Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Achievements and challenges, 40 years after the first ordination of women in Canada

Four decades after the first women were ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada, much progress remains to be made, say female priests who profess to have struggled with everything from unequal pay to inappropriate touching by some parishioners. 

Last week (28 November to 1 December), 40 female priests from the Anglican Church of Canada gathered at St James Anglican Church in Stratford, Ontario, for “Unmasking the Feminine,” a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women in the church. 

For participants, the event seemed an occasion both for celebrating the achievements made in advancing the rights of women and being mindful of the challenges many say yet remain.
“The progress we’ve made over those years has made life significantly better than it was for our mothers and grandmothers, but oh my, it has been a very hard row to hoe,” said Canon Judy Rois, executive director of the Anglican Foundation, in a keynote address opening the event. 

“All of us know the strain of a white collar around our neck, and all of us know the sting and the pain of opposition. But thank God, thank God, we also know the indomitable spirit of hope.”

“We have much to be grateful for in Canada,” Linda Nicholls, installed as Bishop of Huron the previous Saturday, said in her introduction to a conference workshop. “It doesn’t mean we’re finished, but it means we’re on the way.”

Asked what they felt were the continuing challenges of women in the church, some noted that female priests are still being paid less than their male counterparts.
  • Read Tali Folins’ full in-depth report on the Anglican Journal website.

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