Palestinian Woman, Sally Azar Ordained As First Woman Pastor In Jerusalem

IN many parts of the Christian world, female church leaders are no longer unusual. But until now, the Holy Land – where events in the Bible are set – had not seen a local woman ordained.

On Sunday, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, Sally Azar, became its first woman pastor at an event at the Lutheran church in the heart of the Old City, attended by hundreds of international well-wishers.

“I got more excited seeing the excitement of other people,” Reverend Azar told me. “It’s an indescribable feeling to take this step with the support of the church.”

“I hope that many girls and women will know this is possible and that other women in other churches will join us. I know it will take a long time, but I think it could be exciting if this changes in Palestine.”

Christians make up a minority in the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Jordan. Most Christians here belong to the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic Churches, which do not allow women priests.

However, the ordination of women has been taking place in a growing number of Protestant Churches in the past few decades. These have small local congregations and run schools and hospitals in the Holy Land.

“Everywhere where you have a patriarchal society and culture this is a major step,” says the recently retired Archbishop of the Church of Sweden, Antje Jackelen.

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