Antje Jackelen, Bishop of Lund, won 55.9% of the vote from the ecclesiastical college of the Church of Sweden, which has 324 members. She will be the first female bishop of the Lutheran church that calls about 2/3 of Sweden’s population members.
She told Swedish news agency TT, “I’m a little dazed and grateful for the support I got.”
Ordained in 1980, Jackelen noted that it wasn’t that shocking for the Church of Sweden to elect a woman to lead, as “We have had female priests for over 50 years.” She’s married to a priest, has two children and is known in Sweden for her statements questioning the Virgin birth and endorsing the theory of evolution.
“I’ve been out on the international scene a lot and I can see that there is a curiosity about female church leaders. I have confidence and that is also an asset,” she told the BBC. The new Swedish Bishop will have good company in the United States as in August the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) elected Rev. Elizabeth Eaton as the first female Presiding Bishop.
Bishop Antje Jackelen will replace the current archbishop Anders Wejryd, who said “it was about time” a woman took the post. “We already have female leading bishops in Norway, USA and Germany,” said Archbishop Wejryd, who will step down next summer.