Friday, 8 May 2009

Celebrating Women's Ministries

8th May is the Festival of Julian of Norwich.

On 8th May 1373, Julian suffered the illness during which she received a series of visions. She subsequently became a hermit at St Julian's church in Norwich, and wrote the book which has made her famous, The Revelations of Divine Love.

Tomorrow, 9th May is cause of another celebration, this time 40 years of Women's Reader ministry.

Reader ministry was revived in the Church of England in 1866, but it took until 1969 before women were admitted to the office of Reader alongside men. This weekend, churches are being encouraged to celebrate the ministry of women Readers (or Lay Ministers as they are called in some dioceses) and there are suggestions of special prayers on the Reader website.

I'm amazed that it took so long! I'm familiar with the long journey to women's priesthood, but Reader ministry is a lay minstry.
But as women Readers make such a significant contribution to the ministry of so many churches, this is indeed something to celebrate!

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