Women priests celebrated in Canterbury Cathedral

First published on: 17th May 2024

Bishop Rose presided over a special service held at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 11 May marking the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women to priesthood in our diocese.

All ordained women in our diocese were invited to wear their robes and process, with other major roles in the service carried out by women, from the girls’ choir to the women verger team.

Precentor of Canterbury Cathedral, Revd Wendy Dalrymple said: “As we were putting the service together, we were paying careful attention to our words and our liturgy, and the serving women priests of our diocese were invited to send us their lament, their hopes and their joys attached to their ordained ministry, and we tried to weave those words and the sentiment of their emotions through the prayers and the music.”

Revd Wendy helped to put the service together alongside the Bishop’s Adviser for Women’s Ministry, Revd Canon Estella Last. She said: “We still need to be quite intentional about how we ensure that women’s vocations are recognised and discerned, and women are given the opportunity to thrive and flourish in ministry.”

On 7 May 1994, the first women in our diocese were ordained priest by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, Dr George Carey.

Those in attendance for this year’s anniversary service included women who were ordained in 1994, including Revd Canon Eileen Routh, now a PTO in the Canterbury Deanery. Speaking after the service, she said: “It was good that we were able to look back as well and hear the pain from the past, but also to look to the future more positively and to see also the important steps that the church has taken.”

Revd Ros Parrett, now PTO in the Ospringe Deanery, also attended having been ordained in 1994. She said: “Today was joyful but also tinged with sadness, thinking of those who are no longer with us who’ve been serving during those 30 years.

“But so good to see the younger women priests as well.”

Revd Cathrine Ngangira attended the service, having been licensed as priest-in-charge of Boughton-under-Blean with Dunkirk, Goodnestone, with Graveney and Hernhill in 2023. She said: “It’s, I think, a reminder of how the journey is not easy, but also for me a reminder that maybe we are not yet there because some parts of the Communion are still also lagging behind.”

Bishop Rose appeared on BBC South East ahead of the service and spoke of how “there was also a lot of hope” when the vote passed to allow women to be ordained in 1992, and that she wants “to shout from the roof: the church is still standing”.

Page last updated: Friday 17th May 2024 1:28 PM
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