First Female Anglican Bishop in East & Central Africa

Canon Emily Awino Onyango

Posted on: January 18, 2021 4:10 PM

The new Assistant Bishop of Bondo, the Right Revd Emily Awino Onyango
Photo Credit: Diocese of Bondo

The second woman to be ordained a priest in the Anglican Church of Kenya, Canon Emily Awino Onyango, has been appointed to serve as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Bondo. In doing so, she becomes the first female Anglican bishop in east and central Africa.

Bishop Emily’s appointment was unanimously approved by a Special Synod of the Diocese last Tuesday (12 September), which was presided over by the Bishop of Bondo, Professor David Kodia.

In a sermon drawn from Matthew 9: 35-37, the Bishop Emeritus of Maseno West, Dr Joseph Otieno Wasonga, urged Christians to pray to the Lord of Harvest for more workers with the right skills, resources and spirit to fulfil his purposes “as the harvest is plentiful but with few workers”.

Bishop Emily Onyango is a scholar and researcher and currently works as a senior lecturer at Saint Paul’s University, where she teaches Church History in the faculty of Theology. She is the chair of The Africa Centre for Biblical Equity (TACBE), a Langham scholar – one of the leading evangelical team of scholars and founder member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.

She obtained her doctorate from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom and worked under Professor J Lonsdale on the history of women’s Education in Kenya.

She obtained her Master’s Degree from the Asian Centre of Theological studies and a Bachelor of Divinity from Saint Paul’s United Theological College – the precursor to Saint Paul’s University.

Bishop Emily has been in ministry for over a decade, starting from the ministry of Children in the then Diocese of Maseno South. She was made a Deacon on 29 July 1984 and priested two years later in December 1986. In February 2018 she was appointed a Canon in Bondo Diocese.

Her teaching ministry started at Saint John’s School of Theology in Kokise, where she served as Academic Dean and acted as the Principal. She later moved to Saint Andrews Kabare and served as lecturer, Academic Dean and Vice Principal. From Saint Andrews Kabare she was appointed Lecturer and Dean of Students in 1999.

Bishop Emily’s Scholarship spans many areas within mission and church history. She has authored and edited several volumes and articles in different books and journals. Her books include For God and Humanity: 100 years of St. Paul’s United Theological College and Gender and Development: A History of Women’s Education in Kenya.

In her new role Bishop Emily will take on responsibility for the training of clergy, women’s ministry within the Church, and gender issues, including the empowerment of boys and girls; and tackling gender-based violence.

Episcopal News Service 24 February 2021