Women ministry in the church at the grassroots level: a case study of the Anglican Church of Kenya in Ngiriambu Archdeaconry of the Diocese of Kirinyaga
This study focuses on the ministry of women in the Anglican Church of Kenya in Ngiriambu archdeaconry of the diocese of Kirinyaga. It informs that women's contribution and participation in the life of the church at the grassroots level is very important and has enabled it to stabilize. In many congregations there are more women than men and therefore their contribution is more than that of men. This study shows that in the bible women were involved in the church ministry right from its beginning. It has also traced their ministry in the history of the church. The research indicates how their ministry is diverse. There has been an effort by the church to support their ministry. However the study also reveals that in some cases their ministry is not fully recognized thus women face many challenges and hindrances. For a long time women have been discouraged to exercise their spiritual gifts fully due to different interpretations and understandings of the bible and cultural prejudices. Today, the ministry of women is evident in every sphere of the church. In the ACK diocese of Kirinyaga women are rendering an important service to the church. They are participating and contributing to both the physical and spiritual needs and the development of the church. Their ministry include being: leaders in vanous women church groups and congregations; evangelists; worship leaders; preaching; pastoral work; music; church ,stewardship and generosity; supporting the clergy; construction of churches, vicarages, . church halls, kitchens, nursery schools and dispensaries; weekly fellowships; singing in . choirs; teaching children in the Sunday school; advising the youth; hospitality; cleanliness; charity and social work. They are also serving as ordained clergy in the parishes. The church needs to identify, recognize and encourage women's spiritual gifts which enable them to fulfill these ministries. The research findings indicate that very few women are involved in the higher decision making bodies of the church. In considering the ministry of the church, gender should not be the determining factor but calling, competence and ability of the persons. Women should be empowered as well as men and equal opportunities for the ministry should be accorded to them without any discrimination.