Women in the church


From: Hywel Roberts

A few weeks ago, after a day’s hike along the Welsh Coastal Path in St. David’s, Pembrokeshire, a group of us attended evensong at the Cathedral of Wales, in the small town of St David’s. Evensong is a tradition here in the early evening, after a day’s work, to reflect, celebrate and listen to sacred choral music. Evensong offers an antidote to the modern age of digital gratification.

Church service attendance in the UK has fallen by two-thirds since the 1960s, but attendance at traditional choral worship is on the rise, and has been for the past two decades. While reading an article in a local newspaper recently about Kathy Redig, the founder and pastor of the “All Are One” Roman Catholic Church here in Winona, I was reminded of that early evening when we stopped and attended the evensong service.

In November 2016 the Rt. Rev. Joanna Penberthy became the first woman to be appointed as the 129th bishop of St. David’s Cathedral, Church of Wales, following the governing body’s decision in 2013 to enable women’s ordination to the episcopate. Bishop Penberthy led the service, which was bilingual, and ended with a blessing in the native Welsh language. Barry Morgan, the former Bishop of Wales, was a leader in changing the cannon law to make it possible for women to become bishops. He said that Rev. Penberthy was clearly the most qualified member of the clergy to assume the position of the Bishop of St. David’s Cathedral.

It was inspirational and refreshing to be present at the evensong presided by a woman bishop. Positive changes are welcome in our culture today and I wish the Rev. Redig all the very best with her passion for the work that she has been called to do.


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