Methodists Elect First Woman Presiding Bishop

Rev Purity Malinga

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa is celebrating with jubilation and thanksgiving, the election of Rev Purity Malinga as Presiding Bishop who will succeed Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa.

Having endured the cross and discrimination of patriarchy for over 200 years, women of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) have finally broken through the stained glass ceiling by the election of the first Presiding Bishop who is a woman.

Malinga was a few hours ago, elected in the first ballot, by the 12 Synods of the MCSA that are meeting across Southern Africa representing a membership of this three million strong denomination that spans 6 countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa. She will take over the reins from Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa who is serving his third term.

Bishop Siwa on hearing the news of the election said: “Rev Malinga is a tried and tested leader and we rejoice in her election as Presiding Bishop. This decision of the church affirms our belief in the partnership of women and men – and affirms our knowledge and belief in black women in particular- as capable leaders in their own right.”

A trailblazer, Malinga was the first and to date, only Synod Bishop ever elected in the MCSA and she served in that position for two terms between 1998 and 2008.

Born and raised in the small rural town of Ixopo, Rev Purity Malinga initially trained as a teacher and taught at Siyakhona Primary School, Ixopo for five years before she entered the ministry in 1981.

Malinga holds a Masters of Divinity from Harvard University (1992) and she previously served as the Deputy President of the South African Council of Churches, the Chairperson of the KZN Council of Churches, a member of the Diakonia Council of Churches and also a lecturer at the Federal Theological Seminary and John Wesley College.

She has been serving the Methodist Church as the Director of Education Mission and Ministry Unit for the last 3 years.

The Church, it’s Ministers and Members pray God’s grace upon Rev Malinga and offer her our wholehearted support.

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Statement released on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, Rev Zipho Siwa, on 17 May 2019, by The Methodist Church of Southern Africa.