First Palestinian female pastor Sally Azar ordained at Lutheran church in Jerusalem

Packed crowd turns out for ceremony at the Church of the Redeemer in the Old City

Sally Azar checks her collar before the procession for her ordination on Sunday. AP
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A Lutheran church ceremony on Sunday ordained the first Palestinian female pastor in Jerusalem.

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

Her ordination was held before a packed crowd inside the church in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were home to around 47,000 Christians as of 2017, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said. 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.

Sally Ibrahim Azar after she was ordained. AP

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

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

Updated: January 23, 2023, 5:57 AM