In an historic first, Bishop Keith Dalby ordained three women into the priesthood on Saturday 12 August, the first to be welcomed into the Diocese of the Murray.
The Rev’d Carol Cornwall, will become Assistant Curate Southern Suburbs, the Rev’d Margot Holt, will become Assistant Curate Strathalbyn, and the Rev’d Alison Dutton, to be Assistant Curate The South Coast.
The Rev’d Rodney Fopp was also ordained at the service in Christ the King Church in Mt Barker.
Bishop Dalby hailed the ordinations as “a memorable occasion for this diocese”.
“It is the culmination of a journey that some would be mistaken in thinking has only been a short time in coming,” he said. “But it has in fact been the culmination of many people praying diligently and consistently for the Lord to move in the diocese, to allow the fullness of ministry to be made manifest in the total image and likeness of God, male and female.
“I want to acknowledge all those who have gone before us in being faithful in prayer and advocacy right up to those here, present now. Today marks the moment in time when we give thanks for the good that has been in our past and there has been much good, but also to draw a line in the sand and rule off the unhelpful, even destructive elements of our past.”
Diocese of the Murray in June voted 57-4 to allow the ordination of women. The move comes 31 years after the first women were ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia. In 2008, the first women were consecrated as bishops, and in 2017, Kay Goldsworthy was appointed Archbishop and head of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Perth. Currently, nearly a quarter of ordained priests in the Church are female, although men dominate the upper echelons of the church hierarchy.
There are now just three Australian dioceses where women are not ordained to the priesthood: Sydney and the two regional dioceses of Armidale and North-West Australia, both closely aligned with Sydney.
Bishop Dalby on Saturday acknowledged the journey had not always been an easy one.
“Worldviews, attitudes and dearly held theological positions are tested and often shown to be invalid,” he said. “And that is why conflict occurs, especially if some of us are resistant to change because it might mean that we have to admit that we were wrong or mistaken or misguided.”
You can see more pictures of this event in our Fickr album.