A quarter of a century after the momentous vote in favour of women’s ordination to the priesthood, churches will be marking the occasion as women across the diocese take to the pulpit.
At Ripon Cathedral, the new Canon Residentiary, Ailsa Newby will preach her first sermon since being installed at the end of last month. The cathedral also welcomes its first female deacon this month when the Revd Caitlin Carmichael Davis begins her curacy.
In Halifax, the Revd Rachel Firth, Vicar of Lindley and Area Advisor for Women’s Ministry, Calderdale & Kirklees has been invited to preach in Halifax Minster. She says that she is excited to be going back to the church where she served her curacy.
“We now have equality in so many ways, but the Church’s research shows there are still barriers, or perceived barriers, for women to pursue vocations in the church. When we celebrate like this – in ways large and small - we show the world that women are flourishing in the Church of England, and hope this helps dismantle those barriers.”
Canon Wendy Wilby, who has been serving as an interim Canon Residentiary in Ripon, was amongst the first women priests to be ordained in 1994 and is the Chair of the National Association of Diocesan Advisers in Women’s Ministry.
She said: “Up and down the country we are hoping that as many women as possible will be preaching in our churches on July 16. We have been privileged to witness a seismic ministerial event of enormous proportions in our generation. We must give thanks to God for all that women are formally bringing to the church.
“We at Ripon Cathedral are rejoicing in the gifts and skills that have been offered by women in ministry over many years. This last 50 years has seen a major transformation within the Church of England. It now provides a wholeness of ministry that represents both the women and men of our congregations and communities.”