“Here we stand!”

More than 120 pastors from 18 countries campaigned for women’s ordination in Wittenberg, Germany. Photos: LWF/Marko Schoeneberg

A visual message from Wittenberg on women’s ordination

(LWI) – Over 120 women pastors from 18 countries have sent a strong signal during the Reformation celebrations in Wittenberg. Coming together under the motto “Here we stand!” and wearing clerical robes they drew attention to the fact that in many churches, women are disadvantaged.

The motto goes back to the statement attributed to Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521, when he was challenged  to revoke his teachings: “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me, Amen.”

Now, about 500 years later, the women pastors assembled on Wittenberg’s Castle Square for a highly symbolic photo opportunity. Among them were 17 bishops and women in leading church positions from Suriname, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Latvia, Norway and Greenland. They were meeting in Wittenberg in the context of the Reformation Summer, from 10 to 14 August. The event was hosted by WICAS, the Women in Church and Society Program of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the German National Committee of the LWF on the initiative of Bishop Ilse Junkermann of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany.

LWF affirms women in the ordained ministry

Women are still not ordained in all churches. At present, 119 of the 145 member churches of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) ordain both women and men. In the message of the Twelfth Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia, the LWF affirmed women’s participation in the ordained ministry: “We applaud the 119 member churches that currently ordain those called, both male and female. As the communion continues to journey with those still on the way, we urge the member church that has ceased ordaining women to develop a process and a timeline to reconsider this decision.”

 

Cathy Mui of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea appealed to the gathering not to stop fighting for the full participation of women in the ordained ministry.
Cathy Mui of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea appealed to the gathering not to stop fighting for the full participation of women in the ordained ministry.

For women like Cathy Mui from Papua-New Guinea a dream would come true if she could be ordained as a pastor. Mui was one of the first women in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea to study theology. “My church doesn’t ordain women,” she stated. She addressed the ordained women at the photo event in Wittenberg, in the place where the Reformation began. “Don’t stop fighting so that we, too, can stand with you one day,” was her passionate appeal to the women pastors.

See the full photo album on Facebook