Seipati Mohutsiwa reflects on an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the first ordination of women to the priesthood in Southern Africa.
The year 2017 is significant in the life of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa as it signals the 25th anniversary of ordination of women into priesthood. Between 25-27 September 2017, women from various parts of the world gathered together at a women’s conference held in Benoni, South Africa. The theme of the conference was: “Commemorate, Celebrate, and Commit”.
The conference gave women clergy and laity the opportunity to come together and reflect on the events and the people that had contributed to the ordination of women into priesthood 25 years ago. Many stories that were shared became a commemoration that led us to celebrate the ministry of women then and now.
Attendees also had the opportunity to share the pains that had come with the ordination of women. This was a hurtful experience in which the lamenting of many women was just as loud as the joys of serving in the Church.
Attendees reflected on the pains of exclusion, inequality and injustice that women experience in the Church and in various communities. To this, the women responded by making a commitment to work collaboratively for the transformation of many practices that promote exclusion and marginalisation of women.
Perhaps this event could serve as a reminder that “we are pilgrims on a journey”, and that in this very journey of our faith, we continue to recognise Christ in each other, and in servanthood.
Seipati Mohutsiwa is a final year student at the College of Transfiguration in Grahamstown, South Africa.