[ACNS Digest] A foundation named after the first woman to be ordained in the Anglican Communion is seeking to expand its geographic spread in its mission to support women training as priests, evangelists, youth and community workers, nurses, teachers and theological advisors in the Anglican Communion.
Dr Li Tim-Oi was already serving as a deacon in the the Macau Protestant Chapel when the Bishop of Victoria, Ronald Hall, irregularly – and controversially – ordained her as a priest on 25 January 1944. His actions were in response to a crisis among Anglican Christians in China caused by the Japanese invasion.
After the Second World War, Dr Tim-Oi resigned her license – but not her priestly orders; and was able to resume her ordained ministry 30 years later having moved to Canada, one of the first provinces of the Anglican Communion to ordain women to the priesthood.
The Li Tim-Oi Foundation was established in her memory in 1994 to enable Anglican women in the developing world receive support for training. In the past 26 years, the Foundation has given grants to over 500 women for training in a variety of ordained and lay roles.
Amongst them is Captain Liness Madalitso Machezo from the Diocese of Northern Malawi in the Anglican Church of Central Africa. “I graduated in Cross-Cultural Mission at Carlile College which has made me gain a lot of knowledge”, she said. “I understand the Bible more than I used to do and how to interpret the Gospel in relation to culture and behavior of the people whom I am meeting now. . .
“Here in Malawi, I have been carrying out evangelism activities with my fellow members within the Anglican Church and we have travelled to parishes in many remote places in the Northern Diocese of Malawi. My friends and I have visited many places by foot where even vehicles cannot pass in order to reach out these places. Of late, we visited another remote place, Usisya, which is easily accessible by boat.”
As Chair of the Church Army in Northern Malawi, Captain Machezo now works to establish new churches. “This brings hope and encouragement to my calling as an evangelist”, she said.
The women supported by the Foundation call themselves “the daughters of Li Tim-Oi”. The foundation is now seeking to expand its reach beyond its East Africa stronghold to Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and other places within the Communion.
“If you know of women who would benefit from support for training, please contact the Foundation, or pass on the contact details to the women or their bishops”, the Foundation’s Executive Secretary, Stephanie Lewis-Grey, said.