‘The Other Wing’ in African Christian Academia

Dr. Seblewengel Daniel , Executive Director, Women’s Commission, leading a workshop

Executive Director, Women’s Commission, WEA, Dr Seble Daniel participated in ACTEA and OCI hosted workshop in Kenya from April 22-26 where 35 theological schools from Africa were represented. The workshop aimed at seeing women flourish and reach their God-given potential in African theological institutions to the benefit of the Church.

Participants were Presidents of theological institutions and members of their team whom they selected as having the capacity to contribute to conversations over diversity, and on return to their school be able to influence the school community for more effective formation and equipping of the students for ministry.

There were guided discussions about the fast-paced growth of the church in Africa which has often come at the expense of deep personal roots in the faith and the Bible. One of the main challenges is the shortage of trained shepherds. It was noted that failing to utilize the gifts of women can be likened with a bird trying to fly with one wing. But for theological education to build the kingdom of God and support the church in its endeavours, it must utilize both wings to fly.

Deep discussions were held as to how institutions can become more mindful of the needs of women (the other wing) as they engage in theological education leadership. An example includes a broader understanding of leading and teaching that does not put pressure on women to imitate masculine styles. Upon presentation and discussion of survey data relating to female faculty in Theological Education in Africa, the benefits and challenges of diversity at theological institutions, both in leadership and in the classroom were considered. The participants also reflected on the role of policies, practices, and guidelines related to female faculty at theological institutions. The workshop highlighted that intentional investment on training and appointing women to positions of leadership as per their gifts is significant for a healthy church.