Marking 30 years of Women Deacons

A Celebration of Ordination - 30 years of Women Deacons

30 years ago, on the 4th April 1987, there was a milestone event in the journey of women's Ministry. On that date at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, 12 deaconesses were, for the first time, ordained as Deacons.

Up to that point, a woman could only be ordained as a Deaconess, a Lay Order in the Church of England. Although being a Deaconess involved many of the same duties as the male only Deacons, and having been trained in the same way, there were significant differences, for example not being permitted to perform a wedding.

This historic milestone in the journey of women in the Church of England was a further step towards women as Priests, which came seven years later in 1994.

Many fondly remember that April day in 1987 and those 12 ordained women Deacons and we are delighted to be able to share with you memories from some of those women there on that day.

There will also be a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women as deacons during Evensong at Ely Cathedral on Tuesday 4th April at 5.30pm - everyone is welcome to attend.

Please click on the names below to read their memories of that time.

Jane Keiller

Sue Barclay

Pam Reed

Maggie Guite