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Treat Church like business. African bishop said proper governance key to stability of religious organisation

Published:Monday | October 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Reverend Ellinah Wam-ukoya, bishop of Swaziland in Africa, has called for the Church to take a businesslike approach to the administration of its affairs.

Wamukoya, who was the guest speaker at a celebratory banquet to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women as deacons and priests in the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Friday, said "the Church should be governed like a corporate business.

"It is not a free for all, there must be accountability in the Church," she declared.

"As someone with experience in governance, finance and business, I see where my skills have come in handy and very useful, and I am of the belief that persons who possess these credentials are needed. It should not be seen as a strange phenomenon when persons from the corporate world are included in the Church, as this is an avenue through which the house of God can be enhanced and the people of God can be empowered," the bishop said.

First female elected bishop

Wamukoya, who is the first woman to be elected as a bishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and of the whole African continent, as the diocesan bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Swaziland, also called on women to be more instrumental in letting their voices be heard.

"As women, we have something to contribute to the Church, even though we hear many stories where females are still being shut out in our churches today. However, we must start to acknowledge the pain of ignored talents in Christ and come together to address it," Wamukoya said.

"We are free and no longer entangled to Church doctrines and traditions. God has bestowed upon us an awesome responsibility, which is to change the world. It's not an easy task but it is a huge part of our mandate as Christians. It is more blessing to give than to receive. Let us go out there and give, give and give," she charged.

Similarly, the Right Reverend Dr Howard Gregory, lord bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, said that more work needs to be done to develop the skills of women in the Church.

"People still struggle with women being their leaders and it is very much alive in the Church. We have made strides, which is commendable, but as we advocate for equality in our country, we have to begin in the house of God and be an example to the rest of the world," he said.