Chelmsford Cathedral women ordained as priests at Chelmsford Cathedral 1994

Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the first ordination of women to the priesthood in Chelmsford Diocese

30 April 2024

The 30th April 2024 marks 30 years since the first women were ordained as priests in Chelmsford Diocese at Chelmsford Cathedral.

To celebrate this important milestone, we have produced a video looking back on that time with a message for those considering ordained ministry today.

The video features Revd Ann Easter, one of the first women to be ordained a Priest in Chelmsford Diocese. Ann who has served her entire ministry in various roles within the Newham Deanery, shares memories of her ordination service:

“It's hard to imagine that it's 30 years since I was made a priest in Chelmsford Cathedral… It was extraordinary the Cathedral was absolutely packed with people they'd got chairs everywhere… There was a huge buzz the bells going 19 to the dozen everything was amazing, very exciting!”

The video also features Archdeacon Elwin Cockett, the Archdeacon of West Ham, who was a Priest in the diocese at the time of the first ordinations of female priests; the Revd Funmilayo Vaughan who become a Priest in 2022 and is currently serving in the Great Baddow Team Ministry and The Revd Tim Goodbody our Diocesan Director of Ordinands.

In the video, Bishop Guli Francis -Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford offers a message of thanks to all women currently serving in Chelmsford Diocese.

“I want to say a special thank you to all the women who are currently serving as Priests and Deacons in this diocese. They all make a huge contribution to the life of our diocese, I'm grateful for their faithfulness and for their commitment and I wish them every blessing in the future.”

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Explore your Vocation 

If you would like to find out more about different ministries in the Church of England, visit the Vocations pages of the diocesan website.