Women, the Church and Ministry: Celebrating 100 years of women’s ordination in the UK

Conference Dates: 11-13 May 2012

The conference was organised in response to the 100th anniversary of the ordination of Olive Winchester [photo], the first woman to be ordained in a Trinitarian Christian Church in the UK on 11 May 1912 in Glasgow, and also the first woman to graduate with the Bachelor of Divinity degree from Glasgow University. While the motivation for the event was inspired by the ordination of women in the Church, the conference seeks to reflect on and celebrate all women in ministry, lay and ordained.

The conference is ecumenical and invites participants from across the theological and denominational spectrum. The weekend conference was organised and sponsored by four main partners: the University of Glasgow department of Theology and Religious Studies; International Christian College; Nazarene Theological College, Manchester; and Sharpe Memorial Church of the Nazarene, Glasgow.

The aim of the conference was three-fold: 

1. to reflect on and celebrate the role of women in the Church and ministry;

2. to hear and share practical and inspirational stories of women in the Church and ministry; 

3. to encourage one another in the present and future journey of women in the Church and ministry.

For a flyer with details of the weekend of events and a registration form, click here.

The weekend events included:

An ‘Academic Conference’ on Friday 11 May, with 3 keynote speakers offering historical and theological analysis and reflections on the role of women in the church’s past, present, and future, plus a selection of shorter papers around this theme. The academic conference was held at Glasgow University. For the conference programme, click here. For the Friday evening commemoration service, click here.

A ‘Women in Ministry Day Conference’ (lay & ordained) on Saturday 12 May, with keynote speakers, seminars and workshops, focused on practical and inspirational stories of women in a variety of ministry contexts and leadership roles. For the day conference programme, click here.

Celebration through Public Worship on Sunday morning 13 May, with a variety of women in ministry leading and speaking reflecting different traditions and expressions on worship. Sunday celebrations were hosted by Sharpe Memorial Church of the Nazarene, the church in which Olive Winchester was ordained in 1912. For the Sunday service, click here.

The Scottish Parliament passed a resolution in support of the conference.

News stories relating to the conference were published in The Herald and NCN News.