Celebrating Women's Ministry

In 2019, there are some significant anniversaries for women in ministry.

It is 25 years since the first women were ordained as priests in the Church of England and 50 years since women were admitted to the non-ordained office of Lay Reader.

To celebrate the ministry of women in all its forms, we're sharing a series of blogs and authored pieces throughout the autumn: from women who were among the first to be ordained; from women serving God and their communities in a variety of forms today; and, to those who are connected with supporting women's ministry in the Church.

Interested in exploring how God might be calling you? Visit our vocation pages here

Anne's Story

"My words, ‘These days, I need to remember that I’m a bit of a “Has-Been”!’ are guaranteed to elicit the fierce response from my husband , ‘That’s not true!

When in comes to thinking of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood, I feel I’m sitting in the ‘Has-been, Forget-it Bin’. After all, what is there to celebrate? Women are now firmly established and respected in most church circles. Aged 81, I’m delighted to have lived long enough to see women bishops becoming the norm. You don’t celebrate ‘normal’ – or do you?

It wasn’t always like this.

Read more here

 

Jean's Story

“I had been waiting for almost seven years between being deaconed and then being priested, but in reality I had waited many, many years for the fulfilling of God’s call on my life into full ordained ministry.

Waiting had become the norm, frustrations had long been left behind in a gentle ripple of injustice that somehow sat patiently alongside the waiting.

I can remember at the priest’s retreat being shown how to hold my hands at the altar as if in all those years of waiting I might not have noticed such things.

I can remember at the priest’s retreat being shown how to hold my hands at the altar as if in all those years of waiting I might not have noticed such things.

Anyway, a fine male priest showed us, but as a woman how would I embody priestly presence at the table?

Over the years that which I guess had already been in took form.

On the day itself the stole which I had warn as a deacon fastened by a press stud was simply opened up and again I waited and heard amazing cheering and celebration from behind me.

Later I was to preside at Holy Communion at St Marks Gillingham with Bishop Colin Buchanan alongside (no pressure). I took the loaf - yes a whole loaf - and held it up to God, broke it and waited and waited ...and the sky didn't fall in, the end of the world did not happen and I found myself crying to God.

“For this, it was just for this moment O Lord all that waiting”.

Ever since, more than any other priestly act it is this moment of bread broken that always restores my soul."

 




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