With the laying on of hands and prayers led by Pastor José Pilar Álvarez, San Marcos Lutheran Church ordained Pérsida Gudiel as pastor on Aug. 12, the first woman ordained by the Lutheran Church in Guatemala.

The ordination service was led by German pastor Yasna Cruesemann, and was attended by a delegation of young people from Catholic, Methodist and Lutheran churches in Germany visiting the country, along with representatives of the Christian Ecumenical Council of Guatemala.  

Pastor Cruesemann referred to Martin Luther’s invitation to not make distinctions between priests and lay persons, an exhortation that is one of the pillars of the Reformation, adding that, “Women and men are the feminine and masculine face of God.”

Cruesemann emphasized that the church should always be in a process of reform, creating spaces where it is possible to meet with justice, where men and women can be in an equitable relationship.   

In quite a significant gesture, Pastor Álvaez took off the stole he was wearing and placed it in the hands of Hilda Orozco, president of the San Marcos Church Council, the directing body that invited Pérsida Gudiel to be the congregation’s pastor with God’s blessing. 

“I give thanks to God for having sent angels who have supported this ‘little lamb’ in everything, who was not wanted to lead any flock because of being a woman,” said Gudiel when beginning her sermon.

She referred to difficulties that women come across in reaching the priesthood because of the conservatism of the masculine leadership and the machista (male domineering) culture present in the society.

Pastor Ralf Haeussler, from Germany, gave Pastor Gudiel a present of a collection of pens, inviting her to use them to write her sermons and reflections, and also to denounce all that is an attack against life.