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Job sharing bishops.

Bielefeld, Germany

(ENI)--The Bavarian Lutheran church has for the first time appointed a married couple to share the position of regional bishop.

Elisabeth Harm von Weyhern, 43, and Stefan Ark Nitsche, 50, were installed on March 12 to the post of regional bishop for Nuremberg, one of six districts within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

"The calling of these two people makes clear that it is not only possible to occupy the post of a parish pastor as a job share but also positions of leadership in the church," said the head of the Bavarian church, Bishop Johannes Friedrich.

Critics of the job share said it would devalue the office of regional bishop and that it might harm contacts with the Roman Catholic Church, something discounted by Lutheran Church spokesperson Susanne Hassen.

"There is no need to worry," Ms. Hassen said. "Catholic Archbishop Ludwig Schick from Bamberg has sent his best wishes to the couple saying that he hopes for good relations in the future."

She noted that the couple had already shared a position in the administration of the Bavarian church.
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Title Annotation:WORLD
Publication:Anglican Journal
Date:May 1, 2006
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