Tradition forbids women priests says Central Africa

The General Synod of the Church of the Province of Central Africa has defeated a motion to ordain women priests. The motion was rejected by all three houses of the synod: bishops, clergy and laity.

The General Synod of the Church of the Province of Central Africa has defeated a motion to ordain women priests. The motion was rejected by all three houses of the synod: bishops, clergy and laity.

Meeting from 27 Nov to 1 Dec 2013 in Lusaka for their first synod since 2008, the women priest measure was offered to synod by Bishop Chad Gandiya of the Diocese of Harare with the support of the Diocese of Botswana.

Bishop Gandiya noted women priests had the support of his diocesan synod, and that the innovation was in accord with Scripture and church doctrine – as well as being culturally acceptable to Zimbabwe Anglicans.

Opponents of the bill disputed the arguments from Scripture and doctrine, and stated the arguments from pragmatism were baseless. Though the Church of England and other western churches had claimed women priests would bring new people to church, these claims had proven false in the light of history.

Bishop Fanuel Magangani of Northern Malawi told Anglican Ink there had been no foreign pressure on the delegates to pass the women priests measure and the issue had its supporters and opponents from all four countries represented: Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

However, he said he had voted against the motion because it was contrary to tradition. “Some of us are happy to maintain our roots without the idea of thinking that we know better than those who have gone before us over the years of the Christian faith. I believe that the Church fathers down to the Apostles taught and reserved the faith I would like to uphold. I feel satisfied with the way I received the teaching of the Church and that there is everything I need for my salvation without diluting it with my ideas.”

The motion fell short of the necessary two-thirds vote in the House of Laity with 14 yes to 10 no votes, and was defeated outright in the House of Clergy, 7 yes to 21 no votes, and in the House of Bishops, 6 yes to 9 no votes.

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