Reformation rites for ordination and installation of ministers appeared throughout sixteenth-century Germany in official Church Orders. New theological understanding was expressed in these attempts to shape an evangelical rite but not a new theological datum. When the liturgical reforms are studied in context, one can discern continuity between the medieval and early Reformation Church regarding ordination and public ministry. Early reformers, including Martin Luther, never abandoned what the inherited rites intended. The ritual distinctions - matters of degree, not of kind - reveal the significance of the continuity.