Rev. Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir officially became Iceland’s first female bishop yesterday, and said during her opening sermon that the church needs to find a way to increase its congregation.
As reported, former Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson announced last November that he would not run again for bishop, and that elections for a new one would be held early. The general public does not get to choose the new bishop, however – priests and theologists can all run for the office of bishop, but only other priests, theologists, and related church officials have the right to vote for one. Elections held earlier in April showed a conclusive win for Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, a parish priest from Bolungarvík, who received 307 ballots of the 477 cast.
Agnes was officially made bishop yesterday, RÚV reports, in a ceremony at Hallgrímskirkja which had in attendance many bishops from abroad, Icelandic president Ólafur Grímsson and Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.
In a sermon she gave attendees, she said the church must find a way to bring in new members. The church has seen a decrease in numbers over the past couple of years, for the most part precipitated by a sex scandal involving the outgoing bishop and his predecessor. However, the church has had a positive effect on society, she said, and will continue to do so.