By ACNS staff
The Church of South India has today appointed its first woman bishop.
The Revd Eggoni Pushpalalitha was ordained in 1983 and has most recently been a priest in the Diocese of Nadyal in Andhra Pradesh.
Her appointment comes only days after the Church of Ireland elected its first woman bishop, the Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.
Provincial Secretary of the Church of South India, Mani M. Philip confirmed that Miss Pushpalalitha had been appointed by the Synod Selection Board this afternoon.
“We have been ordaining women since 1976,” he told ACNS, adding that in its constitution, the province mandates that at least 25 per cent of all statutory bodies should be women.
Bishop-designate Pushpalalitha is expected to be installed on Monday 30 September.
One of the 38 Member Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Church of South India is a ‘united’ Church–the result of the union of churches of varying traditions Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed. It was inaugurated in September 1947.
“Her appointment (Eggoni Pushpalalitha) comes only days after the Church of Ireland elected its first woman bishop, the Revd Pat (Patricia) Storey as the new Bishop of Meath and Kildare.”
Being old enough to remember the historic Anglican split with the Church of South India, I am not surprised that this independent Church, with links to the world-wide Anglican Communion, should have made the decision to follow other parts of the Communion in calling a Woman into episcopal leadership.
Following on the decision in the Church in Wales (Anglican) to allow Women Bishops, and the Church of Ireland (also Anglican) to actually call its first Woman Bishop – without prejudice, but with the prospect of a voluntary ‘code of practice, that would allow a woman diocesan to make provision for those in her diocese opposed to her ministry – I would be surprised if the upcoming Church of England General Synod were to make any other decision. When Churches in the Third World are disposed to harness the undoubted gifts of women’s leadership in their polity and administration, it would seem to be a backward step for the C. of E. to do any other – and without having to provide a legislative measure to appease opponents of Women’s Ministry.