Twenty years of women priests in the Church of England

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For those fortunate enough to witness it, the advent of the first 32 women priests in the Church of England in Bristol Cathedral on this day 20 years ago was unforgettable.

Few thought then that it would take as long as it has to move towards consecrating women bishops. However, in spite of the prophets of doom, the heavens did not open, nor was the Church rent asunder. As the women and their supporters promised, the ordination of women has transformed the established Church for the better.

Prebendary Angela Berners-Wilson made history by being the first woman of the 32 to receive the sacrament of Ordination into the priesthood by having the hands of a bishop laid on her head. This week she and another 11 of the 32 will meet in Bristol for lunch, a small service of celebration and a “social”.

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