Women have played different roles in religion and in the Church, as health care givers, educators, nuns, monarchs and missionaries.
These roles have however often been veiled by men who were accorded the sole position of being church leaders, priests, preachers and popes.
Following the post the feminism movement, there have been notable changes across many institutions, including the Church.
Women are entrusted with roles beyond just being treasurers, choir leaders and Sunday school teachers. Instead, they are taking to the pulpit to preach, minister and even heal.
It’s however evident that there’s still contention over women taking on leadership roles across societal institutions from the corporate world, academia and now in the Church. In the backdrop of an emergence of female presidents, CEOs, academics, politicians, engineers and so forth, why then is the Holy institution taking long to channel women’s energies to leading the masses to the Promised Land? Are women incapable of spiritual leadership or shut down by misogyny and sexism?
Some hardened chauvinists have questioned women’s ability to lead and spread the word of God, arguing that women are supposed to be the support only.
However, there’s a sudden emergence of women who lead worship in different churches. Yet traditional institutions remain rigid in ordaining women to lead.
The Roman Catholic Church for one has been ardent in its resistance to allowing women to lead.
In recent developments, the Church of England revealed that it will later decide whether to allow women into its top ranks as bishops.
“The ruling General Synod is preparing for a crucial vote on the issue after an attempt was blocked in 2012. It was passed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy but was sixty lay members’ votes short in the house of Laity,” a statement reads.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has expressed hope that the Synod will give this legislation its approval.
He said he was positive that that the first woman bishop would be announced end of 2015, citing that the exclusion of women in church leadership was “incomprehensible”. Rowan Williams, previous Archbishop of Canterbury, said the Church reportedly “lost a measure of credibility” over the failed 2012 vote.
There has apparently been effort to improve relationships between the Synods with differing opinions on the matter. Mediation and conflict resolution experts were drafted in last year to assist members resolve their differences.
This time the proposals to be voted on at York University would allow traditionalist parishes unwilling to serve under a woman bishop to request a male alternative. An ombudsman will arbitrate in the disputes.”
Annah Duiker, a Mothers’ Union leader in the Anglican Church and wife of late revered priest William Duiker, says that women are acknowledged by God as equal warriors of Christianity worship.
She however stresses that there’s a vast difference between sameness and equality. “Women are bestowed with spiritual powers too but not necessarily the same as those of men. Where men lead the pack and make decisions, women nurture, heal and influence the decisions men make.
“In the Bible, it’s said that Eve came from Adam’s rib. This expedites the idea that a woman and man must work hand in hand for the betterment of their home and community. In the modern context, there’s a saying that ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman.’ A woman in her role as a wife, mother or sister has influence over the man in her life.
“Wise men consult their wives and make decisions after listening to their women’s sentiments because women are naturally blessed with a strong intuition, emotional strength and wisdom,” she explains.
It’s this intuition she says, that serves as correspondence between the spiritual and worldly realm. Duiker further points out that women tend to misuse their God given blessings, which undermines their spirituality.
“Unfortunately, some women use their natural intuitive powers and influence on jealousy, negativity, cunningness and mischief. The perpetuated idea that women are evil stems from some women misusing their power and influence.
In the Bible this is exemplified in the Samson and Delilah story. Samson was a strong man who loved Delilah and was besotted with her physical beauty.
She however had a wicked heart. She went behind Samson’s back and connived with his detractors to cut off his locks, which were the basis of his powers.
“It’s this nature that women of God should desist from, just as men must shy away from the spirit of lust. A woman who upholds positive values, loves and respects others, will use her womanly power to influence the lives of those around her,” she says. Duiker further points out to parts in the Bible which accentuate women’s good deeds. “If you read in John 20 verse 1 and 18, you will get a better understanding of the role Mary Magdalene.
“She was a Godly woman: obedient, sincere, peaceful and respectful. Mary Magdalene was the first person to discover that Jesus’ grave was empty, and dutifully went to inform men, Simon Peter, John and James of this shocking discovery.
“It’s this role that women of God take, to use their intuitive to be of service to people; not to be selfish and pompous. Mary Magdalene was left more spiritually powerful than before,” she notes.
Duiker says women should strive to enact the role of the Good Samaritan woman, as expedited in John 4 vs. 4.
“It’s about employing a positive attitude and using intuitive powers to heal, help others, worship and influence. Women are evangelists. A woman’s role in society is to build, support, help and unite people. Its unfortunate that some women have encased themselves in the demonic nature, dividing and destroying others through wickedness, malice and gossip, stealing, committing adultery, over-imbibing and even killing,” she says.
Duiker notes that this goes against the word of God and such women will not be spiritually blessed or fulfilled because they aren’t at peace or in-sync with their natural power.