Rose Muingnepe

Rose Muingnepe (1960- ), first woman to chair the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches (PNGCC). Born into a Lutheran family in the village of Onimogoma, in the highlands, and educated at a local primary school and Kerowagi boarding school she worked as a clerk in the Bureau of Management Services at Kundiawa before being transferred to Port Moresby. There she became closely involved with the work of the Good Shepherd Lutheran congregation at Koki. In 1980 Muingnepe made a strong personal commitment to devote her life to serving God. Shortly after this she was admitted to the Martin Luther Seminary at Lae to undertake a three-year certificate course in Theological Studies. (At that time women were not accepted in the six-year theological degree course and some Lutherans thought that they should not be admitted to the certificate course.)

In 1984 Muingnepe was chosen by the PNG Lutheran Church Council as a delegate to an international women’s convention in the United States. In 1985 she became a parish worker at Koki and coordinator of women’s work, and in 1986 she was elected chairperson of the Melanesian Council of Churches Women’s Committee. From 1987 to 1989 she worked with a Lutheran woman pastor in Ohio, United States, where her husband was studying. On her return she became Warden of Women Students at UPNG. In 1990 she represented the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG on the executive of the Melanesian Council of Churches. This prestigious body, which in 1991 changed its name to the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches (PNGCC), includes representatives of seven major churches. In March 1991 Muingnepe was elected, and in 1992 and 1993 reelected, as chairperson of the Council.

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