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'An extraordinary blessing', York Minster to celebrate 30 years of female priesthood

by Premier Journalist

York Minster is holding a service to commemorate thirty years of female ordination in the diocese of York. A special Evensong thanksgiving service will take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday 4 June.

In 1994, 39 women were ordained at York Minster, following an agreement at the Church of England's General Synod in February of that year, which permitted female priests.

Rev Canon Sue Sheriff – one of the women ordained in 1994 – will lead the service.  Reflecting on the monumental day three decades ago, she said: "We had been presented by the archdeacon to the bishop, and by the bishop to the people as he asked, ‘Is it your will that they should be ordained priest?’

“There had been a resounding 'It is' that felt like it could have almost lifted the roof off our beautiful cathedral."

Prior to their 1994 ordination, all 39 women had served for years or decades as lay workers, deaconesses, or deacons (since 1987). Priesthood permitted them to conduct the full range of church sacraments, including presiding over Holy Communion services.

Archbishop of York Most Rev Stephen Cottrell has invited the whole Diocese of York to attend the celebratory Evensong service. He said, "The Church of God released and received the most extraordinary blessing thirty years ago in ordaining women to the priesthood; I see so many people held and nurtured by the priestly ministry of women - I am one of them - and together they embody yet more facets of the person, the character and the work of Jesus Christ in the world."

The service will be livestreamed on YouTube.


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