The Rev. Jean Mweningoma planned and led a two-week training session for 20 women in the Diocese of Buye in Burundi. He collaborated with three other priests for the project, which included developing the syllabus and recruiting participants by visiting parish priests. Topics addressed during the training included an introduction to Biblical content, worship leadership (reading, preaching, and leading worship), teaching the catechism and community evangelism.
The possibility for women to respond to discernment was discussed throughout the training and was reinforced by Bishop Sixbert Macumi, who visited the group during training. He challenged the participants to overcome their fear of traditional beliefs, commissioned them to serve in their parishes, and stated that the Diocese is open to women pursuing ordination.
Fr. Mweningoma believes that he has the support of clergy and the Bishop to engage women in ministry, and that the women responded positively to the call for service. Through his grant work he has seen the responsibility to encourage others in ministry affirmed, and he appreciates what the women’s gifts will bring to the life of the church. He also began to think of an evangelism strategy of reaching out to people in their homes, rather than waiting for them to come to church; he believes that the women evangelists are uniquely equipped to do this. He wants to remain connected to the program participants and to offer follow-up training to them.