A day of celebration to mark the 25th Anniversary of Women to the Priesthood was held at the beginning of May and ended in the Cathedral with a Eucharistic Celebration.
It was a wonderful occasion and warranted a greater congregation, but those who attended included many of the women priested in 1994, and heard reminders from the pioneer and campaigner, Christina Rees. In her sermon she spoke of the pain and struggle over many years that culminated with General Synod finally agreeing in 1992 to the Church of England proceeding with legislation making it possible for women to be ordained.
The service was beautifully presided over by the Bishop of Ripon, The Rt Rev Helen-Ann Hartley, with readings and prayers from women from our diocese, and the men were not forgotten as they assisted with the communion distribution. It was a very joyous and happy occasion rounded off with a glass of bubbly and a celebratory cake.
It brought back happy memories for me as, in 1994, I was Vicar of Bolton and we hosted one of the Ordination Services at which, amongst others, our own Parish Deacon and College Chaplain, Cherry Vann (now Archdeacon of Rochdale) was ordained.
How time flies! It’s difficult to remember now the fierce arguments that seemed to rage for years between Church people over what a now different generation find hard to believe.
In 2019, just over two thirds of serving clergy are women and many are now sitting on the bench of Bishops. More importantly so many parishes and institutions have benefited from the gifts that women bring to the ordained ministry and so many of us are thankful