Celebration for 30 years of women being ordained to priestly ministry

17th June 2024



On Saturday, 15 June 2024, a  Sung Eucharist service was held to mark the 30 year anniversary of the priestly ministry of women in the CofE. The well attended, and live streamed, service began with a short address from Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, including special reference to CofEB trail-blazer women who were among the first priested, many of whom were in attendance at the service.

The Revd Eve Pitts read the Old Testament reading, and then a hymn sung at the Ordination of Priests on 21 May 1994 at Birmingham Cathedral,  followed. Deacon, Revd Canon Becky Stephens, Bishop’s Advisor in Women’s Ministry, read the Gospel, prior to the sermon from Revd Canon Faith Claringbull. Faith was Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Dean of Women's Ministry in CofE Birmingham and was among the first women who were ordained into the priesthood in 1994.
She began her sermon saying,

We’re celebrating 30 years of the fruitful ministry of men and women together in the Church of England Birmingham...’

She went on to reflect upon Adam and Eve being created for life together by God, and encouraging those present to look around them and give thanks. Faith reflected on the statistic that 55% of ordinands are women, but asked all,

‘..to remain vigilant to ensure those who remain on the margins can be brought in … and all may flourish as children of God.’

The Archdeacon of Birmingham, Jenny Tomlinson, led prayers of intercession, as the service then moved to the liturgy of the sacrament, and a respectful, joyful, sharing of the Peace among all in attendance, with hugs and shaking of hands.

Bishop Michael was in attendance and participated in the distribution of the bread and wine Sacrament, and led the Thanksgiving for Ministry.

The final hymn of the service was taken from the Ordination of Priests 20 May 1994 at the Cathedral, finishing with the words,

‘Lord of our  Lives, to live for Christ alone.’





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