Chichester Cathedral service to honour female priests

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner
Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

THE TWENTIETH anniversary of women priests in the Church of England will be celebrated at Chichester Cathedral.

Bishops, clergy and laity from across the diocese will gather on Saturday (May 24) at 3pm for a service.

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner has previously been criticised for saying he would not ordain female priests.

A spokeswoman for the diocese said Dr Warner acknowledged it had not always been easy for women ministers, deacons and priests in the diocese, adding he called for a ‘new mindset’ based on common understanding.

Dr Warner added: “In this diocese we are aware that some have been slow to receive the ministry of women priests as fully as they might have done. There is still a legacy of hurt and some anger.

“As we seek to move forward with growing confidence and common purpose, let us also ask for healing, wisdom and generosity in our love and respect for each other’s calling, gifts and contribution to the mission of God.”

He added: “We may disagree on some things, but that is not necessarily a cause for the mission of the church to be at all compromised as we seek to communicate very good news indeed to the people of Sussex.

“The service will reflect the particular contributions of women in the diocese in the two decades since women priests were ordained and women’s ministry more widely.”