The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELCA) has elected the first female Dean to serve within Latvia.
Ieva Puriņa was also the first woman ordained Pastor by the LELCA in Latvia in 2014 to break the 20 years of female non-ordination policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (ELCL) under the leadership of Archbishop Jānis Vanags, who was elected in 1993 and since then has halted female ordination in the country.
On August 1st 2020 Pastor Ieva Puriņa was elected by the Synod of the LELCA in Riga to become the first Dean of the Latvian Deanery of the LELCA. On August 5th the Board of LELCA unanimously approved Ieva Puriņa as a Dean.
LELCA is a Lutheran denomination established in 1922. During the Second World War, when Latvia was occupied and incorporated into the Soviet Union, the Archbishop and half of the clergy went to exile. Originally LELCA has united Latvian Lutherans outside their homeland but since 2016 LELCA has its presence in Latvia.