50 years of the ordination of women celebrated

This year during the annual General Assembly, the Church of Scotland will celebrate the historic 50th anniversary of the decision to ordain women as ministers of word and sacrament.

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Dr Margaret Forrester (right) one of the first women ministers will take part in celebrations. Photo courtesy of the University of Edinburgh

The momentous vote will be recognised with special events including a pre-Assembly conference and a women-led procession on 22 May, the exact date of the anniversary.

Rev Dr Margaret Forrester, a prominent church campaigner for equality, academic and one of the Kirk’s first women parish ministers, is one of the keynote speakers at the conference, to be held at New College in Edinburgh on Saturday 28th April.

She will be joined by Rev Canon Dr Emma Percy, an academic who is chair of Women and the Church (WATCH) as well as Welfare Dean and Chaplain of Trinity College Oxford.

With expert panels, an exhibit, and open discussions, the event will celebrate the contributions of women to the church as well as considering how far the church, as well as the wider world, has come in the last 50 years.

The day is being hosted by the University of Edinburgh Centre for Theology and Public Issues and New College, in partnership with Ministries Council.

During the General Assembly on Tuesday 22 May all women in ministry, as well as friends, family and colleagues, are invited to process up the mound into the quad of New College to pay tribute to women’s role in the church.

Event organiser Dr Lesley Orr told Life & Work magazine that this is a good opportunity to recognise the many women who have contributed to the Church of Scotland. She said:

“This will be a simple, public and dignified procession to honour the pioneer women (and men who supported their call) who first walked this way – remembering also those who knocked but were not allowed to enter – and to celebrate the manifold gifts and service of women in ordained ministry over 50 years, 1968 - 2018.”

Conference details

The conference runs 10am - 4.30pm on Saturday 28 April.

Ticket booking is free, but a £10 donation is invited for those who can afford it, payable on the day.

The Church of Scotland Ministries Council will allow study leave to be claimed for the conference.

Refreshments and lunch are included.

Procession details

Meet at the bottom of the mound next to the National Galleries of Scotland 1.15pm on Tuesday 22 May.

All are welcome. For more information please visit the EventBrite page.