'Women can serve flock well'
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 26: When she was ordained the first woman priest of a mainstream Christian Church in Kerala 21 years back, it was not without a bit of anxiety that Reverend Marathakavalli David took up clerical duties.
Now, when she looks back, she feels that she has been able to carry out the spiritual tasks entrusted to her by Trivandrum Diocese of the Church of South India (CSI) satisfactorily without centuries of male dominance posing any hurdles in her way.
Wife of a fellow priest and mother of two daughters, Marathakavalli even feels that she could address the spiritual and social problems of her parishioners far more sensitively and understandingly than many of her male counterparts.
“Women could be more compassionate and her soothing words and empathetic approach could give greater solace to those who suffer from physical and mental traumas”, says 59-year-old Marathakavalli. “When I look back to my clerical experiences of the last 21 years, I feel great satisfaction. When the synod of the church decided to ordain me, many in the church had doubts about the acceptability of a female priest. But I could prove such misgivings were wrong,” she told PTI.
A leading Protesant church of India, CSI was formed through unification of Anglican, Methodists, Presbyterian and Reformed Congregations in 1947.
Born at Neyyattinkara near here, Marathakavalli wanted to be a priest since her school days.
Apart from the disciplined and religious atmosphere of her home and the Bible classes she attended at the Sunday school, her acquaintance with Rev Haris, an aged parish priest, helped her nurture her hopes of becoming a priest.
“His (Rev Haris’s) selfless services influenced me a lot. I learnt the dignity and divinity of being a priest from him. I thought a priest could serve society better than anybody else,” she said.
She was also moved by the stories of Florence Nightingale, famed as the lady with the lamp for her services to the wounded, and William Carry, the missionary who preached the Gospel among the poor and needy in India.
“I was fortunate that my parents or relatives did not raise any objections when I revealed to them my plans. Luckily by the time I graduated from Kerala university, the United Christian Seminary here started a women batch for theological studies for the first time, though only four women turned up for it”, she recalled.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 27 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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