Conference participants: “We affirm the LWF Gender Justice Policy”
(LWI) 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 President, 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 organize 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.
Getting it all together
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.”
Man or woman, both have a common value, both were created in the image of God.
Strengthening women’s participation in church and society
LWF Area Secretary for Africa, 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 mobilization 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.
We affirm the LWF Gender Justice Policy
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.