Stein Reinertsen

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Bishop Stein Reinertsen

Stein Reinertsen (born 21 January 1960) is a Norwegian Lutheran clergyman who since January 2013 has been bishop in the Diocese of Agder og Telemark of the Church of Norway.

Early life and education[edit]

Stein Reinertsen was born and grew up in Oslo, with parents originally from Lista in Southern Norway.[1] His father died when he was 14.[2]

Reinertsen obtained a cand.theol. degree from the MF Norwegian School of Theology in Oslo in 1986. After finishing practical theological studies, he was consecrated as a pastor of the Church of Norway in Oslo domkirke in 1987.[3]


In 1988, Reinertsen worked as a military chaplain in Hans Majestet Kongens Garde (the Royal guards). From 1989 to February 1992, he worked for the Norwegian Christian Student and School Association. Then he worked as a student pastor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences from 1992 to 1995. In 1995, he was head of Credo Forlag, a publishing house owned by the Norwegian Christian Student and School Association.[3]

He served as parish priest in Farsund from 1996 to 2012; between 2010 and 2012 he also worked as a hospital pastor at the Flekkefjord department of the Hospital of Southern Norway.[3]

In March 2012 he became dean of Mandal deanery.[4]

Stein Reinertsen was one of five nominated candidates to become bishop after Olav Skjevesland.[5] After a round of input from various church bodies, Reinertsen remained as a candidate together with Anne-May Grosaas and Ludvig Bjerkreim.[6] In the second round, he obtained the most votes among local parishes and priests. Eight bishops preferred Anne-May Grasaas, while four preferred Reinertsen. The Church's National Council, having the final say, voted ten for Reinertsen and five for Grasaas.[4]

His appointment was announced in December 2012. It was the first time after the reformation that a bishop in the Church of Norway was appointed by a body of the church and not the Norwegian government.[4] This was a result of changes to the Constitution of Norway in 2012.[7]

He was consecrated bishop in Kristiansand Cathedral on 27 January 2013. King Harald attended the ceremony, which was the first time he attended a bispevigsling without being head of the Church. Minister of Church affairs Rigmor Aasrud also attended the event which was led by bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien.[8]

Theological profile[edit]

Stein Reinertsen is considered a conservative theologian,[9] but refuses the label of theological conservative.[7]

He was in his early career opposed to ordination of women to priesthood, but changed his view as a result of further studies of bible texts and conversations with former bishop Odd Bondevik.[10] After he was elected bishop, Aftenposten featured a story about Reinertsen being opposed to marrying people who are divorced.[9] This stance was criticised by politicians and others, with leader of Vest-Agder Labour Party Linda Verdal leaving the church in protest. In subsequent interviews, Reinertsen underlined that sub-ordinate priests in the diocese were free to follow their own conscience on the issue and he would not discourage them from marrying divorced persons.[11]

In 2013, Reinertsen was among a minority of four bishops who opposed a proposal to allow gay marriages in the Church of Norway, as well as opposing a compromise of allowing church blessing of gay couples who have married secularly. The church's national council has the final say on the issue.[12]

He has been engaged in multicultural work to include immigrants in the Church of Norway, and took courses in the topic in 2008 and 2009.[1][3]

Personal life[edit]

Reinertsen is married and has three grown-up children.[4] As bishop, he lives in an apartment in the centre of Kristiansand which is owned by the Church of Norway.[13]


  1. ^ a b Stein Reinertsen blir ny biskop Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  2. ^ Jan Arild Holbek (8 December 2013) Stein Reinertsen tok papparollen da faren døde Vårt Land. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  3. ^ a b c d Stein Reinertsen Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  4. ^ a b c d Jan Arild Holbek, Martin Eikeland (7 December 2012)Stein Reinertsen ble første kirkeutnevnte biskop Vårt Land. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  5. ^ Jarle Kallestad (7 September 2012) En av disse blir biskop i sør Vårt Land. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  6. ^ Martin Eikeland (29 October 2012) Stein Reinertsen leder bispekampen i Agder Vårt Land. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  7. ^ a b Rebecca Trondsen et al. (27 January 2013)Reinertsen vigslet til ny biskop NRK. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  8. ^ Inger Anna M. Drangsholt (27 January 2013) En såmann vigslet på Såmannssøndagen Dagen. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  9. ^ a b Solveig Ruud (21 December 2013) Ny biskop har aldri viet fraskilte Aftenposten. Retrieved 1 December 2013 (Norwegian)
  10. ^ Marin Eikeland (31 October 2012) Nå sier bispefavoritt Reinertsen ja til kvinnelige prester Vårt Land. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  11. ^ Eivind Kristensen (2 January 2013) Jeg skulle gjerne vært denne saken foruten Aftenposten. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  12. ^ Lars Gunnar Eie, Sander Heggheim (17 October 2013) Agder-biskop sa nei til å vie homofile NRK. Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  13. ^ Rebecca Trondsen (18 February 2013) Biskopen får leilighet til nesten 9 millioner NRK. Retrieved 1 January 2013