While there are a few women pastors in the Holy Land, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) has yet to ordain one. Bishop Munib Younan served as president of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC), leading them to a unanimous vote in favor of women’s ordination in January 2010. Now, he is looking forward to the day when one will rise up from within the region.
Bishop Younan talked about how his Lutheran theology is the basis for defending women’s ordination:
Bishop Younan is pleased that the ELCJHL has recently established the ecclesial court system, giving women more equal standing in matters of family conflict. Gender justice issues are also a focus of his work with the Lutheran World Federation. Bishop Younan is also the president of the board for the LWF, overseeing 72 million Christians.
I’m thankful for men who are champions for women and girls in the world. My brother, John, who taught me to play basketball, is one of them.
Perhaps, for a man with a patriarchal identity to rethink his position, he needs to more fully consider the beloved women in his life: his partner, a daughter, or granddaughter. Perhaps, in the midst of his privilege, he even asks himself, “Is my life of more value than a woman-- than my wife or my daughter?” Privileged people of the world enjoy their position and privilege: giving up that privilege is difficult for many.
Jesus was a friend to women. He loved those considered “less than” by society – the sick and the poor.
Bishop Munib Younan is a leader whose identity in Christ is not the least bit threatened by women being invited into full participation into the body of Christ. Thanks be to God for his witness and work on behalf of God’s people.