Church of North India welcomes first woman bishop

by Cheon Young Cheol

The Church of North India celebrated a milestone on 20 May as it welcomed its first woman bishop since its inception in 1970. Rt Rev. Violet Nayak, 55, was elected as the bishop of the Church of North India at the Full Episcopal Election Meeting for the Diocese of Phulbani. The Church of North India currently maintains 27 dioceses across India.

Nayak was consecrated the following day in a ceremony led by Most Rev. B. K. Nayak, moderator of the Church of North India, at the Cathedral Church of Redemption in New Delhi. The consecration, also attended by other bishops, showcased a progressive and evolving view of leadership adopted by the Church of North India and heralds a big step towards inclusivity and representation in its ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Nayak’s appointment is seen as a culmination of years of local activism pushing for more women to be ordained and placed in leadership roles in the region’s churches.

Ordained as a presbyter in the Diocese of Phulbani on 22 September 2001, Nayak brings with her 23 years of experience in ordained ministry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in divinity from the Senate of Serampore College (University).

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