WOMEN clergy and ordinands in the Church of Ireland have celebrated 30 years since the ordination of women to the priesthood was introduced, in a video that was shown to the General Synod during its online meeting.
The short film was put together during the lockdown, and features clips of more than 60 women priests receiving a chalice or candle before passing it on off-screen. In the background, the Revd Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell, a non-stipendiary minister in Dublin who is also a professional musician, plays her own composition on the harp.
Women now make up about 20 per cent of the Church of Ireland’s 500 serving clergy. The Church’s first female bishop, the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, was elected in 2013.
Introducing the video to the Synod, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd John McDowell, urged members to reflect on how the ministry of women in Holy Orders had “enriched our witness” and could better shape the Church’s mission.
Not enough women were serving in ministry or coming forward for ordination at present, he said: there were significantly fewer than had been hoped for 30 years ago, when the law was changed. “Perhaps the working group headed by the Bishop of Meath will soon help us shed some light on why that is the case,” he suggested. “May God prosper the work.”