30 years since women ordained – now our curate joins them!

This month our curate, the Revd Dr Jenny Eade, is ordained a priest (15th June). She joins a good few other women in Chester Diocese who are also priests.

It is reckoned that over a third of all clergy in the C of E are now women. This article looks back on how it all started…

It was 30 years ago this month, on 12th March 1994, that the first 32 women were ordained as priests in the Church of England. The service was officiated by Bishop Barry Rogerson at Bristol Cathedral.

Bishop Rogerson ordained the women in alphabetical order, so Angela Berners-Wilson was the very first woman to be ordained. She was a university chaplain.

The youngest woman to be ordained that day was aged 30. The oldest was 69. By 2004, ten years on, one of the women priests had died, and 14 had retired.

Bishop Rogerson reckoned it would take 10 years before the first woman would be ordained as a bishop. In the end, it took 21 years. 

Then Libby Lane was ordained the first female bishop in the Church of England. She became Bishop of Stockport, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester. 

The first woman to be ordained a diocesan bishop was the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, appointed on 26 March 2015

There are currently about 25 women bishops in the Church of England.

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