Celebrating 30 years of women priests

On 12 March 1994, the Church of England held an ordination service like never before. 

The service, at Bristol Cathedral was a historic moment that would see women priests accepted into the Church of England.

In the thirty years since then many women have been ordained as clergy in every diocese across the country. 

In the most recent Ministry Statistics 2020, published July 2021, nearly 30% of Church of England priests were women and it is estimated that the numbers have continued to grow. In our own diocese, we have seen a growing number of women being ordained. This year, of the twenty-four people being ordained deacon and priest, seventeen are women. It is so encouraging to see an increasing number of women serving in a wide variety of roles across our diocese. These roles include, curate, incumbent, chaplain, associate vicars and more senior roles across a variety of contexts across our diocese. 

The first woman priest to become a Bishop was Libby Lane, who was consecrated at York Minster on 26 January 2015 by John Sentamu, the then Archbishop of York. Prior to being consecrated, Libby was the vicar of Hale and Ashley in the Diocese of Chester from 2007-14. She became the Bishop of Stockport in the Diocese of Chester and is currently Bishop of Derby. 

Eucharist to celebrate thirty years of women priests

To celebrate 30 years of Women in Ministry, we’d like to invite you to a special service at Chester Cathedral at 3pm on 2 June 2024. The preacher is The Rt Revd Lynne Cullens, Bishop of Barking (formerly Rector of Stockport and Brinnington in the Diocese of Chester). All are welcome to attend to join and we hope that you can share in this celebration with us.

‘Having been at the first ordinations in the Diocese of London 30 years ago it has been a joy and privilege to be part of organising this celebration to mark 30 years of Women’s ordinations in this diocese. I really hope that this will be an encouragement to anyone wondering if this is something they are thinking God might be calling them  into’ Lesley Currie- Dean of Women in Ministry.

If you feel that God is calling you into ordained, or any other, ministry we would love to hear from you! Please email ministry@chester.anglican.org


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