First woman bishop for India consecrated

The Church of South India has consecrated its first woman bishop. On 29 Sept 2013 the Rev. E. Pushpa Lalitha was consecrated Bishop in Nandyal in the Southern Indian state of Andhra Predesh.

On 25 Sept the CSI’s Synod Executive selected Bishop-elect Lalitha from among four candidates short listed by the diocese to succeed the Rt. Rev. P.J. Lawrence.

Bishop-elect Lalitha (57) was born in Diguvappad village in the Kurnool district of Andhra Predesh in Southern India. Educated at Andhra Christian Theological College, she was ordained a priest in 1984. A Telugu speaker, she ministered in several villages before serving as the director of Vishranthi Nilayam in Bangalore and as the administrative head of the CSI’s women fellowship.

In a statement released on her behalf by the CSI, Bishop-elect Lalitha said: “My parents had decided to dedicate me to the lord even before I was born, as they had already lost two sons. My life has been God’s mercy, and I wish to be his servant for life.”

Among her priorities is the empowerment of women. “Be it any institution, women are always given second-rung treatment. We need to change that by promoting values that teach us to not to discriminate and treat all humans the same.”

“I hail from a village and my parents sold their land to educate me. I want every girl from such a background to get the best education possible. Only education can change lives,” she said.

“As a priest, my primary responsibility was towards my congregation. As a bishop, the responsibilities are much more,” she said.

Women were first ordained for the Church of South India – a united church formed from the merger of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist and other Protestant denominations in 1947. The church at present has 110 women clergy.

2 Responses to "First woman bishop for India consecrated"

  1. Bishop James   27/11/2013 at 08:16

    Sadly, all this does is rend the already fragile Anglican Communion further apart.

  2. Revd Cliff Pooley   05/12/2013 at 16:20

    Congratulations to the CS on appointing Bishop Lalitha. Having spent time with the Sisters of the CSI at Vishranthi Nilayam in Bangalore, of which Bishop-elect Lalitha was previously director, I know what splendid work these sisters do to empower extremely disadvantaged women and girls and how literally sacrificial that work can be. This is wonderful news and I’m delighted that she has been chosen. She will have an incredibly difficult task but ‘well done’ the Church of South India for having the vision to appoint her. I’m praying for her ministry and that her appointment will encourage the inspirational sisters at Vishranthi in their mission.