What Does Mary-Anne Elizabeth Plaatjies-Van Huffel Have to Say to Silent Partners of the Reformed World?
Keywords:silent partners, ecclesial duties, liberated Reformed churches, unliberated Reformed churches, Reformed world, Plaatjies-Van Huffel
This article is a contribution to the Festschrift in honour of the late Mary-Anne Elizabeth Plaatjies-Van Huffel. The author is mindful of the sensitive nature of such writing, especially for her close and extended family members. However, all would agree that though she passed away on 19 May 2020, she still has something to say to women as silent partners. As part of commemorating her life, talents, achievements and contributions, this article specifically addresses the following question: What does Plaatjies-Van Huffel have to say to women who aspire to serve as leaders in the patriarchal Reformed world? I will defend in due course the notion that though she is deceased, she continues to speak. In addressing the question, this article is divided into four parts. The first part recounts her life with a special focus on her education and pastoral academic career. The second part identifies her sources for the practice of church law and church government. The third part comments on her ecclesial political duties in the patriarchal Reformed world, while the fourth part examines her understanding of the hermeneutical causes of challenges facing Christian women, particularly in their attempt to respond to their calling to lead the liberated and unliberated churches and society. The concluding part draws some of her important messages to women who aspire to serve as leaders in the patriarchal Reformed world, where patriarchy is defined as a social system that promotes hierarchies and awards economic, political, and social power to one group over others.
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