It's strange to think that a year has gone by since Jenny, Ben, the dogs and myself relocated from Wirral to join you here at Timperley. In some ways, it only seems like yesterday that we we had my induction; in others, it feels like i've been here a lot longer than twelve months! In the past year, there has certainly been plenty to do and no shortage of interesting incidents along the way!
Since I joined you there have been a number of changes to our worship, our social events,and our staffing. We have published our new worship booklets, introduced a monthly All-Age service, and started meeting for Morning Prayer during the week; we have enjoyed great times of fun and fellowship at Harvest Supper, the Burns Night event and our afternoon teas; and we have said goodbye to Deborah as she moved to lackpool, and Philip as he retired from the Office. In addition we have welcomed David Bolton to help as our Parish Office secretary, and at the begining of May, Jenny will join us as Associate Vicar in the parish (not as Associate Bishop as was announced at Holy Cross!! Not yet, anyway). Jenny has spent the last 7 months as curate at St Alban's, Broadheath, and while she has enjoyed her time there, she is raring to get started here in Timperley. Jenny brings with her many gifts and abilities which I lack, and as we compliment each other and work together as a team, we hope the parish will benefit from both our strengths and differences.
Jenny's licensing on Wednesday 7 May comes at a very apt time, as the Sunday before sees the 20 anniversary of women being ordained as priests in the Church of England, and the consecration of women bishops also seems to be moving closer and closer. While for many of us now the issue of women in ministry is not a problem, others struggled with it at the time, and still struggle now. The journey to ordaining women as priests (and bishops) has led to much hurt and heatache, both for those opposed to it, as well as the many women who felt God's call on their llives and found they were not able to respond to it.
As a parish, we have been fortunate to have had a great deal of experience of the ministry od ordained women over the past 20 years, but this is not the cae in every place. Whatever your own theological opinions on the matter, it is clear that without the ordained ministry of women over the past 20 years the Church of England would have been in a worse state than it currently is, and the Parish of Timperley has more cause than most to thank God for this change in Church practice.
So as we prepare to accept Jenny's ministry to us. we can also use tis occasion to remember and give thanks for the other female clergy who have ministered here, and those who have blazed the trail throughout the Church of England. We hope and Pray that God will use Jenny here. as he has used others before her.