Marking the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood

16th May 2024


A special Choral Evensong was held at Wells Cathedral to mark the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England.

In 1994 30 women were ordained for the first time at Wells Cathedral by the then Bishop of Bath and Wells Rt Revd Jim Thompson and the Bishop of Taunton Rt Revd Richard Lewis and came 18 months after the General Synod gave its final approval for the ordination of women.

The service welcomed many of those who were among that first to be ordained in Bath and Wells 30 years ago. Revd Chantal Mason Dean of Women’s Ministry in Bath and Wells speaking after the service said, "It was a huge joy to gather with clergy colleagues from across the diocese. I still vividly remember back in 1994 witnessing the result of the vote in the company of pioneering women currently serving as deacons, exuberant at the opportunity to fulfil their calling as priests. Today the landscape for women s is vastly different. We celebrate the full variety of ministries and that the episcopate is now open to women. But there are still residue issues which limit women in their flourishing as priests. So as women priests at this time, it is our responsibility to be diligent in leadership, to serve faithfully, and to ensure that the women who come behind us are not hampered in their God-given ministries. For all that has been, thank you! For all that is to come, Yes!" 

Revd Jan Knott was one of those ordained in Wells 30 years ago, “It’s been an amazing journey, and it has been wonderful to see how hearts and minds changed after all the battles that raged in the lead up to it. It’s just been wonderful the way God has worked and does work through all kinds of people.”

She also shared with us some of her memories of that special day.


Revd Judith Rose, who also joined the special 30th anniversary Evensong, said she began her ministry in 1966, but it was 28 years before she was ordained,“It is almost taken for granted now where it was exceptional way back, but that is a good thing.”

Preaching at the service in Wells Cathedral Revd Preb Ronnie Crossman, spoke of her own journey to ordination, and she also encouraged everyone to look forward, “….my friends we will have missed something of enormous significance if we only look back today......

“….So yes, let us look back over 10, 30, 50 and 80 years today – but let us do that only to look forward and recommit ourselves, every single one of us – to share God’s love however and whenever we can.”

You can download Ronnie’s reflection in full from the bottom of this page.

Enjoy all the photos from the evening on the Bath and Wells Facebook page.


Revd Preb Ronnie Crossman Reflection

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