Pakistan church ordains two women deacons

Published February 1, 2001

New Delhi

The Church of Pakistan has ordained two women deacons, despite civil court action by another church which believes that the Bible bans women as clergy.

The church, with a small number of Christian members among a vast majority of Moslems, is the first in Pakistan to open clergy ranks to women. The Church of Pakistan, which has about 800,000 members, is a united church inaugurated in 1970, bringing together Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and other Protestants.

“We have gone ahead with what we believe is right. We have made our commitment to it,” said Bishop Samuel Azariahs, moderator of the Church of Pakistan.

One of the new deacons is the bishop’s wife, Kushnud. Both women deacons have been working for the church as catechists.

“The mainline churches have no objection to it,” said Victor Azariahs, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Pakistan (NCCP).

The NCCP groups together the Church of Pakistan, the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, the Salvation Army and the Association of Reformed Presbyterian Churches.

The civil court action to block the ordinations was initiated by the moderator-secretary of the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, a breakaway church.

However, Mrs. Azariahs called the move to ordain women in an Islamic context “a bold step.”


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