First joint conference of female Lutheran pastors and theologians in Nigeria

By agency reporter
October 2, 2018

Female pastors, theologians, bishops and heads of departments of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN) have held their first joint conference.

About 90 participants, of whom 76 were women in the ordained ministry and lay theologians, attended the conference, which had the theme 'Getting it all together', taken from  Hebrews 12:1. It was held in the city of Yola, the capital of Adamawa state, northeast Nigeria.

LCCN Archbishop and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)  President, the Rev Dr Panti Filibus Musa, said in his opening speech that the conference was inspired by the LWF Twelfth  Assembly resolution that calls upon the LWF Communion to organise a process to study experiences of women in the ordained ministry in order to remove barriers and to affirm the way forward.

Women theologians should encourage each other in their involvement in the life and witness of the church, he said. They should “share their experiences and perspectives on their ministry, identify key challenges in the ministry and strategies for addressing those challenges.”

“Each of us has unique gifts that we can bring to the life and witness of the church that cannot be carried alone”, he said.

In her keynote address, theology lecturer Hauwa Hazael Madi said God’s created beings had equal value. “Man or woman, both have a common value, both were created in the image of God.” In the midst of societal and cultural limitations, as well expectations placed on women, the strength to carry out the ministry of reaching the unreached and nurturing young believers must not be neglected. “Many have struggles and yet remained faithful and have been counted faithful.”

LWF Area Secretary for Africa, the Rev Dr Elieshi Ayo Mungure, said women’s participation in the life and ministry of the church in Africa was increasing but had to go further. The church needed to look into women’s development with deliberate and strategic steps. “If you need women up there you have to start from the grassroots.” She said LCCN was doing the grassroots mobilisation to bring about the gender justice needed in the church.

Equal opportunities were needed for both women and men in the church, creating awareness and greater enlightenment of gender issues and training women and men to respect the sanctity of God’s creation. She encouraged LCCN women theologians and pastors to take their involvement in ministry sincerely and ensure they were not limited by culture.

Participants reiterated their commitment to the LWF gender justice policy and committed to internalise it in the LCCN “as a vital priority at all levels and within the church (national, diocese, district and congregation).

“We prayerfully call upon the church leaders and congregations in LCCN to recognise women’s ministry as a gift for the church, thereby conforming to the full inclusion and participation of women in the church.”

Participants lent their voice to the global move to create a safe world for women and children. In Adamawa state they asked the church to take up matters of injustices against widows and orphans, and consider how inheritance laws and tradition can be addressed.

* Lutheran World Federation


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.