First Palestinian woman to be ordained as pastor in Holy Land

First female Palestinian pastor

Sally Azar was ordained at a Lutheran Church ceremony in Jerusalem, making her the first Palestinian woman to serve as a pastor in the Holy Land.

According to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), Azar will be in charge of the Church of the Redeemer’s English-speaking congregation.

She was ordained on Sunday in front of a crowded audience inside the Old City church in occupied east Jerusalem.

“The ordination ceremony is a privilege. It is an additional honour to have the ability to be ordained as a woman in my church. Being a part of church history and gender equity makes me happy. Although it is exciting, there is also some uncertainty. I don’t anticipate this to be a simple journey, Azar said.

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Azar completed her studies at the Near East School of Theology in Lebanon in 2018 before moving to Germany to attend the University of Gottingen to study intercultural theology.

“I shall be working with the English-speaking congregation of the ELCJHL in Jerusalem. Along with working with the kids, which is essential to me, I will also be in charge of linking the Arabic-speaking church with the English-speaking community,” she added.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 47,000 Christians lived in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank as of 2017. The majority of Christians in Palestine are members of groups that forbid women from serving as clergy.

A very tiny percentage of Protestants attend churches with female ministers. According to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, there are about 3,000 members in Jordan, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.

According to the Middle East Council of Churches, Azar will be one of five ordained women in the Middle East, joining three in Lebanon and one in Syria.

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