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Ntumfor Halle Criticises Marginalisation Of Female Pastors 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

Women`s rights advocate, Ntumfor Barrister Nico halle, has criticised the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, PCC, and other main stream churches in the country for marginalising female pastors.

Ntumfor Halle, who is also the National President of the Christian Men Fellowship, CWF, made the criticism in a talk he delivered on March 12 at the annual conference of female pastors of PCC. The conference held in Douala from March 11-13, on the theme: "The ministry of the female pastors within the changing times of the PCC". Ntumfor Halle observed that while female Christians outnumber male, there are only70 female pastors in the PCC, while there are over 300 male pastors.

He observed that the documents of the PCC, including the Constitution, are not gender sensitive. Ntumfor Halle urged the authorities of the PCC to train more female pastors. He expressed hope that with PCC going through changing times as indicated in the theme of the conference, the new documents of the PCC will be gender sensitive.

"Strive To Assert Yourselves" 

Meanwhile, Barrister Halle challenged the female pastors to strive to assert themselves by making their impact felt in the Church. "Even if you were to be 1000 female pastors in the PCC today, and you do not strive to assert yourselves, your impact will still not be felt".

He said when there are financial improprieties and other serious wrong doings in the church or the society, the tendency is for female pastors to be afraid to speak out. He stressed that any pastor, no matter the sex, who does not denounce corruption, electoral fraud, or the pilfering of funds in his or her church, has no moral authority to talk about corruption and other vices in the society.

The women’s rights advocate also told the female pastors to strive to remain morally strong, and that as women they do have more responsibilities in working to transform the society.
Halle called on Female Pastors Conference of the PCC to take up the campaign for religious knowledge to be officially recognised as a major subject in Cameroonian schools and examinations. 

Ntumfor Nico Halle’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session during which the women pastors raised some serious issues they are facing in the Church. They, for example, said they suffer lots of intimidation from some male colleagues and church leaders. Some female pastors even complained about sexual harassment by some male members of their congregation.

 "We Want Change"

In a chat with The Post, the President of the Female Pastors Conference, Rev Mrs. Agnes Ngwa, of PC Ntaghem in Mezam Presbytery, admitted that female pastors are marginalised.  "Now that the PCC is supposedly going through changing times, we want to see a change with our situation. The Female Pastors Conference wants to see that female pastors are no longer left behind. Our male counterparts are the ones who are projected as pastors of PCC.

They are many of them and they are everywhere. We are not only few, but are being pushed behind". Rev Mrs. Ngwa also found some practices in the PCC which are not gender sensitive, thus promoting the marginalisation of female pastors. She disclosed for example that in a congregation or parish where there is a male and a female pastor, the tacit role is that the female pastor automatically is the associate pastor, while the male colleague is the parish pastor, and thus the boss.

 "Take my own case for example, that I am even the President of the Female Pastors Conference. I am an associate pastor. A times you even find a situation where a senior female pastor is an associate to a younger male colleague, the only reason being that she is female. Why can a female pastor not also be a parish pastor, and the male colleague being her associate? What is happening is very unfair, and the Female Pastors Conference wants a change".    

The President of the Female Pastors Conference said they were urging the authorities of the PCC to train more female pastors, as well as also appoint or promote female pastors to some high positions in the church.

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