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Empowered Without Power

Women and Leadership in the Basel Mission and Presbyterian Church in Cameroon

by Michael Kpughe Lang

This book examines women's participation in the executive structures of the Basel Mission and Presbyterian Church in Cameroon in order to tell a new story of women and church leadership. In 1886, the Basel Mission commenced mission work in Cameroon and successfully established an indigenous church which gained independence in 1957 as Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC). In both churches, women were underrepresented in the echelons of power owing to entrenched patriarchy and recourse to controversial empowerment. Female missionaries to Cameroon trained women in fields like motherhood, domestic science and marriage, which yielded little or no opportunities for local women to participate in the power structures of the Basel Mission. This patriarchal culture was handed down to the PCC, whose initial all-male authority ensured that the power structure was all-male. But growing feminism within the church and pressure from international ecumenical partners led to timid gender reforms which ended women's exclusion from the ordained ministry, promoted female eldership, led to the establishment of a convent, and the adoption of a gender inclusive policy. But women's dearth in positions of leadership persisted, with most executive structures filled by men.

So, this book tells the story of women's involvement in the executive structures of the Basel Mission and Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. It is the first effort at a holistic approach to interpreting women's lack of power in these two churches. Based upon archival research and oral sources, the book tells the story of the people, forces and events that led to the consistent underrepresentation of women in the churches' echelons of power. The lived realities of women who challenged patriarchy and held leadership positions in the church are illuminated. It documents the reality of women's lack of power, with particular focus on the dilemmas of female pastors, elders, nuns, and female Christian groups.

ISBN 9789956551422 | 246 pages | 229 x 152mm | Colour Illustrations and Colour Photographs | 2020 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback




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