Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chilean Baptists Ordain First Woman Pastor

While the ordination of women is pretty much a non-issue amongst moderate and progressive Baptists in the United States, it's still fairly uncommon and, in some instances, quite controversial amongst many (but certainly not all) Baptist groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. But that is beginning to change. On March 1st of this year, Margarita Campos--a Chilean Baptist--became the first Baptist woman to be ordained in Chile.

My colleague Mayra Giovanetti of Chile reports:
Women pastors from Central America, Chilean Mission’s leadership, and missionary colleagues came to Margarita’s ordination which marked a historic event in our Convention and the Baptist Church New Redeemer in San Bernardo that she pastors. Three of the guests were missionary colleagues Sheila Heneise, Mylinda Baits, and Magda Aguirre. Our local colleagues Dwight and Barbara Bolick were also present. Margarita rejoiced with all the love and prayers she felt from those physically present and those who sent her notes of encouragement and congratulations. You will read more on the 2008 Global Servants Guide.
Mylinda Baits, a fellow missionary from Costa Rica, adds:
The women in ministry in Chile have suffered under a strong gender preference in pastoral ministry, but are now seeing a new day and freedom to live out their callings, because of this one woman's patient perseverance to hold onto to God's truth and purpose for her life. Having not experienced such strong resistance in following our own callings, Ruth and I were surprised by how precious and significant the ability to speak God's Word and be heard was for our sisters in ministry who have had to struggle against structures and prejudices that want to silence instead of celebrate them. To see the joy expressed, the humbleness honored, and the truth told was a gift to each of us present. Not only were we privileged to be a part of a historical event, we were blessed to see God at work, breaking down barriers and building up the whole Body of Christ which is neither male nor female, but one in Christ.
This event does indeed signal the dawn of a new day for Chilean Baptist women. Congratulations, Margarita!

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