"I attended the ELS-WELS Forum on September 28 as the COP’s representative. The main subject of the forum was “Women Communing Women.” Concerns about this practice arose in both the WELS and the ELS after one WELS congregation called MLC female staff ministry interns to administer communion to female shut-ins. After review of the practice by the COP, the congregation was asked not to continue having women commune women. The congregation complied with the request. The COP conceded in its January 2005 statement on this issue that the Bible doesn’t specifically address this matter, but concluded that for numerous reasons it was not wise to continue having women commune women.
It’s apparent now that the COP’s call to refrain because the practice is “not wise” is not as strong a statement as some in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod were hoping to hear. According the 2006 ELS Synod Report, the ELS has urged its Doctrine Committee, “To continue its discussions with the CICR on the matter of women communing women noting that we unanimously agree that Scripture clearly teaches that women are not to be in the pastoral office, because this presiding office includes the exercise of authority over men (1 Cor. 14:34-35, 1 Tim. 2:11-12). Also, when Scripture refers to one who officiates at the word and sacrament liturgy it speaks in male terms (1 Tim. 3:2, 1 Tim. 4:13). Therefore women shall not read the Scripture lessons in the divine service, preach the sermon, administer Baptism or distribute the Lord’s Supper, for these things are intimately related to the pastoral office.” (Underlining mine) WELS, through its Commission on Inter-Church Relations, clearly needs to continue talking with our brothers in the ELS on this matter, but I hope it’s also clear that we in the WELS—even if there were no concerns from the ELS—are not in a position to have women read Scripture lessons in worship or to have women commune women."