In 2013, Bishop Pushpa, from the Church of South India, became the first woman to be ordained a bishop in South Asia. (The nine other candidates considered for this post were all male.) Her consecration was a remarkable celebration involving over 6,000 people and marking a new era in the history of the Church of South India. Reflecting on the significance of her appointment, Bishop Pushpa speaks of how her consecration bore witness to the equality of women with men and of how all things are possible with God.
Her rise to become the first female Bishop in South Asia hasn’t been an easy or quick journey for her.
Born into an agricultural, multi-faith village, as a woman and a dalit (untouchable) it was never expected that she could become anything of note, never mind a bishop. Indeed her parents cried when she decided to join the priesthood. She didn’t let this hold her back though- inspired by the ‘bible women’ who set up the school she attended and respected everyone regardless of caste or creed, she says ‘I wanted to be like them, to give a new life to the people who are oppressed and those who are needy.’
Bishop Pushpa is an engaging speaker, with a fascinating life story and perspective on global issues and gender equality and interfaith relations. She has worked at Selly Oak in Birmingham, Jamaica and also India.