Saturday, 12 March 2011

On this day in 1994

On the 12th March 1994 the first women were ordained priests in the Church of England.

I was a mere 13 years old, a young female Christian for whom this news was joyous! I was confirmed at the tender age of 10 and took a full part in the life of the church. I was by this point, a member of the church choir, I had read lessons, and I had just started to lead intercessions under Dad's watchful gaze.

There had been a Deaconess in one of Dad's previous parishes, but I was too young to realise that these women were anything other than a usual part of parishes all over the country, or indeed to recognise the lack of ordained ministry for women.

By 1995, I was attending my first Eucharist celebrated by a woman. This woman was the Anglican chaplain at the Royal Berks Hospital, her husband was the Methodist chaplain. Dad had been invited to her first Eucharist and Mum and I also attended.

It was a wonderful occasion in that little college chapel. I felt the hairs on my back stand on end as she raised the Host during the consecration. I felt tears in my eyes as she gave us God's blessing. Words cannot fully explain how this felt for me, as a teenage girl, to be part of a Eucharist celebrated by a woman for the very first time, I cannot ever imagine how that would feel for the lady who presided.

In the car on the way home Dad turned to me and said "Now you could be a priest."

I have discovered today to my great joy that one of the ladies who was ordained on that glorious day in 1994 baptised our son in 2008. She is just one of the many wonderful priests, I have had the privilege to meet.  Male/Female the great ones are really great! God has given all these wonderful people a calling, male or female and I for one am so glad that they are all able to live out that calling within the Church of England.

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