African woman appointed dean of African cathedral

Dean Martha Deng Nhial is the first African women to serve as the dean of an African cathedral in the history of Christianity. She has been as the first dean of the Cathedral of St. Matthew, Diocese of Renk, Episcopal Church of Sudan.

The Rev. Lauren Stanley, appointed Episcopal missionary for the Diocese of Renk in Sudan writes on the blog at EGR:

A week after Dean Martha was installed, special prayers were offered at her home. Fifty women gathered to praise her, to praise the Church, and to thank God and the Church for lifting her up, and for her ability to lift all of us up in our lives.

Even before she became dean, Martha was a force to be reckoned with in Renk. She was a nurse, as well as a member and then leader of the Mothers Union here. When she walked through town, with a purposeful stride, everyone could see that she was a woman of strength… When Martha spoke, everyone listened, because they knew she was a woman of faith. When she became one of the first women priests ordained in Sudan, all applauded her for her courage.

Culturally, Sudan is still a land where women are expected to do certain kinds of work, none of which involve leadership. In the countryside, it is still not unusual to see the boys being educated while the girls are kept at home. In Renk, boys can pretty much roam the streets at will; girls, on the other hand, are kept under tighter supervision….

So to see Dean Martha being installed – to see her daughters weep at her service – to hear the women in town sing her praises and encourage her to greater heights for herself and beg her to lead them to greater heights – was awe-inspiring.

Forget the history.

Read more about The Rev. Martha Deng Nhial here.

Learn about the Diocese of Renk here.

Read the rest of Stanley’s account here.

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