CAPTION: Female and male priests processed through Exeter carrying white roses to celebrate 25 years of women's ordination

Women’s procession marks 25th anniversary celebration

Posted: 15th July, 2019

More than 100 women priests from across Devon took part in a procession and service on 30 June to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first women being ordained.

The procession, before the service, went across Cathedral Green and along Exeter High Street, including a brief stop-off at the Guildhall, where the women were welcomed by the Deputy Mayor.

The women then gathered in a circle outside the Cathedral where they were led in prayers and a song by Rt Rev’d Jackie Searle, Bishop of Crediton.

She was one of a number of women at the celebration who had been ordained in 1994. Many of the priests chose to carry white roses, to remember those women who had been ordained in 1994 who are no longer alive.

The service in the Cathedral was led by the Bishop of Crediton and included reflections from women priests from across different generations about the campaign for equality within the Church of England.

The event was organised by Rev’d Prebendary Kathy Roberts in her last act of Dean of Women’s Ministry for the Diocese of Exeter. Afterwards she said she felt it had: “raised the profile of women’s ministry in a really positive way.”

Rev’d Rosie Austin, who took part in the procession, said: “For me it felt like walking in the footsteps of all the men and women who have gone before and just a chance to say thank you to those who went before us.”

“Walking through the streets of Exeter reminds me of the women priests who have served in this Diocese,” said Rev’d Hannah Alderton.

One of the women there who had been ordained in 1994 said: “Just coming together to remember the distance we have passed and the distance we still have to go was important.”

Another said: “I was ordained 25 years ago in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, so this is a time of bringing back all those memories.

“The procession was really quite exciting, it was a good opportunity to witness and be outside the church rather than inside it.”