WOMEN IN MISSION / MINISTRY:
Women and the congregations and Community in India .
The attitude expressed towards women in the Hebrew communities is similar to the way in which women are treated in our country There are few outstanding women who are accepted as leaders in our nation. But the majority of women are discriminated against, treated as objects without privileges in the community. The social evils such as 'Sati', dowry with taboos, and laws of clean and 'unclean' inflicted upon women have put women at a total disadvantage in relation to men. The gospel has brought dignity and liberation for women who are victims of centuries of discrimination and oppression.
The Bible begins with the story of creation. According to Genesis 1:27, God created male and female in his own image. However within Judaism, Christianity and in most of the communities women have been given a secondary role. In the Bible we read about several women who have unique leadership to their people in times of crises and persecution. The Psalmist tells of a host of women who were ready to declare God's word, Jesus himself accepted the service of women who followed him. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in Sycar and led her to a conversion experience. She was the first woman to go and declare to her village people that Jesus was the Messiah they had expected. Mary Magdalene was the first person to meet the Lord after his resurrection. She told the disciples that Jesus is risen from the dead. St. Paul although has hard sayings against women in the Church in Corinth mentions several women as his co-workers in the ministry of the Lord, and as persons deserving respect from the congregations.Among the missionaries who came to our country there were many women who were teachers, doctors, nurses, evangelists, craft workers and technical instructors.With their encouragement and support many Indian women went to mission schools, received higher education and advanced training in different professions.
This enabled them to give leadership in the congregation and the nation. Serious attempts are being made within the congregation to give equal participation for women in the administrative positions at all levels. Women in our community are still being discriminated against and subjected to age old customs and practices, which suppress the participation of women. The Christian congregation has a prophetic role to play in this situation and demonstrate the liberative message of the gospel in the life of each congregation.
Towards transformation of the relationship between women and men:
(i) To ensure participation at all levels
(ii) To form women fellowships that become action groups for ensuring the rights of women in the community
(iii) To encourage women fellowships to take special interest in children's Christian nurture programme’s and help girls who drop out of school and college education.
Women's fellowship could arrange vocational guidance and help in placement of young people.
• Cases of dowry, oppression of women could be brought to the notice of the community, and measures taken to discipline the offenders, so that such things do not happen in future.
• Women could also be given training in management of their families on health, binging up children and assisting those who are unemployed, under-employed or seasonally employed.
• Co-operative programme’s can be undertaken by women's fellowships to get additional income for family needs.