Lancashire to celebrate pioneering churchwomen

Church leaders in Lancashire are to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of the county’s first female priests.

Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster
Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster

On May 14, 1994 the ordination of the first 13 women for the Church of England in Lancashire took place.

Exactly 25 years on - May 14, 2019 at 7pm - a Silver Jubilee Eucharist is due to take place at Blackburn Cathedral to celebrate the milestone.

The Eucharist will be presided over by Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, and will be open to everyone from across the county and complete a day of special events to mark the anniversary.

Earlier on the same day at 2pm, Rt Rev. Dr Jill Duff, Bishop of Lancaster, will lead a retreat at Whalley Abbey entitled ‘Celebrating Women’s Voices and Vocations’ with a meal to follow at 5pm. This event is also open to men and women, lay and ordained.


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Bishop Jill said: “I love those arresting words of Jesus: ‘Look at that woman’. He brought women out of the shadows. I look forward to celebrating women’s voices and vocations on May 14, and to giving thanks at our Eucharist for our original cohort of 13 women priests.”

Bishop Julian added: “I have found the ministry of women has enriched our life as a Church and I am looking forward to celebrating our first group of women priests from Blackburn Diocese on May 14.”

There will be drinks after both events and anyone planning to attend the cathedral date please email [email protected] to help with catering and those attending Whalley Abbey please email [email protected]