The first ever meeting of Africa’s six female Anglican bishops was held in Kenya last month. The gathering took place from 8 to 14 January at St Julian’s Retreat Centre, Limuru, Kenya, under the theme “African Anglican Women Bishops embarking on a journey of faith: defying conventions and leading with Grace.”
Bishops Filomena Tete Estevão (Diocese of Bom Pasteur, Angola), Dr Emily Onyango (Diocese of Bondo, Kenya), Elizabeth Awut (Diocese of Rumbek, South Sudan), Dr Vincentia Kgabe (Diocese of Lesotho, Southern Africa, Rose Okeno (Diocese of Butere, Kenya) and Dalcy Badeli Dlamini (Diocese of Eswatini, Southern Africa) issued a communique in which they reflected on five key principles: Re-defining the Church; Moral and Ethical Leadership; the Triple threat of Gender-Based Violence, teenage pregnancies and HIV/AIDS. They stated, “For far too long, the voice of the Church has been silent on gender inequalities that have been worsened by endemic cases of gender-based violence (GBV), teenage pregnancies and HIV/AIDS. We note that the affected are our congregants who could be described as perpetrators and survivors of the aforementioned triple threats and demand of us to intervene.” They also reflected on Women Leadership Empowerment and Climate Justice.
They were guided by a Bible verse from Proverbs 27:17 “As Iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” In their communique they stated, “We humbly adopt the inspiring message of Archbishop Dr Jackson Ole Sapit to us: Women of faith shall continually be instruments of hope, transforming the world and offering thoughtful and practical leadership in various issues that affect society; Women of faith are placed at the core of progressive communities and their voices add valuable contributions to build a stronger Church; The church must remain vocal in highlighting the reforming and transforming power women hold as agents of change.
Watch full media briefing here
Read full Communique here