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Lutherans ordain first Palestinian woman pastor in Holy Land

JERUSALEM – A Lutheran church ceremony in Jerusalem on Sunday has determined what will become the first Palestinian female pastor in the Holy Land.

Sally Azar will lead the English-speaking congregation in the Church of the Redeemer, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan, and the Holy Land.

Her ordination took place before a packed crowd at the church in the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, about 47,000 Christians lived in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2017. Most Palestinian Christians belong to denominations that do not admit female clergy.

A very small minority are followers of Protestant congregations that have women as pastors.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church says it has about 3,000 adherents in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Jordan.

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

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