Sally Ibrahim Azar (cent), a Palestinian Christian and board member of the Lutheran World Federation, after being appointed pastor of her congregation, the first woman in that position, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on January 23, 2023. ( AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
JERUSALEM (AP) — Lutherans ordained what will be the first Palestinian female pastor in the Holy Land on Sunday.
Sally Azar will lead the English-speaking congregation at the Church of the Redeemer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land reported.
The ceremony was held in front of a crowd at a church in the Old City of Jerusalem.
There were some 47,000 Christians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2017, according to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics. Most Christian Palestinians belong to denominations that do not allow female priests.
A very small minority belong to Protestant congregations that do allow women ministers.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church says it has about 3,000 worshipers in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Jordan.
Azar will be one of five women priests in the Middle East, along with one in Syria and three in Lebanon, according to the Middle East Council of Churches.