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By Godfrey Olukya
VOL African Correspondent
March 29, 2021

At last, the first female Bishop for Anglican Church of Kenya has been consecrated.

On March 27th 2021, a female priest in the Anglican Church of Kenya realized her childhood dream of being one of the first women leaders in the church.

That priest is none other than the Rev. Canon Dr. Emily A. Onyango. She became the first female bishop for Anglican Church of Kenya. She has also become the first assistant Bishop of Bondo who will assist the Rt. Rev. David H. Kodia, Bishop of Bondo, in clergy training.

Emily Onyango, 59 said that her accomplishment did not come easily, giving an example of when she joined St Paul's United Theological College for a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. She said that some men made fun of them that they were supposed to do sciences and not theology.

She described her consecration and enthronement as the first woman assistant Bishop of Bondo diocese as something that was always meant to be. She said "It all began in my younger days when I was brought up in a Christian family and I was convinced that it was the path meant for me."

Even after being selected to become a bishop, six lay synod members in the Diocese of Bondo filed a petition with the Kenyan Church's primate, the Most Rev. Jackson Ole Sapit, objecting to her consecration. They alleged that the appointment process was unprocedural and in complete disregard of canon and civil law.

The petitioners also claimed that the diocese cannot afford to pay the new bishop, as contributions to the diocese by parishes are in arrears by 13 million Kenyan shillings (about $120,000), and some parish vicars have received no salaries in over a year.

At the consecration ceremony Bishop Onyango told her male counterparts; "We now have a purple blouse in the house of Bishops. I am happy that as I teach church history, I am making history. I am one of you."

She said that Church leaders must approach ministry holistically and that since ministry is dynamic, they need to leverage technology to address teenage pregnancy, mental health and pastoral care as they mobilize resources internally and externally.

"Now it will be easier for women. We have several women in ministry today, but few know where it all started. '' she said.

She refuted allegations made by her enemies that her appointment as woman Bishop would be costly to the Church. She said, Many Christians were worried that the office will need a bishop's car and other things, but I want to tell you that my mission is to serve God.''

One of the senior Anglicans in Kenya, Paul Oundo said; "Her consecration is a good development in our Church. We should all support her for the good of our Church."

Following the 1978 Lambeth Conference, which stated that ordination of women need not be a communion dividing issue, the Anglican Church of Kenya permitted women to join the episcopate in 1980.


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