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Church challenged: "Level playing field for men and women"

Posted on: November 28, 2013 4:20 PM
Gender and Leadership Consultant from the Churches Council of Zambia, Mrs Njira Bweupe
Photo Credit: ACNS
Related Categories: Central Africa, women

By Bellah Zulu, ACNS 

The Church of the Province of Central Africa has been challenged to level the playing field for both men and women in critical decision-making structures to “facilitate exemplary leadership within the Church.”

The challenge was made today by a Gender and Leadership Consultant from the Churches Council of Zambia, Mrs Njira Bweupe, during a workshop held ahead of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) Synod, which officially begins tomorrow (November 29). 

About one hundred delegates from Central Africa and other parts of the world have gathered at Barn Motel in Lusaka, Zambia in preparation for the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) Synod. 

“In order to engender women in decision-making structures and leadership, it’s time to start doing business as un-usual and not as usual,” said Mrs Bweupe . “As a result of the patriarchal nature of the Church today, women have been left out of key decision-making structures despite being the majority.” 

Her presentation was heavily debated as some delegates felt that women are partly to blame for the gender inequality. “Women should help each other because they have a big role to play in attaining gender equality,” said Bishop of Central Zambia, Derrick Kamukwamba. 

But a member of the CPCA Standing Committee, Doreen Ntenta said, “most women have not been brought up to assert themselves and need all the support and guidance that they can get. It is difficult for women to be assertive in the home or church because both institutions are patriarchal in nature.”

Mrs Elizabeth Mukuwanda is the Mother’s Union President for Zimbabwe. She said that women should take up leadership positions because the Bible says “both and women received the Holy Spirit.” 

“By working together, men and women show the love of God,” she said. “Women, especially members of the Mother’s Union need to love and support each other and most importantly, remain united.” 

The heated debates on gender roles come at a time when women's ordination is one of the major issues on the Synod’s agenda. There has not been any consensus from the Province on the issue of women's ordination though some dioceses have already approved it. 

“The Church is in need of more priests,” remarked Ms Tenta. “In fact women do most of the ministry and are the ones with a deep understanding and appreciation of the social issues such as the needs of the orphans and the elderly.” 

Speaking at the beginning of the workshop, Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Bishop of Northern Zambia, the Most Rev Albert Chama encouraged all the delegates to shares not only from the books and academics, but also from their hearts as well as their own experiences.