Our Bishop: Doctor Sani Ibrahim Charlie Azar
Bishop Sani Ibrahim Charlie Azar was born June 22, 1961 in Lebanon. Bishop Azar is a product of the Evangelical Lutheran Schools in Palestine, graduating from the Evangelical Lutheran School of Bethlehem in 1979. He earned his theology degree from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany in 1987. He was ordained on March 25, 1988 and served as pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem for 30 years. He was elected Bishop in January 2017. In 2023, Bishop Azar was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity honoris causa from the United Lutheran Seminary.
Before becoming the pastor of Redeemer, Bishop Azar served as director of youth ministries and president of the ELCJHL synod. In his service to the church, Bishop Azar has always been a member of the ELCJHL Church Council. He is deeply passionate about meeting the individual and communal needs of the Palestinian people, especially Christians.
Bishop Azar is also highly involved in Lutheran and Ecumenical Christian organizations in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. Presently, he serves as a member of the board of the Near East School of Theology and the Bethany Beyond the Jordan Baptismal Site, on the Central Committee of the WCC, and as President of the Lutheran Ecclesiastical Court. He also serves on the Department of Services to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches and the Housing Committee of the Augusta Victoria Hospital – Lutheran World Federation. He proudly serves as a board member of the Jerusalem Society of Berlin Missions and the Vice President of the Evangelical Lutheran German School of Talitha Kumi in Beit Jala.
Bishop Azar is the founder of the Day Care Center for the Elderly located next door to Redeemer in the Martin Luther Community Development Center.
In the sermon given on his Consecration Day as Bishop of the ELCJHL, Bishop Azar said that the church is “not my church, it’s our church”. He feels strongly that the church not only welcomes all, but serves all in need.