First female Palestinian pastor ordained in the Holy Land

Sally Azar has become the first female Palestinian pastor in the Holy Land after she was ordained in a Lutheran Church ceremony in Jerusalem. Azar will head the

English-speaking congregation at the Church of the Redeemer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) said. Her ordination on Sunday was held

before a packed crowd inside the church in occupied east Jerusalem’s Old City. “The rite of ordination is an honour. The chance to be ordained as a woman in my church is an

added honour. I am happy to be a part of history and gender equity in my church. It is exciting, but there is some uncertainty, as well. I do not expect this to be an easy road,”

Azar told The Lutheran World Federation last week ahead of her ordination. In 2018, Azar graduated from the Near East School of Theology in Lebanon before heading to

Germany where she studied Intercultural Theology at the University of Gottingen. “I will be assigned to the ELCJHL English-speaking congregation in Jerusalem. I will also

be responsible for bridging the Arabic-speaking congregation with the English-speaking congregation and working with the youth, which is important to me,” she added. Azar

is also a council member of the Lutheran World Federation.   The occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip were home to about 47,000 Christians as of 2017, according to the

Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Most Palestinian Christians belong to denominations that do not allow female clergy. A very small minority belong to Protestant

congregations that have women as ministers.