Women Pastors: The Change The Church Needs

Women Pastors in Poland’s Protestant Churches

29 September 2021

Strong, courageous, patient. Women pastors wait up to three times longer than men for the final nomination and evoke great emotions. Polish pastors herald the change that we want to see in Christianity.

Protestant churches are subconsciously associated with greater freedom. For nearly half a century, most of them have ordained women pastors. In Sweden, their number is already greater than that of male pastors; in the United States, it is growing by five per cent year by year. In Poland, the first woman nominated for the office of pastor was Ewa Dolej, a pastor of the Evangelical Methodist Church. The nomination was the crowning of her many years of pastoral work. It happened in 1973 during the Annual Conference of the Evangelical-Methodist Church in Klarysew. Soon after that, Dolej retired.

Next was Wiera Jellinek, ordained by the Evangelical Reformed Church in 2003 in the diocese of Zelów, in Łódź Province. Since then, the number of female priests in Poland has fluctuated from around thirteen to fifteen. The Evangelical-Augsburg Church ordained twelve women to the positions of the clergy, the Evangelical-Methodist Church has ordained two (but one is currently in the vicariate stage), the Pentecostal Church — one. The powers of individual clergy vary according to the internal law of the church in which they serve. They share an extraordinary sensitivity to the lives of the faithful — in their sermons they often take inspiration from their own stories.

A Woman-priest Like a Spider-man

I google ‘Monika Zuber, Pastor’. Hundreds of articles pop up in response. All with strong titles: ‘Pastor Monika Zuber on abortion’, ‘Pastor Monika Zuber on the history of Poland without Polish women’, ‘Pastor Monika Zuber poignant remarks on paedophilia…’. Pastor Zuber is called the pastor of Polish feminists — her beliefs are defined and pro-women, something unheard of for a person connected to a clergy. In a bio on her website, she describes herself as a ‘feminist theologian’.  

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