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/ 6 February 2018

Bishop Sarah to attend women’s vocations day

Calling London: Women

The Bishop-Elect of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, will be attending a women’s vocations day, Calling London Women on 3 March at St Mellitus College, Kensington.

The event is for women considering the various types of vocation in the church, be it licensed ministry, lay or ordained, will be interactive, with a panel of speakers and an opportunity to explore different issues around female ministry through workshops, speakers and there will be spaces in the day to think, pray and chat with others.

God calls each of us to serve him according to the unique gifts we have been given. Some are called to share in the life and mission in a parish or worship team and some are called to more specific ministries in the local and wider church. Anyone discerning a vocation will know that it can be a confusing and humbling experience, which is why this, and the Calling London conference last year, have been vital ways in which people can gain advice to help them on their journey.

Women have been integral to and influential leaders of the church for centuries. The programme brings together opportunities to hear, meet and learn from senior women in the Diocese of London, as well as explore different issues around ministry through workshops.

At the vocations day, the Revd Lucy Winkett will be celebrating and preaching during the Eucharist. Lucy began exploring a vocation to the priesthood, and then training for ministry, before the Church of England had voted that women could be ordained priest. This made for a challenging discernment process but one that ultimately led to her ordination in 1995. An Oxford Diocese ordinand, she trained in Birmingham, was a curate in Chelmsford Diocese and after serving as Canon Precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral became Rector of St James’s Piccadilly in 2010.

Discussing her time of discernment, she said:

“I believe it’s really important from time to time for women to talk together about what life is like and how the huge variety of vocations we have might find a place in today’s church. I think it would have helped me, if I’d had the chance to come to a day like this”.

Commenting on her discernment to the priesthood, the Revd Jessica Swift, Area Dean of Islington said:

“Sitting in front of my Forestry professor thinking about what I wanted to do after finishing my environmental degree, he asked me, ‘which part of my week did I enjoy the most?’ Immediately and instinctively I knew it was the children’s ministry charity I volunteered with.

“That conversation changed the direction of everything and a few months later I was studying theology in the UK. I have tumbled into many things, ordination included, at every stage there have been people (especially God) giving me courage and confidence, asking me questions, and leading me on. I was ordained in 2002, and I’ve been in the Barnsbury Parish since 2009 – I love parish ministry!”

Jane Williams, Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College, said:

“I grew up in a Christian family, and studied theology at Cambridge, partly to discover if it was a faith that would remain credible outside my family circle. I discovered that God gets bigger and more exciting the more you study and teach.

“I think I assumed that I would be ordained, eventually, but it wasn’t possible for women to be priests when I started my theological study, and by the time it was, I had realised that ordination is just one kind of calling, and that it was not the one God had for me.

“So I hope part of what I can bring to our discussion on 3 March is a story that might help people work out whether their call is to ordination or to one of the many other ministries in the body of Christ.”

Commenting on the day, the Revd Bilinda said:

“If I’d been exploring now, I’d have really appreciated the opportunity to meet and hear from women in a variety of different roles, which this day gives.”

A sandwich lunch will be available and to help with catering and refreshments please sign up here.


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The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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