World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki receives Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship from Archbishop of Canterbury

Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki receives Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship from Archbishop of Canterbury

Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki receives Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship from Archbishop of Canterbury

Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki, director for Women, Gender and Youth at the All Africa Conference of Churches. Photo: Pauline Waithera/AACC

03 September 2020

Rev. Dr Lydia Mwaniki, director for Women, Gender and Youth at the All Africa Conference of Churches, has received the Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The award was presented for “her prayerful, post-colonial interpretation of the New Testament, astute advocacy of gender justice, and articulate joy in Christ, which have influenced church leaders and the education and hope of innumerable women throughout Africa.”

The award is one of the highest honors in the Anglican Communion, offered to people who have made exceptional contributions to church and society.

Mwaniki graduated with a PhD in New Testament studies and Gender from the University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa in 2011.

Mwaniki reflected that her advocacy for gender justice started when she was still in her mother’s womb. “My mother tells me that, one day, when she was splitting firewood, and she was expecting me as her second-born child, she prayed to God that, if I was a boy, she would dedicate me into God’s house to serve Him,” Mwaniki said. “But I was a girl, and in those days women were not being ordained. My mother really got somehow discouraged. She was happy to have a baby but it was not the right sex! Again, in my high school, I strongly felt that I needed to serve God freely.”

From there, Mwaniki went on to become a renowned gender expert, theologian, scholar—and an ordained minister in the Anglican Church of Kenya, Nairobi.

The Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship was first awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby in March 2016. It is named after Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1070 to 1089, who was a scholar and teacher.

All Africa Conference of Churches