Middle Eastern churches make historic vote to approve women pastors

Middle Eastern churches on Tuesday unanimously approved a statement that would allow the ordaining of women as pastors in the region.

The vote occurred at the Sixth General Assembly of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC), an association of Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed churches in the region.

Drafted on the spot in response to a report by the fellowship’s theology committee, the adopted statement read, "The Sixth General Assembly supports the ordination of the women in our churches in the position of ordained pastor and her partnership with men as an equal partner in decision making. Therefore we call on member churches to take leading steps in this concern.”

Commenting on the historic vote, the Rev Munib A Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) said that the FMEEC’s action is in line with the Middle Eastern evangelical tradition of leading the way in ministry.

"If we have any influence in the Middle East, it is the theology of grace," Younan said at the opening of the conference the previous day.

To a world that values work, achievement and ritual, "Jesus Christ gave us the theology of grace that we may influence the community that we live in," he added.

Around 70 delegates from 16 member churches participated in the FMEEC’s three-day assembly, which is scheduled to end on Wednesday.