Stein Reinertsen

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

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

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

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. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 4 Stein Reinertsen Retrieved 1 January 2013 (Norwegian)
  4. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 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. 1 2 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
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