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Women in the Church of England

Photo courtesy Yorkminster.org
Image of St. Pauls courtesy of Wikipedia.

In 1994, the first women priests were ordained into the Church of England.

Twenty years later, in 2014, the UK Independent ran an article titled ”Church of England to shatter ‘stained-glass ceiling’ and allow female bishops”.

Figures from 2018 show that the majority of licenced clergy in the Church of England are men – 70% in fact.

Fast forward four years to 2022 when I visited St Pauls Cathedral in London.

St Pauls Cathedral is an iconic structure, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is deeply embedded in the history of London and England. It was the site of the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. It hosted funerals for Admiral Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

On this recent visit to St Pauls Cathedral in London, I was struck by the quiet revolution that had happened there.

The mass was celebrated by a duty priest who was a woman, and she was assisted by two female vergers. I spoke with a female usher afterwards and she told me that the church is very well represented by women. There are 5 vergers of whom three are women, the Chaplain is a woman, and the canon in residence Dr Paula Gooder is also a woman.

In fact, St Pauls is the seat of the Bishop of London. Yes. You’ve guessed it. The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mulally DBE.

If you need to “see it to be it” – the future is bright for female clergy in the UK.

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