Rev Anna Receiving Bible after Ordination

On 30 May 2021 Rev. Anna Samwel Bochoke was ordained as the first female pastor in The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania Diocese Mara in the Mara region (ELCT- DMA). ELCT-DMA Bishop Michael Adam officiated.  

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) began ordaining female theologians in 1990 and today there are nearly 300 female ordained pastors in the ELCT.

Attendees to the ordination service of Rev. Bochoke and five other male ordinands included, ELCT-Deputy Secretary General for Social Services, Women and Children ministries, Rev. Rachel Axwesso who was accompanied by Ms. Faustina Nillan ELCT’s Women’s Work Director. Many female pastors and theologians from other dioceses joined ELCT-DMA pastors, and members of the congregations at the worship service and celebrations.

In reference to those who remain skeptical about female participation in ordained ministry, Bishop Emeritus Elisa Buberwa of the ELCT-Northwestern diocese preached that, “some rejoice now, and some will come to rejoice later.”

Ms. Faustina Nillan ELCT’s Women and Children Director added that it was a milestone that took a long time becoming a reality in the ELCT-DMA. Nillan said, “this increased the dignity of women and changed the narrative towards women ordination” in the ELCT-Diocese in Mara.

Most participants were very happy and grateful to see the Mara Diocese moving forward with female ordination despite many social and economic challenges it faces.

The ELCT-DMA continues to invite more women to study theology aiming toward ordination as pastors and asked other diocese to send female pastors to accompany future female theologians during this beginning.

Rev. Bochoke was born 8 July 1996 at Mugumu in Mara Region. She is the first born of six children to Rev. Samwel Bochoke Mchanake and Ms. Elizabeth Daudi Nyangachani.

She was baptized 8 September 1996 in Burungu-Mugumu Parish and received confirmation on 13 December 2009 in Tarime Parish.

Rev. Bochoke is a graduate of the Samaritan Technical Secondary School run by ELCT-DMA. Her formal biblical studies began at Kiabakari Bible School in 2015-2017 where she earned a certificate in parish work and evangelism. Rev. Bochoke began her theological studies at Nyakato Theological College and graduated in August 2020.

Rev. Anna Samweli Bochoke and the five other pastors ordained with her are awaiting parish assignments.

By Erick K. Adolph/ELCT