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Updated: September 28, 2013 10:40 IST

CSI appoints woman as bishop

Vasudha Venugopal
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New Bishop Rev Pushpa Lalitha Nandyal
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New Bishop Rev Pushpa Lalitha Nandyal

Eggoni Pushpa Lalitha becomes bishop of Nandyal in a first for a mainstream church in India

In a first for a mainstream church in India, a woman has been made the bishop of a diocese. Fifty-seven-year-old Eggoni Pushpa Lalitha is the Chennai-headquartered Church of South India’s new bishop of Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh. 

Born in Diguvappad village in Kurnool district, Rev. Pushpa Lalitha was ordained a priest in 1984. She holds degrees in economics and divinity from the Andhra Christian Theological College. She was also the director of Vishranthi Nilayam in Bangalore and the administrative head of the CSI’s women fellowship.

 “My parents had decided to dedicate me to the lord even before I was born, as they had already lost two sons. My life has been God’s mercy, and I wish to be his servant for life,” she said. She added that she had decided to be a nun when she entered college.

Rev. Pushpa Lalitha has worked in several villages in south India, and wishes to strive towards improving the state of women in the church.

“Be it any institution, women are always given second-rung treatment. We need to change that by promoting values that teach us to not to discriminate and treat all humans the same.”

“I hail from a village and my parents sold their land to educate me. I want every girl from such a background to get the best education possible. Only education can change lives,” she said. As a bishop, Rev. Lalitha said she would look into the affairs of the educational, welfare, spiritual and cultural activities of the church.

“As a priest, my primary responsibility was towards my congregation. As a bishop, the responsibilities are much more,” she said.

The bishop selection committee constituted by the CSI Synod Executive met in Chennai on Wednesday after interviewing four candidates elected by the Diocesan Council of the Nandyal Diocese.

The Church of South India was inaugurated in September 27, 1947, and is the union of Anglican, Methodist, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches.

One of the 38 Member Churches of the Anglican Communion, it has nearly 4.3 million members in 15,000 parishes spread over 22 dioceses in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Sri Lanka.

It was only a few days ago that the Church of Ireland elected Pat Storey — a mother of two — as the bishop of Meath and Kildare, the first woman to hold the position in that country. Women already serve as Anglican bishops in countries such as New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

However, such moves have been opposed by Anglican churches in many other countries. Churches such as the Catholic Church do not permit women to serve as priests.

CSI general secretary Mani M. Philip said they have been working to bring in many reforms which will get more women involved in the church hierarchy.

“The appointment of a female bishop will empower women,” he said, adding that the CSI already had around 110 women priests. One-fourth of the members of the governing committees of the church, diocese and senate should be women, he added.

your comments are out of context! The article is about an installation of a woman bishop for the first time in an Indian church. What has this got to do with "Indians respecting other Indians" and "second independence movement". I'm wondering whether the world is spinning too fast for you!

from:  Dinakaran
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 23:58 IST

good to see kirubakaran's comment. If god has indeed established the whole world, he will never favour only one particular place to send his messengers. Its time that Indians learn to respect Indians and india's value and culture. We need a second independence movement.

from:  raser
Posted on: Sep 28, 2013 at 15:19 IST

may GOD bless u to run the christian institution without any discrimination in the name of caste and religion. May god grant power to resist evils and save the churches from the iron hands of rowdies. may GOD give U wisdom not to interfere politics and support only parties which strengthen the indian unity without out corruption and other rights enshrined in the constitution.

from:  kennedy
Posted on: Sep 28, 2013 at 10:09 IST

Hope she will be a succesful shepherd of the flock.The CSI is in a mess and according to police report more than half of the bishops are supposed to be behind bars for corruption and land grabbing.

from:  kirubakaran
Posted on: Sep 28, 2013 at 07:21 IST
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