Wesley’s Dream Realised in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa: The Ordination of Women Ministers
Keywords:Methodist church, John Wesley’s, woman ministers, missionary movement in South Africa, black women clergy
John Wesley’s famously adopted doctrine was the “priesthood of all believers.” This doctrine simply meant that the gospel message was or could not only be preached by a certain group of people, but that it was open to be preached by all who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. This was evident during the 18th century Methodist movement, when women were preachers and acknowledged by John Wesley himself. After John Wesley’s death in England, women were missing as both lay preachers and ordained ministers. The Methodist Church also established itself as one of the biggest denominations; however, it had no women ministers or lay preachers at the stage of its establishment. With constant changes, both in political and ecclesial contexts, there was a need for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) to adapt to these changes. This article will discuss the following: background to the women preachers and leaders in the Methodist movement of the 18th century; the advocacy of women ordination in the MCSA; the first white woman clergy; and the first black woman clergy in the MCSA. This would be followed by the influx of other women clergy in the church 40 years later.
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