The Place of Women in Selected African Pentecostal Churches in Limuru Sub-County Kiambu County, Kenya
Migwi, Joseph Maina
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This study investigated the positioning of women in three African Pentecostal churches in Limuru Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya. It was noted that Pentecostals belief in democratization of charisma because all Pentecostal members have the possibility of possessing spiritual gifts such as those of leadership; however, the three selected indigenous Pentecostal churches were officially denying women administrative church leadership positions. The objective of the study was thus to assess this positioning of women, the informing factors and ways that could enhance women inclusion in administrative church leadership. A theoretical framework made of social construction theory and engendering cultural hermeneutics theory was utilized. The study was done through a mixed method, that is, qualitative and quantitative approaches were concurrently used to collect and analyze data and both findings corroborated to draw valid conclusion. Purposive sampling method was used to select 60 church leaders while random sampling method was used to select 184 lay congregations. The study was conducted through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, participant observation and closed-ended questionnaires. Findings were presented in forms of narratives, figures and percentages that were cross tabulated. The findings showed that although women were spiritually gifted, they were concentrated in the low cadres of the churches under study. This positioning had been occasioned by limited understanding of Pentecostal gender ideology, literal interpretation of scripture, influence of traditional Gikuyu culture and lack of theological training. It was deemed necessary that members of the churches under study acquired theological education. This was in order for them to understand their identity and hence the Pentecostal beliefs, critical approaches to the Bible and the need for self-criticism. Some of the study recommendations include among others, that the churches under study utilize grammatical-historical method in interpreting the biblical texts used to position women and further do a critical analysis of the biblical and Gikuyu cultures. The study hoped that through these and others women marginalization would be deconstructed and the churches would empower women. Suggestions were made that further study could be done on other areas such as the history of these churches, their salvation doctrine and their spiritual healing methods.