“Thank God I Wasn’t Born A Woman”

April 3, 2011, Nairobi- Hi Kenyan ladies, we at Women eNews Kenya spent the weekend reading the final chapter of Reverend Teresa Wairimu Kinyanjui’s Cactus in The Desert, an amazing autobiography
launched last month.

We were swift to go through the autobio to the last page and today we bring you an episode that caught our attention, just how did women preachers cope back in the days?

It was not all roses especially for those who began way back in the 80s, as you will soon find out at the end of this short summary adapted from chapter 23 of the autobiography, it was unthinkable for a woman to stand before a multitude of people and spread the gospel.__________________________________________________________________________________________

“Thank God I Wasn’t Born A Woman”
________________________________________

“My preaching years at Uhuru Park were extremely

eventful, narrating them would take another complete book” says Rev Teresia Wairimu at the beginning of Chapter 23 of her autobiography, “Cactus in The Desert”

Rev Teresia Wairimu narrate, in Kenya historically, priesthood was largely regarded as a preserve of men, generally across Africa, churches did not admit women in to the clergy for a very long time.

When for example the Anglican Church of Kenya ordained the first women priest, Reverend Phoebe, she was in for tumultuous times.

The Nation Newspaper carried a story in their weekender magazine about Reverend Phoebe’s bitter experience within the church, the newspaper story narrated how she was once invited as a guest preacher in an ACK Church in Nairobi, and she traveled all the way from her Kirinyaga station to deliver the sermon.

After she was introduced, she proceeded  to the pulpit ready to preach, but she was rudely interrupted by one of the church elders who snatched the microphone from her hands and said to the congregation, “ I thank God  I wasn’t born a woman…”

Rev Teresia continues… The Church elder went on to make other unpleasant and offensive remarks against women in religious leadership, to the church elder, women were to sit and listen to men.

Fortunately, Reverend (Now Bishop) Peter Njenga was present in the service; he immediately stood up to counter the allegations and also to defend the importance role of female priests.

Reverend Njenga thanked God for creating women and pledged his support for women called in to the ministry. He urged them never to be discouraged by gender discrimination or anything else that come into the way of their service to God. He said God uses anyone, male or
female for his service.

The women who pioneered public Christian ministry did not enjoy much goodwill from the society; women were regarded as better off wearing apron to cook and care for their families rather than wearing priestly cassock and the collar.

Preaching and managing church affairs was deemed to be too complex for women.

Presently in Kenya, there are still some churches that do not ordain women.

Reverend Teresia continues … I remember when I approached the then provincial commissioner for Nairobi the late Fred Waiganjo for permission to preach at Uhuru Park for the very first time.

The PC told me “ I have received reports that you are a very daring woman, if you dare go to preach at Uhuru Park, I will not send anyone to deal will you, I will be there to arrest you”

I thought very quickly and asked “will you arrest me before or after the preaching?”

The PC answered “after”

I answered “it’s a deal”

All I needed was an opportunity to preach the gospel; the consequences did not overly concern me.

When the meeting was over, I looked around for men in uniform, there were not there, the following day on a Monday, the PC telephoned me, he told me “I was present at your meeting yesterday but from what I saw, I couldn’t arrest you”

He later issued me with a permit allowing me to preach at Uhuru Park once every month…

By Ngigi Kamau, Women eNews Kenya Correspondent

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2 Responses

  1. That is inspiring

  2. mum You are a true servant of most high God. yuv become my mentor.

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