Methodist Church celebrates 40 years of women’s ordination

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This Saturday, the Methodist Church in Great Britain will celebrate forty years of women's ordination. 

Although women were permitted to become deacons in the Methodist Church from 1890, they were not ordained as presbyters until 2 July, 1974, at the Methodist Conference in Bristol.

Three of the original seventeen ordinands - the Revd's Marjorie Hopp, Elizabeth Hodgkiss and Jennifer Lunn - will participate in the celebration, which will take place at Wesley's Chapel in London on Saturday 21 June. All are welcome to attend and details of the event can be found here.

"It was an honour to be one of the first," said the Revd Lunn, "and I am grateful to the Barnsley Circuit who were delighted when there were only seventeen and they got one!"

"Women have often been, and often are among the voiceless and the unnamed," added the Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference, who will be preaching at the service. "I am proud that there is no role that women cannot play in the Methodist Church in Britain. As one of their successors, I want to thank those women who paved the way. As a female follower of Christ, I want to stand alongside others who do not have a voice, who are unnamed and unseen, even in the Methodist Church. We will celebrate, we will give thanks and we will commit ourselves to the continuing journey towards the time when we can truly affirm that all are one in Christ. This is a celebration for the whole church."

A new hymn has been also been written for the occasion by the Revd's Nicola Morrison and Michaela Youngson and will be led by a choir brought together for this occasion.

The full list of women ordained in 1974 is:

Anne Bradfield
Beth Bridges
Kathleen Burgess
Margaret Butler
Kitty Foster
Irene Gibbs
Joy Hale
Elizabeth Hodgkiss
Mary Holliday
Marjorie Hopp
Jennifer Lunn
Marjorie Maltby
Irene Morrow
Clare Powers
Kathleen Share
Elsie Smith
Eileen Wragg

Notes

1. Find out more about the role of women in Methodism here

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