by Rachel Harden
The Revd Joyce Bennett, the second woman to be ordained priest in the Anglican Communion, celebrated 35 years of priestly ministry last weekend, at her home church in Buckinghamshire.
The Bishop of Hong Kong, the Rt Revd Gilbert Baker, ordained Miss Bennett on 3 December 1971, with the Revd Jane Hwang. Before this, the only woman to be ordained in an Anglican diocese had been the Revd Florence Li Tim-Oi in 1944, also in Hong Kong, during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War.
Speaking on Monday, Miss Bennett said she had greatly enjoyed Saturday’s service at St Francis of Assisi, Terriers, in High Wycombe. The sermon was preached by the Revd Nick Holtam, the Vicar of
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, where Miss Bennett served the Chinese community, after her return from Hong Kong in 1983.
She said she had been aware of the importance of her ordination, but working in Hong Kong meant she had been slightly removed from the struggles of women in the Church of England until her return.
Speaking after Saturday’s celebration, she said: “I have received lots of congratulatory emails. There were also a lot of donations, and these have gone towards the repair and improvement fund at the church.”