Fabric of support
Congo Cloth Connection assists Congolese women, who are studying for the ministry in greater numbersBy Charlie Malembe and Nancy Myers Mennonite World Conference
TSHIKAPA, Congo — Women’s ordination is a miracle that “affirms our value as women in the church, especially in a culture that has treated women as objects,” says Theresa Tudiakuile.
The president of Mennonite women in her province, the 41-year-old mother of five has always felt “a silent voice” urging her to serve the Lord.
She has decided to answer God’s call by studying for the ministry.
She is not alone. Now that all three Mennonite conferences in the Democratic Republic of Congo ordain women, more are studying for the ministry.
North Americans have the opportunity to financially support their leadership development.
A cloth market in the exhibit hall of the Mennonite Church USA convention, July 1-5 in Phoenix, will fund scholarships for women preparing for ministry in Congo Mennonite Church.
The Congo Cloth Connection, a project of Michiana Friends of Congo, conducts African fabric markets to promote relationships between Mennonites in the United States and Congo. The project will give scholarship priority to women like those who attend the Kalonda Bible Institute in Tshikapa, founded by Mennonite missionaries in 1951.
The institute’s only female professor, Bercy Mundedi, will be among the first women ordained in Congo Mennonite Church this fall. Last summer, on the brink of its centennial celebration, the conference became the last of the country’s three Mennonite conferences to approve women’s ordination.
The Mennonite Brethren Church of Congo has been ordaining women since 2000. The Evangelical Mennonite Church of Congo followed suit last year.
Inspired by the Congo Mennonite Church decision, a number of women are seeking support for theological studies.
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