In 1948, three Danish women, Johanne Andersen, Ruth Vermehren and Edith Brenneche Petersen, were ordained as Pastors, marking a significant milestone in the history of The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark.
The Path to Female Ordination: Overcoming Opposition and Legal Changes
The path to female ordination was not an easy one, as there were many who opposed the idea. However, the Diocese of Lolland-Falster expressed their wish to hire theologian Johanne Andersen as a pastor, and this led to changes in the legal text on ordination in The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark.
The new law no longer referred to "men" but to "persons", paving the way for the ordination of women as pastors.
Despite the new law, some bishops were still against the ordination of women. In March 1947, a law was passed which allowed bishops to exempt themselves from ordaining women. However, Bishop Hans Øllgaard was not opposed, and he ordained the first three female pastors in Denmark on April 28, 1948, in the Cathedral of Odense.
From Female Bishops to Majority Women Pastors
Since then, women have made significant progress in The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark. In 1995, Liselotte Rebel became the first female bishop in Denmark, and just one month later, Sofie Petersen was installed as the first female bishop in Greenland.
Today, 57.8% of pastors in Denmark are women, a testament to the progress that has been made over the past 75 years. This development has also challenged traditional gender roles in the church and has opened up new opportunities for women in religious leadership.
Hope for a More Inclusive and Equitable Future in Religious Leadership
The 75th anniversary of the ordination of female pastors The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark is an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made, but also to reflect on the work that still needs to be done. While women have made significant strides in the Church of Denmark, there is still work to be done in terms of gender equality and diversity in religious leadership.
However, the achievements of the past 75 years provide hope for a more inclusive and equitable future for the church and society as a whole.