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Women in church, claiming their ordination

Mrs. Henriette Kavuo Malinyota at the UEM General Assembly 2022 in Villigst, Germany. Photo by: Lara Diederich Fotodesign

Ordination of female pastors and their integration is a current topic among the discussions in CBCA*.

In April 2024, Thea Hummel, UEM Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, met Mrs. Henriette Kavuo Malinyota, Coordinator of women’s programs of CBCA, in order to learn more about this process. Mrs. Henriette is a delegate of CBCA to the Council of UEM, taking part in decisions on strategic, financial and other issues.

From this interview, it appears that Mrs. Henriette is concerned with her church’s dealing with issues of gender equality and woman promotion, especially regarding the process of women ordination. She says: “Today in CBCA, we are around 75 female theologians who have been educated. Some of us have their bachelors, they have their masters, they have their PhD. They are teachers in University, serving as chaplains in schools or in hospitals, doing an excellent job. They have knowledge, they are so intelligent! But, until two years ago, they could not lead a church independently. Even if there is progress in this process of women ministry integration, they are not yet allowed to be ordained, because of this eastern Congo traditional culture!”

One of the arguments in the current debate is that the Western missionaries who initiated the churches were men only and didn’t ordain any women back in the day. Also, since Pastors are rotating every few years to a different congregation, another argument in this patriarchal culture is to imagine how the female pastor’s husband might have to relocate his home following his wife. For Mrs. Henriette and the women fighting along with her, as well as their husbands, these issues are not a problem. But for many in CBCA, they still are.

However, important progress is noticed and there is a hope that the process of women ordination is on a good way. This is because the CBCA is currently taking efforts, consist of working on the obstacles including the cultural perspective of women, the biased bible interpretation, missionary misogynist traditions and the structure of the CBCA. There are meetings with female theologians husbands to convice the rest of the church on the necessity of gender equality and women promotion at all levels.

Mrs. Henriette wonders: “Is it a sin to be female? Imagine, we have studied with men, some of us taught male theologians at University, who have already been ordained. Such a situation is traumatizing many of us”, she concludes.

For their work on gender equality, she is asking for solidarity: “Now, we need your prayer. We need your support.”


*CBCA = La Communauté Baptiste au Centre de L'Afrique (Baptist Church in Central Africa)


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