By GABRIEL LAHOC
A GROUP of Lutheran women from Indonesia’s Papua province, on a goodwill exchange programme, are currently interacting with Lutheran women in Lae through exchange programmes.
Representing Lutherans in Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua Lutheran church of West Papua province, the 29 women-member delegation’s first visit is the fruit of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Evangelical Lutheran church (ELC) and their church in Indonesia.
This was followed by the visit of their head bishop Rev Jemima Krey who attended the PNG-ELC 27th Synod last week.
According to co-ordinator Rev Grace Monim, who is one of the eight female pastors in the group, the visit is to strengthened women in Papua New Guinea through exchange of skills and ideas, and importantly to break the Melanesian culture of male dominance in order to see local women standing at the pulpit one day
to teach the gospel of Christ.
“We are very happy to be here, and we want to see women pastors serving PNG.
“It’s not a process to be rushed, but we are hoping it would be recognised eventually,” said Rev Monim, through translater John Masoka.
The group’s first official visit was with mothers from the 16 Lutheran parishes in Lae Circuit yesterday, who converged at the small Kaisa Parish in Bumayong where the day started with a church service.
Women beauty treatment, different cooking recipes with the same local food, art and crafts and ideas were shared by the visiting delegates to the local women.
The exchange of programmes saw much excitement attracting the male parishioners and children to observe.
The group with 20 mothers, a young male university student, and 2 journalists will spend three days in Lae, before traveling to Madang on Thursday where they will interact with the local Lutheran women for another three days.
Local mothers praised the visit, describing it as an eye opener for them to see their “meri wantok” doing the impossible.