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Celebrating 25 years of women priests

Tuesday 30th April 2019

Celebrating 25 years of women priests

Events are taking place to mark a quarter of a century of women’s ordination to the priesthood in the Church of England.  In our Diocese the first group of 22 priests were ordained by Bishop John Dennis, in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, on 30 April 1994.

On Tuesday 30 April 2019, Bishop Martin celebrated 25 years of women priests with 15 priests, 6 of whom were among the first group ordained on 30 April.

Ordained originally in this diocese – 30 April 1994

Lis Arnold (Ipswich deanery), Margaret Blackall (Loes deanery), Christine Brooks (Saxmundham deanery, Assistant warden of Readers), Sally Fogden (Ixworth deanery, Agricultural chaplain), Clare Sanders (Woodbridge Deanery, RD) and Joyce Willis (Hadleigh deanery)

Those who have moved or retired to this diocese

Pauline Higham (St Albans), Marian Carter (Exeter), Pauline Florance (Chester), Janice White (Guildford), Christine Redgrave (Oxford), Sylvia Bareham (Oxford), Jennifer Ragan (Chelmsford), Marianne Atkinson Manchester) and Julie Eaton (Chelmsford)

“The build-up over the years leading to our ordination as priests was intense. Some for, some against. Would the Church of England be torn apart?  Now, 25 years on, no one is surprised to have a woman as Rector or even as a Bishop.  People just work together and for this blessing thanks be to God”. Revd Canon Sally Fodgen.

“I give thanks and remember with awe that amazing day and all the days since where I have experienced the joy of being a priest in the service of the Church”.  Revd Lis Arnold.  

I think the most important thing to say is thank you for these 25 years, the friendship and acceptance of people in all the parishes in which I have served – they have shaped me and made me the priest that I am today”. Revd Canon Clare Sanders

For further quotes and case studies please visit here:

The number of women entering training for ministry continues to grow.

Women now make up nearly a third of the 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England according to the latest figures which also show a 38% increase in the number of women starting training for ordained ministry in the past two years.