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Celebrating 30 years of women priests

Published: 21st June 2024

Female clergy from across the diocese in Pershore Abbey with Bishop JohnPeople from across the Diocese including lots of our female clergy, gathered in Pershore Abbey yesterday evening to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ordination of the first women as priests.

In 1994, 22 women were ordained in our diocese to serve in parishes across Worcestershire and Dudley.  Some of those pioneers were be guests of honour at the service alongside the many women who have been ordained since and all those who have supported them along the way.

The service was led by Becky Elliot, Dean of Women’s Ministry and Claire Lording, Vicar of Pershore with Pinvin, Wick & Birlingham. Bishop John preached with Archdeacon Nikki leading the prayers. The bells were rung to celebrate the start of the service by an all female ringing team!Becky Elliot standing between Jayne Parker & Andi Jones as they discuss the ministry of women at Pershore Abbey

During the service, there was a conversation between Andi Jones, who was ordained in the Cathedral in 1994 and Jayne Parker who is curate in Pershore and will be ordained Priest next week. Andi said: “Many people campaigned tirelessly for many years to enable women to be ordained Priest. I want to thank them for opening the doors, it has been a privilege and a joy to serve the Lord in such a special way.”

Jayne said: “Being able to preside at the Eucharist after my priestly ordination next week will be the biggest privilege ever! I’m so grateful to be able to have the opportunity to do that.”Bishop John preaching in Pershore Abbey

Bishop John said: “My life, the Church and our society has been enriched by the ministry of women. I want to pay tribute to all those who worked so hard to enable the calling of so many women to be fulfilled and say thank you to those present and all who are serving in our diocese today. The ordination of women as priests has brought a huge number of blessings – thanks be to God!”Bishop John standing with Becky Elliot as Jayne Parker and Andi Jones cut a big cake.

The celebrations continued after the service with the chance to enjoy a glass of Cava and a piece of cake, which had been especially made for the occasion.

Page last updated: Friday 21st June 2024 9:26 AM

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