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Jubilee for Women's Ordination

Abstract: Fifty years of progress while some continue to hold out.

On September 27, 1958 the Church of Sweden approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. On April 10, 1960, Elisabeth Djurle, Ingrid Persson, and Margit Sahlin became the first women ordained under the new policy (Djurle, left, and Sahlin, right, are pictured). Eleven more years passed before an ordained woman (Pr. Sahlin) would have her own parish. The first woman to serve as bishop in the Church of Sweden was appointed in 1997. Today, approximately 35% of the clergy in the Church of Sweden are women.
The 50th anniversary of the decision was commemorated with festivities that coincided with the church's General Synod. The jubilee celebration began with a September 23 service at the Uppsala Cathedral. Bishop Antje JackelÚn of Lund, one of two women bishops currently serving in the Church of Sweden, preached. Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori participated in the service.Also in attendance were members of the Swedish royal family: His Majesty King Carl XIV Gustaf, Her Majesty Queen Silvia, and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria.
The celebration culminated on September 27 with special services in each of the church's thirteen dioceses.
The ordination of women is not universally accepted in Sweden and in 2003, opponents of women's ordination formed the Mission Province, an independent ecclesiastical province that ordains candidates for the priesthood who are opposed to ordination of women and who are therefore not accepted for ordination in national churches of Sweden or Finland.

(Vol. II, xlvii September 30, 2008 )

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