20 Years of Women Priests

Service in Cathedral will celebrate historic milestone on eve of final approval for women bishops.

20 Years of Women Priests

A special service of Choral Evensong will be held in Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday 16 November at 4.30 pm to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood. The service will celebrate and gave thanks for the dedication of women ordained into the Church of England and the achievements of female priests over the past two decades.

Everyone in the Diocese, ordained and lay is invited to join what will be a joyful occasion. Women who were priested in 1994 are invited to robe and process.

The service will providentially take place on the eve of another historic occasion. The promulgation of the Women in the Episcopate Measure at is expected at General Synod the following day.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, said, “Celebrating 20 years of women priests has been a significant and joyful anniversary for the Church of England this year.

“It is especially poignant that the Diocese of Salisbury will mark our own 20th anniversary on the evening before it finally becomes lawful to make women bishops. People far and wide, inside and outside the church, recognise that women have strengthened and diversified priestly ministry and they rejoice with us in the faithful ministry of women who have served in this diocese over the last two decades.”

The Ven Ruth Worsley, Archdeacon of Wiltshire, looked forward to the future, where it would be normal to see women among the highest ranks of the Church’s hierarchy, but inequalities in ecclesiastical and secular contexts were likely to remain.

“In ten years’ time it will feel normal to have female and male bishops”, said Ruth, “but what else needs to happen for the church to shed its male-dominated image, culture, and theology and become a place of hope and welcome for today’s women?

“In wider society women have made enormous progress in public life and influence, and yet are still dealing with everyday sexism. Looking at both of these arenas, what challenges might we put to the church, and how might we step up as women, in this next stage of the church’s life?”

Canon Jane LLoyd will preach at the celebration.


Another anniversary event will take place on Tuesday 18 November at 7.30 pm in St James’, Southbroom, Devizes, entitled ‘Bishops (Male and Female) – tick. What next for women (and men) in the Church?’ with Hilary Cotton, Chair of Women and the Church (WATCH).

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