Malaysian partner

Published June 1, 2001

Judy Berinai, Asian theologian and teacher.

JUDY BERINAI, the only woman among the three international partners invited to General Synod in July, is a mix of controdictions: a Malaysian, trilingual indigenous theology teacher and advocate for female leadership in the church from one of the communion’s most conservative provinces, Southeast Asia.

(International partners are invited to each General Synod to provide outside perspective and commentary.)

Ms. Berinai, 39, graduated from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto in 1997 with a M.Th. after earning a B. Div. at Trinity Theological College, Singapore in 1991. Between the two degrees she taught in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for six years.

Dr. Andrea Mann, regional mission coordinator for Asia and the Pacific for General Synod, described her as a “quiet advocate for women’s leadership in the church.” Ms. Berinai teaches at the Sabah Theological Seminary in the north of Borneo.

The Anglican province of Southeast Asia does not ordain women, and made headlines in March last year when Moses Tay, the province’s then-bishop, along with Emmanuel Kolini, archbishop of Rwanda, consecrated two U.S. priests in Singapore for service in the United States.

The move was justified as an attempt to halt the continuing exodus of unhappy conservatives from what they perceive as an overly-liberal U.S. Episcopal Church.

Ms. Berinai is the only Anglican and the only (and expert) Malaysia speaker at the Sabah seminary. She teaches New Testament studies, pastoral counseling and Christian education.

Women in the province of Southeast Asia are excluded from seats of power. Ms. Mann said Ms. Berinai’s understanding of the need for healing and reconciliation with indigenous people has increased through her three-year involvement as a member of the Partners in Mission Standing Committee of General Synod.


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