[Episcopal News Service] Six Anglican women bishops from Africa — collectively known as the “Africa Six — gathered Jan. 11 at St. Paul’s University in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss Christian leadership in the 21st century. The discussion was part of a retreat that took place Jan. 9-14 at the Anglican Church of Kenya’s St. Julian’s Centre in Limuru. The Episcopal Church’s Office of Global Partnerships co-sponsored the event with St. Paul’s.
The “Africa Six” includes Bishop Filemona Teta of Angola; Bishop Vicentia Kgabe of Lesotho; Bishop Dalcy Dlamini of Eswatini; Bishop Elizabeth Awut of South Sudan; Bishop Rose Okeno of Butere, Kenya; and Bishop Emily Onyango of Bondo, Kenya.
“It wasn’t and it will not be easy, but I believe that we have a God who can do everything for us,” Teta, the first woman bishop in Angola, said during the panel discussion. “We carry the flag of women.”
“Women leadership has provided the Church rich and diverse approaches of spreading the Gospel, inspiring hope and mentoring younger generations,” Kenya Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit wrote in a Facebook post. He officially commenced the gathering with a Eucharist celebration.
At the gathering, the “Africa Six” bishops shared their personal experiences as female bishops during a panel discussion that more than 500 people attended in person, according to a report by the World Council of Churches. On YouTube, 1,375 people watched the livestream.
Because Jan. 11, the day of the gathering, was on a Thursday, in-person participants wore black in observance of the Thursdays in Black campaign for a world free from sexual and gender-based violence.
The bishops also met students and faculty of St. Paul’s School of Theology and participated in a workshop at the Anglican Church of Kenya’s St. Julian’s Retreat Centre. The African Anglican Sisters in Leadership arranged the workshop for the bishops.
“Leadership is the one who goes through the fire to purify for those who come next, ” Kgabe said during the panel discussion while describing her perspective on leadership and service.
-Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.