First Palestinian Christian woman ordained in Holy Land
THE Revd Sally Azar became the first Palestinian Christian woman to be ordained in the Holy Land, during a service at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Old City Jerusalem, on Sunday. Ms Azar is to serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan. She was born and raised in Jerusalem, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in theology from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2019. Last year, she completed a Master’s degree in International Theology at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen and Hermannsburg, Germany. She also served at the Evangelische Johanneskirche Frohnau, in Germany, and is involved in the international Lutheran community, serving as a council member of the Lutheran World Federation, and on the board of ACT Alliance. In a congratulatory letter, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Professor Dr Jerry Pillay, said: “We rejoice with the Lutheran Church and with the people of the Middle East and of the Holy Land in particular on this important consecration of your spiritual and ecclesial leadership.”
US mourns after three mass shootings
THE US Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt Revd John Harvey Taylor, has called for prayers and support for the people of Monterey Park, California, where 11 people were shot dead on Saturday during celebrations for the Lunar New Year holiday. The suspect, Huu Can Tran, 72, reportedly opened 42 rounds of fire at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio where he was once a teacher — he later shot himself dead after fleeing the scene in his van. “Pray that by the grace and wisdom of our God in Christ, we may devote ourselves anew to advocating for meaningful steps to reduce the risk of gun violence,” Bishop Taylor wrote in a Facebook post. “Measures that would help just a little, saving just a few lives, would be gifts of incalculable value to each family spared the burden of mourning.” Just days later, on Tuesday, there was another mass shooting in the coastal city of Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, where a man shot dead seven former co-workers. The suspect, Chunli Zhao, aged 66, was arrested after driving to a police station. Last week, six people including a teenage mother and baby were killed at a property in Goshen, in central California.