This paper proposes that the ministry of ordained women within the Methodist
Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) has not fully integrated women, despite the
landmark decision of the MCSA Conference of 1972 to have women ordained
into the full ministry of the church. At that Methodist Conference of 1972, the
Methodist Church adopted a resolution to have women ordained into the ministry
of the church, and yet this has not been fully realised in the life of the MCSA.
Despite the fact that women form the majority of the people who come to church
on Sundays, they form a very small group within ministers’ ranks.
We will investigate the challenges within the MCSA that slow down its policy
on the ordination of women. The paper proposes the tools that can be used to
address the challenges with regard to the full acceptance of women ministers
within the MCSA. Furthermore, it investigates the organisational structure of the
Women’s Manyano as a means for women to protest against their exclusion
from full participation in the life and leadership of the church. Although what
women have learnt and practise within their own women organisation has not
infiltrated into the full life of the Methodist Church, they have become a force to
reckon with in the MCSA.
The paper traces the causes of the marginalisation of women within the
Methodist Church to patriarchal and cultural stereotypes that are determining the reading and understanding of the biblical text. Human nature is a condition
that needs to be checked regularly in order to remove those elements that are
human-made, self-serving and limiting. Some examples of psychological and
cultural elements are cited as a basis for reflection and a launch pad for women
empowerment, and for the transformation of the MCSA and its policy on the
ministry of ordained women.