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Lutheran Church in Chile ordains first woman pastor

All LWF member churches in region now welcoming women as ministers

May 6, 2014

The ordination of Rev. Hanna Schramm in Santiago de Chile in April 2014.

The ordination of Rev. Hanna Schramm in Santiago de Chile in April 2014. —LWF/Leonardo Pérez

SANTIAGO, Chile

The Lutheran Church in Chile (ILCH) has ordained Rev. Hanna Schramm as its first woman pastor in a historic move that means all Lutheran World Federation (LWF) churches in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region now embrace women ministers.

“The ordination of a female pastor in the ILCH is of relevance for the entire communion of churches in the LWF,” said the Rev. Patricia Cuyatti, area secretary for LAC. “It invites us to engage women from different backgrounds to explore ministry from their life experiences and contribute in witnessing the relevance of living liberated by God’s grace to serve.”

Dresden, Germany-born Schramm studied theology in Leipzig before completing a two-year vicariate in Chile. She was ordained last month in the Church of the Redeemer in Santiago de Chile by Bishop Siegfried Sanders of the ILCH.

“I want to express gratitude for the journey that made possible the ordination of the first female pastor in our church. We thank Hanna Schramm for her courage, sensitivity and courtesy during her vicariate, which made people appreciate her service,” Sanders said.

“We realized that many people who had doubts and reservations regarding the service of a female pastor have been changed by Hanna’s ministry,” Schramm added. “For the ILCH, this means a change of mind, openness, and a more inclusive theology. The ILCH has moved to another time, to the reality of today.”

The LWF’s Gender Justice Policy, approved by the Council in 2013, underlines the global communion of churches’ commitment to the empowerment of women and gender equality both within the LWF and wider society.

Schramm hopes that her ordination will also encourage women in Chile to study theology and join the ministry.

“The fact that a woman has come along and has been ordained and accepted as a minister is certainly a great contribution towards encouraging more young women to be interested in this calling. They can see that this possibility is now open to them as well,” Schramm said.

“The ordination of a female pastor in the ILCH puts both churches in Chile in equal relationship and fulfilling the principle of equality,” said the Rev. Gloria Rojas, vice-president of the LAC region and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH). “With this accomplishment, the LWF member churches in the region meet the LWF guidelines that are studied, understood, internalized and followed in the everyday activities and relationships in our churches.”

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