Women across our diocese respond to the call

Our latest LifeCall event focused on encouraging women, particularly young women, to consider their calling and vocation. Here we report on last Saturday's event.

Dean Pete Wilcox welcomed 16 women to the cathedral last Saturday to an event led by a team of women clergy. The aim was to share information about how the ordination process works, inspire them as to what possibilities are available, and encourage them to consider what God might be calling them to.

The event was blessed by the presence of Lis Goodard, Chair of Awesome, an Evangelical network and Rowena Pailing tutor at Mirfield College. Both are passionate about attracting young women to consider God’s call to ordained ministry. They spoke about their own journeys to ordination, about some of the theology of ordination, about the difference having female priests (and now Bishops!) has made to the church, and about what they think the future might look like.
It’s through the sharing of stories that inspire us and each of the 5 women on the planning team shared their own story of getting ordained. There was plenty of time to chat and ask questions – and plenty of cake! Participants were also offered the opportunity to keep in touch, in whatever way they wanted to, as they continue to explore their vocation.
Bishop Paul who spoke at the event to encourage women to consider their calling said “Forty years ago this month I was exploring ordained ministry. I had no idea how my ministry would unfold; but as a man I knew that every door of ministry was open to me. Sadly at that time that was not the same for my sisters in Christ. In fact I remember wearing a badge supporting the campaign for women’s ordination when I was ordained priest in Newcastle in 1980.
Less than a month ago I took part in the consecration of Libby Lane. It made clear that at last every door of ministry is open to women too. Last Saturday it was great to be in the company of those who themselves are exploring the beginning of their journey of ministry. I want to see the leadership of our churches reflect the fullness of humanity, so that we can relate to the experiences of women and men, young and old, to help nurture and grow disciples and continue to be a Christian presence in every community. I pray for all who have come forward to these LifeCall events and encourage all of us to listen, hear and respond to the call which God has on our lives.”