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A critical analysis of the factors that attract African women to conversion to Christian (1900-2000) with special reference to the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Diocese of Mt Kenya Central.

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Many books and articles have been written about the role of women in the Church by both local and foreign authors but I note with special interest, that the factors behind the preponderance of women over men in the Church have not been adequately highlighted. To me this is very important at this moment when we are celebrating 'a demographic shift in the centre of gravity of the Christian world with African Christianity being regarded as potentially the representative Christianity of the twenty-first Century'. The growth of Christianity in Africa as represented by the Church reflects a great disparity. Men dominate in leadership while women dominate in membership. Therefore the study seeks to investigate , examine and critically analyze the reasons for their conversion in order to build a balanced Christianity both in Church membership and leadership. The study was undertaken in the ACK diocese of Mt. Kenya Central and concentrated mainly on Murang'a district in the period between 1906-2000. Among other things the study was undertaken as a contribution to the emancipation of women in our African Churches. Chapter one is an introduction to the whole thesis . Included is the statement of the problem, the methodology used to collect data and the literature review. Chapter two examines Gikuyu myth of origin plus the place of women in traditional society. Chapter three investigates the role of women in the development of the ACK Diocese of Mt. Kenya Central with a special interest in the work of the CMS women missionaries and the MU. Chapter four is the major work of the study. Here we look at the dynamics of women converting into Christianity. A sample of four case histories have been analysed giving reasons as to why women embraced Christianity. This is followed successfully by a critical analysis of the specific reasons for women entering Church. It has singled out several reasons: first in the list is the quest for salvation and eternal life, pursuit for peace and search for identity among others. In Chapter five we have analysed our research findings using the feminist theretical framework of Carolyn Osiek. Chapter six is the summary and concluding remarks which sums up the main findings of the study. This chapter has concluded that Gikuyu women are attracted to Christianity mainly because of the Gikuyu patriarchal culture and the promise of emancipation preached by the Church. The same chapter has given several recommendations, which if followed can help bring equilibrium in the Church's leadership and membership.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2002.


Theses--Theology., Women--Conversion to Christianity., Kikuyu (African people)--Religious life and customs., Anglican Church of Kenya. Diocese of Mount Kenya Central., Women in the Church--Kenya.