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Page 28, 30th April 1994

30th April 1994
Page 28
Page 28, 30th April 1994 — Women's ordinations proceed apace. Five more dioceses of the Church
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Women's ordinations proceed apace. Five more dioceses of the Church

of England held their ordinations of women last weekend. Over three or four months, a total of around 1,200 women priests will have been ordained. In Coventry Cathedral, a protest was made during the service by an opponent of women priests, as had happened also in St Paul's Cathedral a week earlier.

When the question was put, "Is it therefore your will that they should be ordained?", the Revd Graeme Hands, a local priest, was given the microphone and he replied, "It is not. This is not the action of the whole Church, nor is the General Synod of the Church of England empowered to authorise it". When his objection had been answered by Bishop Simon Barrington-Ward, the question was put again to the congregation and received a resounding, "It is", followed by lengthy applause.

Two women bishops played a role in the liturgy, though they did not lay hands on the ordinands: they were Bishop Penny Jamieson, Anglican Bishop of Dunedin in New Zealand, and Bishop Maria Jepsen, Lutheran bishop in Hamburg.

• The organisers of Affirming Ministry, a new campaigning group for women priests in the Church of Wales, say they are astonished at the level of support they have received. Affirming Ministry began a fort night ago as a group of priests in the Llandaff diocese, where clerical opposition to women priests was strongest, but their inaugural meeting drew 72 out of the 170 priests from the diocese. Lay people and Roman Catholic priests are now asking to join the organisation.

• Some 100 women laid their hands on the walls of Westminster Cathedral on Sunday, praying silently for the ordination of women to the priesthood.

The demonstration, organised for Vocations Sunday, used a variety of symbols. Women held swathes of purple cloth to signify mourning for women's lost gifts. They wore sandwich boards showing how women follow Jesus as preachers, teachers, mystics and comforters, and yet cannot be priests. They broke bread together and walked silently in a circle.

One of the organisers of the demonstration, Mrs Lala Winkley, said the symbols chosen were "non-confrontational" and "non-hierarchical". "Those are the women's ways", she added.