South Canterbury Anglican churches took part in nationwide recognition on Sunday of the 40th anniversary of women being able to be ordained as priests.
Anglican Parish of Marchwiel ministry enabler the Rev Jill Maslin said there had been plenty of changes for women, both in and outside the church, since December 3, 1974, when they were allowed to become priests.
“[It] opened up the opportunity for women.”
Rev Maslin said the changes had enabled more women to go into church ministry roles, as well as allowing the opportunity for higher religious education.
She also highlighted the changes for women around the world, with the feminist movement promoting women’s rights about the same time.
She felt those changes were reflected in the church’s changes.
There are a total of five women in the ministry team at the Anglican Parish of Marchwiel.
Priest the Rev Pauline Geddes said she estimated about half of the people in Anglican church ministry roles in New Zealand were now women.
Rev Maslin said although women’s groups in churches, including the Association of Anglican Women, had always been strong, allowing women to be priests had strengthened their role in the church.
Rev Margot Goodman said when she first moved to South Canterbury there were no other deacons, but the number had been growing in the region, and around the country.
The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia produced a special prayer and hymns for the celebration, which several churches were to commemorate with big gatherings in the main cities around the country.
Rev Maslin said the fact the 40th anniversary fell on the first Sunday of Advent, which celebrates the lead-up to Christmas, was special, especially with the advent themes of faith, joy, hope and love.
“Somehow, to me, it’s like women’s ordination serves that.”