Tanzania’s Diocese of Tabora unanimously votes to ordain women

Posted Jun 21, 2024

[Anglican Communion News Service] The 12th Synod of the Diocese of Tabora in the Anglican Church of Tanzania unanimously voted on June 18 to accept the ordination of women priests. This action will make it the eighth diocese out of 28 in Tanzania to have women priests. For the last 30 years, the synod agenda has discussed women’s ordination, but it has not passed.

The Rt. Rev. Elias Chakupewa, bishop of the Diocese of Tabora, could not hide his joy as he spoke of this momentous vote. He said, “It has been 30 years coming. People are now ready to accept the ordination of women. These days, most people in our churches are women. Some don’t feel comfortable to be served by men. They can now be themselves and free to be served by fellow women.”

He recalled that when the vote was received, “There was joy and clapping. The entire room was filled with joy. During previous synods it was mostly the clergy who were against it. Not the laity. I have spent a lot of time talking to clergy about the importance of ordaining women. They have come to understand,” he said.

The first cohort of women will be ordained on Aug. 4.  The other dioceses in Tanzania that are ordaining women are Central Tanganyika, Morogoro, Kondoa, Mpwapwa, Kiteto, Mara and Rift Valley.

The diocesan synod were joined by the Rt. Rev. Brian Burgess and his wife, Denise, from the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. The dioceses are in a companion relationship.