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Lutherans ordain first Palestinian female pastor in Holy Land

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JERUSALEM — A Lutheran church ceremony in Jerusalem on Sunday ordained what will be the first Palestinian female pastor in the Holy Land.

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

His ordination took place before a large crowd inside the church in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were home to around 47,000 Christians in 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 are adherents of Protestant congregations that have women as ministers.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church claims to have around 3,000 adherents in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Jordan.

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

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