SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Dozens of people gathered at Lutheran Church in Sioux City to witness the installation of the first female bishop in the western Iowa synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
MaryJean Steenberg was a witness of the installment and she said it was an emotional moment to witness.
“Oh wow. I sat and cried for the first five minutes I was here. It’s just remarkable how far we’ve come. We’ve had to kind of crawl to find our way,” said Steenberg.
Bishop Lorna Halaas was welcomed into the church with streamers, song, and prayers just before she committed to serving a 6 year term as the new bishop.
“I am the first female bishop in western Iowa. The western half of this state and so that is an honor and a privilege and I am humbled to serve in this capacity,” said Bishop Halaas.
Halaas was welcomed into the church by the Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton who, like Bishop Halaas, was also a first female presiding bishop in the ELC on a national scale.
“It was an interesting feeling six years ago when I was first because that was the big news. A woman bishop was new and I didn’t like that question until I realized that it’s not so much about me but what this represented to women and even men,” said Bishop Eaton.
The progress showing the congregation that gender doesn’t define the ability to lead and woman can and will continue to make strides for equality.