2001. One currently seated bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) participated in her ordination along with three retired bishops, nearly 200 clergy persons, and over 1,100 others in an extraordinary show of support for the ordination of gay and lesbian ELCA candidates who are in committed relationships. Pastor Hill serves St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she first joined the staff of Wingspan Ministry in 1983, and became Pastoral Minister in 1994. She has also served as adjunct faculty in the field of sexuality and ethics at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.
St. Paul-Reformation received a letter of censure and admonition from Bishop Mark Hanson (St. Paul Area Synod) for calling and ordaining Pastor Hill. Terms of the censure required St. Paul-Reformation members to relinquish any elected office in the synod. Bishop Peter Rogness lifted the sanctions of censure in January, 2003, leaving the official admonition in place.
Long-awaited policy change in the ELCA regarding LGBT clergy came in 2009 following years of advocacy in which Hill’s journey was intertwined. Subsequently, Hill completed candidacy in the ELCA in February 2010. In a special service of reception held September 18, 2010, Anita was officially received as a member of the ELCA clergy roster with colleagues Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart, who were ordained in San Francisco’s ground breaking extra ordinem service in January 1990. Bishop Peter Rogness of the Saint Paul Area Synod presided their service of reception. The Rev. Barbara Lundblad, professor of homiletics at Union Theological Seminary, New York, preached to the crowd of 700 who attended the service and celebration.
Pastor Hill continues to be actively engaged in outreach ministry based in community organizing and anti-racism efforts. She has served as a board member and president of the Lutheran Human Relations Association. Pastor Hill was approved for ordination by the Extraordinary Candidacy Project and was a Mission Partner of the Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries. She is a member of the Lutheran Network for an Inclusive Vision, and a life member and former co-chair of Lutherans Concerned/North America.
Pastor Hill has published articles including: "Ecclesiastical Disobedience: Welcoming God's Call" in Open Hands: Shaping an Inclusive Church, 2002; "I've Seen It!" in Dialog: A Journal of Theology, 2001; "Pastoral Aspects of Human Sexuality" in The Clergy Journal, 2000; "Hope & Change" in Seek: A Journal of Grass Roots, 1999; "LC/NA Response to Walter Wink" in Vanguard, Lutheran Human Relations Association, 1999; "Someone's Come Out. Now What?" in Open Hands: Resources for Ministries Affirming the Diversity of Human Sexuality, 1996; "On Being Christian and Homosexual: Living Responsibly with What is Given" Word and World, Theological Journal of Luther Seminary, 1994.
Anita received her B.S. degree from Mississippi State University. She received her M.A. in Religious Studies and M. Div. from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton, Minnesota. United Seminary recognized her as the recipient of two awards at graduation: The Henry Felix Kapp Memorial Award for the best scholastic record in Old Testament Theology and The Alfred and Catherine Koch Memorial Award for outstanding work in parish service. She was honored with the "Spirit of Chrysalis" Award for courageous witness and the Lutheran Human Relations Association "Mind of Christ" Award. The Human Rights Campaign honored Anita with the 2002 Brian Coyle Award.
Anita and her partner, Janelle Bussert, share their home with Patricia Mokoena and her son Thabiso. The Mokoenas have become family with GrammAnita and YaYa Janelle as they seek asylum in the United States after experiencing xenophobic violence in South Africa in 2008. Surprises abound and families are made when the Spirit is moving!
(This biographical statement provided by Anita Hill.)