Southern African Anglicans elect first woman bishop

By staff writers
November 21, 2012

While the Church of England's General Synod failed to endorse women bishops, its South African sister church has just consecrated its first woman.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa celebrated the elevation to episcopal ministry of Ellinah Wamukoya, aged 61, on Saturday 17 November 2012.

An announcement widely circulated on 20 November confirms that she will now serve as a bishop in the small, conservative kingdom of Swaziland.

The Most Rev Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town said in his statement: "The thunder is rumbling as I write: We have witnessed a great occasion, and now it does indeed seem that the heavens are about to fall upon us - the falling of rain, which this country and its people so desperately need."

He added: "We have taken this step, and we wish the Church of England 'God speed' as they deliberate this week."

The man who led Saturday's ceremony and liturgy stressed that the gathering was to consecrate a bishop "not a black woman, not an African, not a Swazi woman. She [will] be pastor to all, to men and women, to black and white, to Swazis and all others in her diocese."

Bishop Wamukoya is a former mayor of Swaziland's economic capital, Manzini.

"I am going to try to represent the mother attribute of God," she told the AP news agency. "A mother is a caring person but at the same time, a mother can be firm in doing whatever she is doing."


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