New Dean of Women in Ministry says there is “still a lot to do” to achieve equality
The Reverend Prebendary Jackie Taylor, who is rector of three churches in the South Hams, has recently taken up the role of Dean of Women in Ministry for the Diocese of Exeter.
She tells us how she came to faith, and why it is so important for women to talk to someone if they feel called to ordination.
Were you brought up in a Christian family?
My family were not a family of faith but I cannot remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. I came into a place of powerful spiritual awakening when I was 30. I journeyed through different denominations but when I walked into my local Anglican church I wept because I knew I had come home.
Did you work in other sectors before you felt the calling for ordination? When did that happen?
In the past I have worked in supporting young people with special educational needs. It was when I was a churchwarden that I had a really strong sense of calling. I kept kicking that out all the time and telling God that it can’t be me, but it kept coming back all the time.
What do you do in your role as Dean of Women in Ministry?
My role is to support and be an advocate for the full inclusion and flourishing and equality of women in every area of ordained ministry. We’ve come a long way with equality but there is still a lot to do.
How important is it to you that more women are encouraged into ministry?
When women have a call they may, for whatever reason, think “it can’t be me” or “this can’t be the time”. It’s so important that when we have that calling we go and seek support. When God puts his hands on our lives and calls us, it’s so important to follow that through and talk that through with people.
If you were a political party, what would be your manifesto?
In my role as Dean of Women in ministry my manifesto would be the full inclusion, flourishing and equality of ordained women in every part of church life.
What would you say to encourage ordained women to come and serve in Devon?
Devon is not only a beautiful county, it is a great place for women in ministry. I have felt fully supported as I moved from being a Priest-in-Charge, to Rector, to Rural Dean and now as Dean of Women in Ministry.
What do you think is the role of the church in ensuring unity for our country going forward?
We are in a place that is deeply concerning to so many of us. The church needs to be a place of healing and reconciliation where different views are respected. Our nation is so divided, so fractured and we in the church need to be that vehicle of reconciliation and healing as we move forward together as a nation.
There might be a tendency in church not to mention politics. What would you say to people who feel this is important but don’t know how to broach the subject?
Getting together and sharing views isn’t easy for people as it may make them feel vulnerable. But in sharing our vulnerabilities and sharing our fears and passions this is how we grow with one another.