First woman ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi

Rev. Bertha Godfrey Munkhondya is the first woman ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi. Photo: David Mang’enda/ALCINET
Rev. Bertha Godfrey Munkhondya is the first woman ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi. Photo: David Mang’enda/ALCINET

May her “ordination inspire girls and women to pursue theological education and respond to the call to ministry"

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) communion of churches celebrates the ordination of Rev. Bertha Godfrey Munkhondya, who became the first woman ordained to the ministry of word and sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) on 26 September 2021.  

In a congratulatory letter to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi and Rev. Munkhondya on behalf of the communion, LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge expressed gratitude for Munkhondya’s willingness to serve the church as an ordained minister and for the ELCM’s commitment to gender justice.  

“May Munkhondya’s ordination inspire girls and women to pursue theological education and respond to the call to ministry. Gender justice in the church and society is our shared commitment and our witness to the world,” Junge wrote.  

“The LWF communion congratulates the church for the commitment and support to both women and men in theological studies, and we pray that many more women will receive support and be called to the ordained ministry,” LWF leadership continued.

Bishop Dr Joseph P Bvumbwe and visiting pastors administer the rites of ordination to Munkhondya. Photo: David Mang’enda/ALCINET

 

Munkhondya, originally from Chisenga, Chitipa, Malawi, studied theology at the Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, Tanzania, and will serve as associate pastor of the ELCM Cathedral in Lilongwe.

Bishop Dr Joseph P Bvumbwe presided at the event and delegations from the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (representing the LWF Communion) women’s groups from the dioceses of ELCM, and state representatives participated in the ordination.  

“The ELCM took time before it ordained a female pastor but there is full acceptance of Rev. Munkhondya,” Bvumbwe said. “We ask for your prayers for our church and encourage churches that are still meditating or discerning the process of ordaining female pastors.” 

ELCM Women’s Conference greets Rev. Munkhondya. Photo: David Mang’enda/ALCINET

 

The ordination closed three days of the ELCM’s Women’s Conference being held in Lilongwe, Malawi last week. 

LWF/A.Gray

 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi has been an LWF member church since 1988, has 111,000 members and is affiliated with the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa and holds membership with the National Committee in Malawi.