Hundreds of people attended Sharing the Journey, a celebration of 20 years of women priests, at Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, June 7.
The Revd Rose Hudson Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker in the House of Commons urged women to listen to God’s call and go for it in an inspiring service during the thanksgiving service at the Cathedral in the morning. The service, which featured dancing from Ballet Rambert, was followed by a panel discussion at St Mary the Virgin Church on High Street The Panel was chaired by Canon Dr Judith Maltby. Speakers were Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Revd Caroline Symcox, the Bishop of Buckingham and Christina Rees. Discussion ended with the panel pointing out that the next Bishop of Oxford could potentially be a woman.
Speaking after the event the Revd Liz Johnson, one of the first women to be ordained and whose daughter, Em Coley, is also a priest, said: “The highlight of the day was the inspiring preaching by Rose Hudson Wilkin. I’ve also been moved by how much support we have from both men and women.”
The Revd Colin James, of All Saints, Wokingham, said: “It’s been a celebration and we need to celebrate. I have always felt very strongly that it was wrong not to accept the gifts God gives us, men and women have something unique to contribute and to not allow women to be ordained was to throw God’s gifts back in his face. I didn’t allow myself to go for ordination until women were able to be ordained.”
The Revd Dr Amanda Bloor, Director of Ordinands, said: “I feel the day has gone brilliantly. It’s good to see a range of people looking back and remembering but also looking forward to what will happen in the future.”