ELC-PNG has been strongly challenged to put aside cultural practices and emphasise more on women empowerment and participation at the leadership level of the church’s hierarchy.
This challenge was laid out yesterday by the Head Bishop of Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua Lutheran church of West Papua province, Rev Jemima Krey.
Rev Krey spoke through an interpreter, stressing that PNG like West Papua shared one landmass with similar Melanesian cultural norms and customs regarding women.
“Many of you who see me standing here might think, ‘how come a woman is the head bishop’,” she said through interpreter John Masoka.
“But I want to tell you that in Gereja Kristen Injuki (DKI) di Tanah Papua, we are trying very much to eliminate such cultural way of thinking, that is, no discrimination and to emphasise that
we are equal, both men and women,” Rev Krey said.
This was well received with a huge applause coming from all corners of the synod venue.
“We must realise that holding onto such customs can be of hindrance to God’s work in the church,” she reminded the 3,000-plus delegates, observers and spectators at the 27th National synod of ELC-PNG.
“As Melanesians, our culture is very strong, but we women must realise that throughout the world’s history, God has used many women to change societies, and women have had much impact on changes around the world,” she added.
Therefore, Rev Krey encouraged the women that “regardless of our customs being strong, God will break it one day, so despite all the hardships, you have to be strong.”
She also made mention of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed between ELC-PNG and DKI last October.
“This MoU has marked a milestone between us and we believe this synod will strengthen the MoU,” she said.
“We also have a big meeting like this one back home, however, we cancelled ours so that we could come to strengthen and show our support to this synod,” she explained.
Rev Krey represent 1,200 christains of DKI in West Papua and was accompanied by the general secretary for DKI di Tanah Papua Lutheran church Rev Ezekiel Rollo.